For anyone who has moved into a college dorm before, you know how crowded and stressful it can be. Luckily, I always got to move in early so I avoided a lot of that stress, but you could always tell when move in day because cars would be lined up all around campus, waiting for their turn to park and move in. If you haven’t moved in before, or if you’re looking for ways to make it less stressful the second (or third) time around, here are some tips on how to manage it without killing your parents (or them killing you!), and everyone else around you.
1. Make a playlist. This will help to relieve everyone’s stress, as long as you put the right kind of music on (songs that everyone will enjoy). For tips on this, you can check out my article here.
2. Bring trash bags. You will need a lot. You may not think so, but it is better to be safe than sorry. I used a lot of plastic bags, which really makes more mess than it helps to clean up. You’ll also want to have scissors and tape handy, as well as cleaning supplies. Bonus, if cleaning supplies are handy, you can probably have your parents do it for you!
3. For clothes being hung in your closet, pack them on hangers. That way it’s easier when you get there to put them in the closet and out of the way.
4. Unless it’s freezing outside when you move (unlikely…), then you’ll want to unpack a fan right away. It gets really hot when you’re moving in. If you can keep relatively cool, it decreases the amount of things to complain about and hopefully decrease the stress level.
5. Label! I know at least at my school, they had older students helping with move in. So if you label your stuff, with your name and room number, that makes sure it gets to the right room. And you’ll save a lot of hassle for the older students, so they don’t have to go around asking who’s stuff is laying abandoned on the ground.
6. FIgure out the layout of your room before you bring all of your stuff. It will be a lot easier to move things around before you’ve brought in your bean bag chair, refridgerator, and TV.
7. Arrive earlier in the day. If you arrive late, there will already be a huge line of cars waiting, or all the parking spaces will be filled and you’ll have to wait for all the parents already unpacking to finish. And who knows how long that will take. Like I said, I had the luxury of watching students move in, and at 9am, there would already be cars lined up, waiting. The earlier you get there, the earlier you finish.
8. If you have to move heavy things like a fridge, bringing a dolly might help (unless your child isn’t on the ground floor and there aren’t any elevators). It would also help to bring it many things at once, instead of carrying in one box at a time. Just pile them on the dolly.
9. Do a thorough inspection of your room, so at the end of the year you don’t get charged for damages that were already there. Look for even the smallest things like little nicks on doors, because we all know colleges love taking money from students and their families.
10. Relax. Be excited–you’re moving in to college! Don’t let your parents frustrate you too much, and parents, don’t let your kids do the same. Students should be in charge of where everything goes, it’s their room, but remember that you can also move things around after your parents leave.
11. Pack things together. What you want on your desk, have it all together so it’s easier to unpack. Same for clothes, books, etc. If you keep these things together, instead of scattering them around in all of your suitcases, it makes everything more simple.
12. Make sure you are ready the night before. Don’t wake up the morning of and finish packing, because you will probably end up forgetting something. The night before make sure to make a list of everything you think you need, and go over it a couple of times to make sure you have everything. Make a list of all the things you are packing, so that you don’t end up forgetting to put a suitcase in the car and realizing it once you have unpacked. Be organized.
13. Teamwork. If you all work together, you will make the process go much faster. If you can set up a time with your roommate for when you both arrive, that’s even better. You can help each other move in, and you’ll both be there to decide how to set up the room. The downside to moving in early is that when my roommate did arrive, if she wanted to change things around, I had to rearrange all my things.
14. If you have a lot of other things to do on move in day, don’t wait until after you’ve finished unpacking. The lines will probably be shorter if you go right away, because other people will wait until they’re finished. Also, if there are things that your parents can do for you, like go to the bookstore, then send them. Split up so you get all your errands done more quickly.
15. If you have a chance, and you haven’t already, get familiar with campus. Take a walk around with your parents so you know where your class buildings are, so you’re not late on the first day of class. No one wants to be that kid that walks in 20 minutes late because he was lost, or was in the wrong classroom.
But I think the most important advice is to just relax. It’s always going to be crazy moving in with hundreds or thousands of other students. Don’t let that get to you. You don’t want to scare your roommate off if she walks in while you’re screaming at your parents about them putting your picture frame in the wrong spot. This is your first impression to everyone you’re moving in with, so make it a good one. Be organized and prepared, and your move-in day should go seamlessly, at least until you say bye to your parents and your mom makes a scene in the hallway.