Packing for college can be an utter nightmare as well as a giant chore to do as summer comes to an end. As a college freshman on her last stretch into summer, no one knows the nightmare of packing like I do. The night before move in day I was frantically shoving clothing into a suitcase, throwing toiletries into a box, and double checking where my room was located. Let’s just say that I plan on tackling packing for college differently for my sophomore year. In this post I will discuss how to best prepare before move in day to make it as stress free as possible.
Before Move in Day
So when it comes to the first stages of packing, I highly recommend not pushing it off like I did until the night before move in day. By pushing it off, I hardly got any sleep, we left later than we wanted to, and I forgot a lot of important items! So here are some tips to not be a train wreck like I was and to be the most prepared for move in day.
1. Create a Packing List:
I know it’s totally obvious, but it is absolutely necessary to create one at least a week before move in day. By creating a packing list you can become mentally prepared for move in day and college. It also causes you to think hard about what is necessary and what isn’t as well as it gives you time to look for that graphing calculator you lost after graduation. Go around your room and brainstorm, it doesn’t hurt to make an extremely long list and condense it later on.
2. Research your Dorm room:
If you toured your dorm room, know the amount of closet space, and drawers you have then you are set. However, if you have never seen your dorm room before or are unsure about how much space you will be splitting with your roommate(s) then you really need to follow this step. I had the chance of touring a dorm room just like mine, however, I toured it a year before move in day. For deciding how much to pack and what you need I highly recommend researching your room.
-Look for pictures online: You could find pictures easily off of google, your school’s website,or even a social media tag. If you have never seen your dorm room before this can be helpful in helping you decide what you need to pack and/or buy. A picture is worth a thousand words, by seeing a picture of your dorm you could see that the floors aren’t carpeted so you need to buy a rug, or that the walls are bare or concrete so you need to buy a tapestry to cover it. Looking at pictures of your dorm room online can also just be fun and can help you get excited for moving in!
-Check your school’s website: Not sure what to pack? Some schools have packing lists on their websites which can be essential in telling you what the dorms do and don’t have, and what is and isn’t allowed. You may also find floor plans and dimensions for your dorm. Each college is different so I highly recommend checking out their website to see.
3. Connect with your roommate(s):
Hopefully you have or are still actively communicating with your roommate(s), but if not make sure you establish some things before move in day. Make sure you discuss who is bringing the big items such as the TV, microwave, mini fridge, futon, etc. The last thing you want to do is be without a futon for the first few weeks of college or even worse, end up with two! You should even discuss smaller items such as cleaning supplies, a mirror, even the stuff you plan on hanging up. You may love Harry Potter and want to hang all 6 of your Harry Potter posters on the wall, but keep in mind that not everyone else in your dorm loves Harry Potter as much as you do, or at least doesn’t want 6 posters up on the wall. The key is to compromise with your roommate(s) before move in day and most importantly make sure the establishment of who is bringing what is clear and fair.
4. Do your Laundry:
I know it sounds weird but the night before or sooner make sure you DO YOUR LAUNDRY! The last thing you want to do is leave your favorite pair of jeans behind because they are dirty, or to carry a garbage bag full of already dirty clothes to your dorm. Just do your laundry so you can have a fresh start in a new place!
5. Plan your time slot:
Most move in days have a set time frame when students are allowed to move in. I received all of my move in information in the mail a few weeks before. Take into account how far away college is from home, your parents work schedules, even the weather forecast to find the ideal time slot. Some colleges may even require you to reserve a time long before move in day. Usually the earlier the better but usually during move in day, it’s always busy.
6. Who is coming with you?:
When it comes to move in day, the less people the better. The last thing you, your neighbors, or the school wants are congested stairways, elevators, hallways, and parking lots. Try to bring just 3 people along with you on move in day so you have enough help but not too much. I brought my mom, grandma, and boyfriend and that was perfect. Keep in mind that every college has volunteers assisting with move in day, so even if you attack it alone you have a lot of help!
7. Vehicles & Parking
Make sure that before move in day you have contacted every person you know with a truck, if you need one that is. My boyfriend and I drove my grandpa’s truck to carry my bigger items to my dorm and my mom and grandma took a car to carry the smaller items. Make sure you have decided how many cars you need for move in day and how many people and items can fit in each car. Some colleges only allow one vehicle in the parking lot at the time so be ready to direct your dad to a spot on the street and to print off a parking pass if you were emailed one.
8. Establish what you need to Buy:
It probably isn’t best to throw what you need to buy on your parents the night or even the week before move in day. Chances are they don’t have $300+ set aside at the ready to go on a giant shopping trip for your essentials. Establish what you need to buy long in advanced. How long? I started with my Christmas list. I know it sounds really really early but Christmas, birthdays, even St. Patrick’s day can be a great time to tell your family what you need to buy for college and around these times they are prepared to drop a pretty penny on what you need. Again discuss with your roommate(s) those big ticket items to make the process easier.
9. Check Guidelines & Restrictions:
I some what established this earlier, but I will say it again. Make sure you are aware of your dorm’s guidelines for what you can and can’t have. You most likely already are aware that there are no alcohol, tobacco, or drugs allowed in the dorms. However, make sure you are aware of other things such as if you are allowed to have guests or not; What wattage your microwave has to be; and know that candles are not allowed. Each college is different, but research what the guidelines are to ensure you don’t make a mistake on your first day.
10. Gather all your Bearings:
College and move in day can be stressful, make sure that before you move in to your college take some time to yourself or with friends and family. Say your last goodbyes, eat at your favorite restaurant one last time, and finish off everything left on your summer bucket list. The key is to feel the most prepared and comfortable with moving day mentally and physically.
You got this! Move in day and the days building up to it can be stressful and overwhelming. But once you do it once, you are confident with doing it again, and when you are at the end of the year like I am, all you can think about is how fast you want to get out of here.