Our Best Tips for Surviving College Move-In Day


Your transition from high school student to college student is almost complete. You’ve gone through the process of testing, applying, interviewing, and being accepted – congratulations! However, there is one challenge left to conquer: move-in day!

Luckily, we’ve compiled some useful hints and tricks to help make your college move a breeze. With these helpful tips, moving to college might be the least stressful thing you’ll do all year.

Purchase dorm essentials as early as possible

It goes without saying that college-bound students need dorm furnishings and supplies. You shouldn’t wait until the last-minute to buy them. If you wait too long, things can be sold out, especially near campus.

Be realistic while packing

Your dorm room is going to seem way too small for storing all your stuff and you’ll inevitably have to make hard decisions about what you actually have room for. Check what the school provides in the dorm and compare that to what you need to supply yourself. College dorm rooms are usually cramped, so only pack essentials.

Connect with your future roommate(s)

By communicating with your roommate in advance, you will have found your first college acquaintance before even arriving on campus.

By communicating with your roommate in advance, you will have found your first college acquaintance before even arriving on campus.

Connect with your roommate or roommates once you know who they are. Discuss what everyone will be bringing to the dorm room, which avoids any duplication of larger items. Additionally, you should discuss each of your expectations about sleeping and studying habits, having guests over, cleaning arrangements, partying, and borrowing each other’s belongings. Not establishing ground rules can lead to heated arguments and uncomfortable passive-aggression.

Be resourceful

The last thing you want is to pack away your fragile belongings only to discover them broken or damaged on move-in day. Instead of spending money on packing materials, use newspaper, plastic grocery bags, towels, and t-shirts to protect items like dishes, glassware, and your electronics.

Bring a small tool kit

It’s likely you’ll need some tools to get everything set up, and the last thing you’ll want to do on move-in day is run around trying to borrow a screwdriver or leave campus to go buy one. It’s also a great way to meet new people -- everyone appreciates the helpful student with the cordless drill.

Avoid moving rush hour

Your school will give you a recommended time frame for arrival, usually in the morning or afternoon. Arrive toward the end of the allotted time to avoid long waits and a packed elevator. If getting the first pick of beds is important to you, arrive an hour early so you can be first in line.

Inspect the entire space as soon as you arrive.

If you’re moving into an apartment or house, check for damage from previous tenants and alert your landlord. You don’t want to get charged for someone else’s carelessness.


You are allowed to move furniture, with your roommate’s blessing, of course. Often times, there is a better way to position your furniture to allow more space and even privacy. Push beds and desks against the walls for an open area in the middle of the room. Push bureaus back to back to create privacy nooks for sleeping or dressing.

Use vertical space

Maximize every inch of space in your small dorm room with shelving.

Maximize every inch of space in your small dorm room with shelving.

You can find cost effective shelving at places like Target, Walmart, or Ikea. Wall shelves free up floor space and are great for storing things like groceries, toiletries, or textbooks. It’s important to make sure your shelves are durable enough to support the weight of whatever you plan to keep on them.

Decorate last

You might be tempted to hang posters, photos, and other decor as soon as you’re moved in. However, if your big items are in place allows for a proper flow and will help make your new digs feel like home in no time. Things like beds, couches and television stands should all be in place before the fun stuff goes on shelves and walls.

Ask for discounts

Because you’re already investing a lot of money in your education don’t be afraid to save money where you can. Places like grocery stores and restaurants commonly offer student discounts, so get your student ID ready.

If moving to college is too daunting of a task for you to accomplish alone, contact your local moving company for a free quote.