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College Dorm Move-in Tips

College Dorm Move

Moving into a college dorm is a significant milestone, marked by the moment you arrive in the front of the building, box in hand, looking up at your future with excited and nervous eyes. There could be a whole range of emotions that follow next, so we’re here to help ensure that ‘stress’ or ‘overwhelm’ isn’t in the mix. Here, we offer top tips for a smooth dorm move-in day to help you keep that sense of excitement alive.

Ship directly to your school

If you won’t be driving to school, consider shipping your belongings to the school directly — especially large items like furniture. Many companies provide moving services that don’t require you to rent the whole truck since you likely don’t have that much cargo, but allow you to send your things as part of a larger cargo shipment. This approach will save you money, but it may mean you have to be a little more flexible with your timing.

Alternatively? If you will be doing some shopping for your dorm room, order things online for local pickup or wait until you get there to shop. If you’re moving in with a roommate, this could give you time to collaborate on decorating your new space!

Bring a basic set of tools

Coming prepared with a hammer, screwdrivers, and pliers can make move-in a much more efficient and less stressful process. You may need to install bed risers, curtains, or put together other small furniture that would otherwise be a headache. Bring a roll of duct tape to tape down extension cords and make other minor repairs, and a small kit of hanging implements like a sticky tack or if they are allowed, picture hangers. Your college may also provide a list of tips for moving into a dorm to help ensure you know the rules and policies, so read through all that paperwork they send before writing out your college packing checklist.

Coordinate with your roommate

If you both try to move in at the same time, it’s almost guaranteed you’ll end up clashing. Coordinate move-in day so you can move in one at a time, and give one another a generous window of time to get everything loaded into your room. Be respectful and wait until the other has also loaded his or her belongings into space so you can unpack together and coordinate where everything should go.

Important: coordinate who will bring larger items like a mini-fridge, microwave, or TV before you start packing. You certainly don’t want to end up with multiples of these things, especially if you’ll be purchasing them specifically for college!  If it’s on your list of college dorm must-haves, discuss it ahead of time.

Clean before you unpack

Chances are good that some dust has collected while your dorm went unused. Come prepared with cleaning supplies to sweep and wipe down the surfaces in your new room, as well as maintain a level of cleanliness during the semester. Pre-moistened wipes are a quick, easy way to wipe things down whenever you need, but don’t forget some paper towels for those accidental spills.


Don’t have a laptop yet? Time to start shopping the back-to-school deals. Although most universities have computer labs, you’ll be more comfortable if you can crank out that last-minute paper at 1 am from the comfort of your room when it’s raining or snowing outside. Come prepared with a power strip that has a surge protector, an extension cord (especially if your dorm building is older), and a good set of headphones. When your roommate wants to go to sleep and you need to keep working, you’ll be able to keep your favorite focus music blasting in your ears — or tune out the party down the hall!

About the author

Ashley Hernandez