The weeks and days leading up to move in can be quite stressful. However, here are 16 tips and tricks that will hopefully make the process a lot smoother and more efficient.
1. Use Every Storage You Have
Any and everything you have that is storage should be pre-packed for move-in. Whether it be bins, desk drawers or even your backpack, pack it up. Organize and set up all your storage, so that everything is already set up, and the bin/drawer just has to go into your room and doesn't need unpacking.
2. Label Everything
Save yourself time searching for things by labeling every box, bin and drawer. If you have plastic storage that you will reuse, I recommend you tape a Post-it note or index card to the outside rather than permanently marring the surface.
3. Keep Your Bins Organized With Bags
Inside each bin that you fill, use the plastic shopping bags from your college shopping to pack categories in bags (i.e. pack your shower caddy and everything you will place in it all into one plastic bag). This strategy will make it easy to pull out one bag with everything you need for a certain setup without sorting through the bin to grab everything, and later finding one item that fell to the bottom of the bin (just make sure to put a Post-it label in each bag as well).
4. Organize Smartly
Like I mentioned above, organize as much as you can before move-in. If you are taking drawers to organize your desk, fill it with school supplies beforehand and tape the drawers shut so that it's already set-up for move-in.
Also make sure that you pack items for a certain area together (i.e. bedding and wall decor) so that you can keep each bin in its own area.
Lastly, make sure that cleaning supplies are packed together and the first thing you can access when unpacking the car. Before you move everything in, you want to clean your dorm, so make sure you can do that first.
5. Unpack Everything
Big, bulky packaging takes up space when packing, and becomes a nuisance when unpacking. No one wants to trip over cardboard boxes while trying to navigate around a dorm room. Unpack as many items as you can when you're packing. However, make sure that if the item comes with multiple pieces, you have a way of keeping them together and organized.
6. Keep Stuff Loose
Although having everything organized in boxes and bins is nice, leave larger items on their own. Things like bedding, juice cases and bulk paper products do not need to be packed away in boxes. It's easier to leave them loose, that way you can easily squeeze them in between boxes and bins and toss them on top.
7. Pack A Small Bag With Essentials
In the event that you do not get everything unpacked by nightfall, have a small bag packed with a change of clothes, hygiene items and anything else you might need to have immediately before bed and in the morning. After a long day of moving in, the last thing you want is to have to search for things before bed.
8. Take Pictures of Electronics Before Unplugging
If you’re not particularly tech-savvy, take pictures of cord for your tv, printer, game counsels, etc., so that you can reference them when you are setting them up in your dorm room.
9. Command Strip Everything In Advance
In a dorm room, you cannot put holes in the walls. If you want to hang things up, your best bet is to use command strips or hooks. To save time on move-in day, assess everything that you’re going to hang (i.e. mirrors, chalk/ dry erase boards, canvases etc.), cut them (if needed) and place the command strips on the item. This way, when you get to your dorm, all you have to do is peel the back off and stick it to the wall.
The same goes for batteries, make sure that you put batteries in all your decorations, remotes, tools etc. beforehand to save time during move-in.
10. Budget Your Meal Plan
Before you get to campus, make a budget for your meal plan by calculating the number of meals you will eat that semester and how much money you have for each meal. This comes in handy to avoid the dreaded empty card halfway through the semester.
The app Fudget provides a great way for students to keep a handle on their spending and budget.
11. Waterproof Shoes and Clothing Items
This is less of a packing tip and more of just a college hack. Buy a waterproofing spray to waterproof your shoes, backpack and hats. This way, if you ever get caught in the rain or have something spilled you will be a little more protected.
As simple as it may seem, make a music playlist for move-in. If you do not have a set playlist of music you currently like and that will motivate you to work, then you will waste so much time, pausing what you’re doing to skip or look up a song.
Along the same lines, if you plan to play your music out loud when you are setting up your dorm, make sure the music is appropriate for the group who is helping you move and respectful to your roommate’s group. There’s nothing worse than having to constantly skip explicit music to protect parents ears, or walking back into a room to find that the song has changed to something less appropriate than what it was playing when you left.
13. Make a Packing and a Task List
It all depends on your school, but if you have only a few hours to move-in before a scheduled welcome program ensues, you want to make your move-in as fast and efficient as possible. Make a list of all the tasks you have to do to officially move into your room (i.e. clean, make the bed, organize the desk, decorate walls, etc.). Divide the list up and assign each task to a person moving you in. This way, you can choose the people you want for certain jobs, and everyone knows what they’re doing.
14. Triple Check Prohibited List
You have probably skimmed this list of prohibited dorm items a few times but seriously look over the list to make sure you are not bringing anything prohibited. By doing so, you can return any items that you purchased that are not allowed and replace them with something else. There’s nothing worse than receiving a fine or having to shop last minute for a replacement.
15. Weigh your Luggage
If you are flying, make sure you weigh your luggage and check airline guidelines to ensure that your bag will not be flagged or fined.
16. Send Bins and Boxes Home
Do not keep empty or half-empty bins, boxes or luggage in your room. You do not need that storage taking up space if it is not being used. Consolidate as much as you can into a few bins, and send the rest home with your family if you can. When you head home for spring break, you can bring them back with you, so that you can pack up at the end of the semester before they pick you up.
It's easy to get caught up in the stress of moving; however, this is a huge step for you and you should enjoy every moment. Hopefully, these tips will reduce your stress and make the process much more fun!