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    College Move-In Day

    College Move-In Day: Everything You Need To Know For Your New Transition

    July 31, 2018 Amanda Cross 11 min read
    Note: This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure for more details. Thanks for supporting the brands that make The Happy Arkansan possible!

    August is rapidly approaching, and butterflies are starting to flutter in incoming first-year students across the nation. Today, I wanted to chat about college move-in day. These are tips from a girl who went through college move-in day her freshman year, then helped move first-year students in every year from her Sophomore through Senior year.

    Today's post is going to help you have a smooth college move-in day transition.

    College Move-In Day: Everything You Need To Know For Your New Transition | Are you ready to move into your new college home? College move-in day can be stressful, but I have tons of tips to help make the process a breeze from start to finish. #CollegeMoveInDay #CollegeAdvice #FreshmanAdvice

    Related Reading: How To Pack Clothes For College

    Before College Move-In Day

    The lead up to move-in day is often so stressful. Before you leave is when you have the most time to overthink your upcoming move, and it can be scary. Here are a few things that can help you tackle your future move with grace.

    Coordinate With Your Roommate(s)

    You don't have to bring EVERYTHING, especially if you coordinate with your roommate beforehand.

    Coordinate about who will bring what, like your mini-fridge, television, and any other big ticket items you want to bring. You can also coordinate about the decor of your room and how everything will work together.

    One of the biggest things you should be coordinating about, though, is who will arrive and when during move-in day. It can be challenging to organize two families in a dorm room that's meant to house two people at most.

    So, you want to see when your roommate plans to arrive so you can come earlier or later than them. You may be given a timeline of when to arrive from your university, so you also want to consider that when you are planning your arrival at your dorm.

    Pack Your Stuff

    You would be surprised how unorganized some students are during move-in day. This is okay if you are doing the moving yourself, but if other people are moving your stuff, you should have it as together as possible.

    Honestly, one of the best things I bought to help with move-in day stuff were those big plastic storage containers you can get at Walmart. The tubs had lids so I could make sure everything was secure. They were perfect for packing my clothes, and I stored the containers under my bed after I was done with them. After the school year was up, it was easy for me to get them from under my bed and pack my clothes back in them to leave.

    Storage containers usually sell for around $6-$10 each for a nice-sized container, so they are the perfect moving solution. Also, I kept mine through all four years of college, and they made many moves with me, so I think they are the perfect cheap investment.

    However, you decide to pack your stuff, pack it! Otherwise, you make it difficult on yourself or whoever is moving your stuff.

    Write Your Name And Room Number On Your Stuff

    This is especially important if other people will be helping you move your stuff besides your family.

    During Welcome Week at my alma mater, we didn't have to lift a finger to move in stuff during Welcome Week, but that meant that other people touched my stuff.

    When you are packing your stuff, be sure to write your name and room number in sharpie on every bin, suitcase, or package you want in your room.

    Likely the move-in team will have post-it notes or some other method of labeling stuff, but it's always good to take some proactive measures to make sure your stuff ends up in the right room!

    #CollegeMoveInDay Tip: Write your name and room number on your stuff! If college volunteers help you move, this is a great way to make sure things get to the right place. Click To Tweet

    Take A Few Random Things Out Before You Leave

    We often overpack for going off to college.

    This is the first extended time many of us have spent away from home, and it can be difficult to understand what's appropriate when it comes to what to bring.

    So, before you load everything into your car, go through the items you want to bring one last time.

    Think: do you really need to bring this item with you to college?

    If you are on the fence, leave it at home and get your parents to ship it to you if you can't live without it a few weeks into being away at college.

    The first few weeks of college are SO busy that you won't likely even think about the fact that specific items are missing.

    Make Sure You And Your Family Know What To Expect

    If you are moving into college with the help of your parents and other family members, you need to let them know what to expect from your trip.

    If you can help it, keep the number of people going to a minimum, 2-4 helpers at most! I know it can be difficult when you have siblings to keep it that low, though, so don't be afraid if you need a few extra helping hands.

    You also want everyone to know what they need to know about the parking situation on campus. Campus police officers try to be a little more lenient on move-in day, but you also need to consider other people's safety when you park on campus. Try to keep cars to a minimum amount (1-2 vehicles.)

    Lastly, your family should know what to expect as far as an itinerary for the day.

    • When will you need to arrive on campus?
    • What can they expect after your room has been moved in?
    • Will you need to go shopping for anything afterward?

    Give them a full rundown of the day so that they are aware of everything that they need to do that day, and also when it'll be time to say goodbye. Saying goodbye is often hard for your parents, so you want to give them time to digest that information.

    Don't Pack Extra Furniture (Besides A TV Or Mini-Fridge)

    I know this seems like a no-brainer, but don't bring extra furniture if you can help it.

    If your campus has volunteers helping with move-in day, someone has to bring that bulky furniture up potentially flights of stairs, and no one wants to do that to be completely honest.

    Also, there is not a ton of room for extra furniture. The beds and desks in rooms often take up enough room as is, and then you want extra chairs and such on top of that?

    If you do need some extra seating, bring something small like a bean bag chair that doesn't require a ton of strength to move.

    Remember: What Comes In, Must Come Out

    Above all else, remember this when packing. The fanfare for your arrival leaves as soon as your stuff is in your dorm. You may have a team of volunteer movers helping you get your stuff in your dorm for the first time, but the moving welcome committee is over after that.

    Anything you bring during welcome week, or throughout your stay in your dorm, has to leave. Likely, it's going to be you packing up your dorm at the end of the day. Your parents probably won't be there to help you, and you definitely won't have a team of volunteers there to take stuff to your car for you.

    You'll likely be alone in this fight, unfortunately.

    So, make sure you are ready to move out everything that you move into your dorm room.

    One way to help this is to take stuff out and ship stuff home all spring semester during breaks like Spring Break. If you do this, you will cut down on how much you have to pack up during finals week.

    College Move-In Day

    On College Move-In Day

    The day has finally arrived, it's time to get moved into the dorm! These next tips will help you move into your dorm with ease!

    Wear The Appropriate Attire

    Move-in day is in August (or at the latest in early September), which for some is the hottest month of the year. Not only that, but you are likely moving in stuff up multiple flights of stairs (unless you are lucky enough to live on the first floor like I did.)

    When I was in graduate school, though, I lived on the third floor during move-in day for the first time, and it was honestly one of the worst move-in experiences I'd ever had. It was hot, and there was no moving welcome committee for me, just my parents.

    All of this to say, make sure that you wear the appropriate clothes for move-in day.

    That means leave the jeans in your luggage and go for something weather appropriate like shorts and a t-shirt. You may also want to make sure that you put on sunscreen to protect yourself from the heat of the sun, no matter how early you get on campus!

    Arrive As Early As Possible

    If you are doing the bulk of the moving, try to get to campus as early as possible. Moving into a dorm in the height of summer is not the most fun thing in the world to do. You want to try to get in as soon as possible, so you aren't dying of heat exhaustion by the end of the day.

    The earlier you arrive, the earlier you can finish the entire moving process which will make your move-in day SO much easier to handle.

    Do Some Cleaning

    Dorm rooms aren't filthy when you first step foot into them, but they also aren't spotless either.

    Don't be afraid to do some light cleaning as you are moving into your dorm. This will likely be the easiest day to get cleaning done when you have your family helping with the cleaning process, so don't be afraid to take advantage of the helping hands.

    Check Out The Dorm As A Whole

    Once your dorm room starts to look as put together as you can get, don't be afraid to take a little tour of the dorm as a whole.

    • What amenities are available?
      • Kitchen? Laundry Room? Living Area?
    • What does the bathroom look like?
    • What is the layout of your room compared to everyone else's room?

    Just take your time and walk around a bit. You may even want to check out another floor to see if it's any different from the floor you live on.


    I understand that moving into a dorm can cause anxiety for some people. I am honestly getting anxiety by just writing this article because even typing about moving is taking me back to my freshman year of college.

    If you feel anxiety, trust me, you are not alone. Everyone in your dorm may seem like they have it all together, but likely they don't.

    This is a new experience for everyone, not just you.

    So, don't forget to take some deep breaths every once in a while. Focus on your breathing. Go to your happy place.

    Everyone's emotions are high at the moment, so if you need to take a few moments to chill out, please do just that.

    #CollegeMoveInDay Tip: This is a new experience for everyone, not just you! Keep calm and set the tone for the rest of your family as you move into your college dorm. Click To Tweet

    Document Your Experience

    You'll want to remember this day, and so will your parents! Don't be afraid to take as many pictures as you can and get a few with your parents or whoever is helping you move!

    I didn't take nearly as many pictures in college as I wish I did, and this is something that I wish I would have done more.  You won't regret having access to all the memories, so get to snapping pictures, even if it is with your iPhone.

    College Move-In Day

    After College Move-In Day

    Now that your car is all unpacked from college move-in day, it's time to make sure that you have everything you need to succeed on campus and that you say goodbye to your parents and ease their fears as much as possible.

    Let's chat about what happens after you move-in!

    Shop For Food, Snacks, and Kitchen Stuff

    One of the BEST things I did during Welcome Week as a freshman, and something I did for every move after, was wait to shop for food until after my stuff was in my dorm or apartment.

    You don't need to get food before you unpack your dorm. It just takes up space in your car, and that's valuable space you could be using to bring clothes, home decor, or anything else with you to college.

    When you get to town, head to your local Walmart or another grocery store nearby campus. Yes, every store will be busy on college move-in day, but it'll be so much easier than lugging food to your dorm while you are setting everything up.

    If you want to pick up any utensils, kitchen equipment, or bulky items like that, wait until you get to your campus city for that too. Pots, pans, and other kitchen things take up a lot of space. Getting to your dorm first and settling in will also help you understand what you need.

    #CollegeMoveInDay Tip: Wait until you get to your college town to get groceries or kitchen equipment. That takes up too much space in your car, and you can easily get it after you move in. Click To Tweet

    Pick Up Anything You May Have Forgotten

    Likely once you start looking to unpack some of your favorite things, you will notice a few missing items. While you are out shopping for food and snacks, pick up any of those essentials you may have forgotten like:

    • Toothpaste
    • Deodorant
    • Soap
    • Batteries
    • Lotion

    Before you leave your dorm, make a list to the best of your ability, then go pick everything up in one fell swoop if you can!

    Spend A Little Time With Your Family If You Can

    I am not asking you to spend all day with them, but try to see things from their perspective.

    They have likely raised you for 18 years, and now you are going away to college. This is a bittersweet time for them! They are excited that you are going off to college, but they will miss you dearly.

    So, spend a little time with them around your new college town if you can.

    Don't keep them around all day, but don't use them to help you move in and then kick them out.

    Think back to the expectations you set earlier when you explained what would happen on college move-in day to your family and act upon the plans that you made.

    Relax & Rest

    You don't have to have everything unpacked on the first day! Sure, you don't want to wait forever to get your things unpacked, but you don't need to rush to unpack everything right away.

    College move-in day is so stressful. You have just moved into an entirely new city and a new living arrangement. That's enough to make anyone's head spin.

    If you don't get to unpack everything on the first day, that's okay! You will likely be changing around the layout of your stuff over the next few days anyway.

    College Move-In Day

    Conclusion: You Are College Move-In Day Ready

    If you follow all these tips, I guarantee that you will be ready to tackle college move-in day head-on.

    I hope that these tips helped you when it comes to thinking about move-in day. I want this post to help remove some of your fears and give you the low-down on move-in day from someone who has gone through multiple moves.

    READ NEXT:  14 Tips To Help You Secure Your Dorm Or Apartment

    Extra College Move-In Day Resources

    The Ultimate Guide To Preparing For College Move-In Day by Jessica Slaughter

    Tips for Students and What to Expect on College Move-In Day by Thought Co.

    Tips To Make College Move-In Day A Breeze by Public Storage

    What are you looking forward to when it comes to college move-in day?

    READ NEXT:  Dorm Bathroom 101: Everything You Need To Know To Survive And Be A Good Human
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    About Amanda

    Hey Y’all!
    My name is Amanda Cross, and I am the blogger behind The Happy Arkansan. I am a blogger, freelance writer, and podcaster. When I am not creating content for any of my content online, I can usually be found baking, watching YouTube, or napping. I love helping millennials and young adults navigate the mess that is adult life. Keep reading for my thoughts and experiences.

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