17 Tips for a Smooth College Move-In Day

17 Tips for a Smooth College Move-In DayMove-in day can be pretty stressful. With all of the emotions and the amount of things that need to get done, it can be a challenge. But if you follow these 17 tips, move-in day can be pretty easy-breezy. Or at least, a lot easier than it could be. So let’s get into the tips and tricks.

Before Move-In Day

1// Pack in Advance

Ideally you want to start packing about a month in advance, so you have time to find the best deals on all the stuff you’re going to need. But you definitely want to be done packing at least a week before move-in day so that you can save yourself from last minute purchases.

2// Pack in Suitcases

This was probably the most helpful tip out of this whole list.

Suitcases are designed to carry a lot of stuff. And they do it without a lot of effort on your part.

I know everyone says to pack your bins and other stuff beforehand but I’m not a fan of this. First, I had no idea what the layout of the room was looking like and if I would even have room for most of my bins. Second, those bins were flimsy and my dorm didn’t have an elevator. It would have been a pain to carry those full bins all the way up the stairs. And third, if I had needed to, I could have left the bins at home.

Basically, bins are great if you’re absolutely certain you’re going to need them. But it’s easier to pack your stuff in suitcases and roll them up the stairs.

3// Pack Your Clothes on Hangers

Doing this means you won’t have to spend all night, after your family’s gone, putting clothes on hangers. And it definitely made me feel like I got a good head start into the moving in deal.

4// Pack Your Cleaning Supplies Last

Dorms are pretty nasty. You’re definitely going to want to clean your room before you put anything inside. So pack your broom, vacuum, and Clorox wipes last so that it’ll be easy to access when you start moving in.

Clean every surface the minute you walk in and then just put the cleaning supplies in the hall (just in case).

5// Have an Overnight Bag

This is basically for the night of move-in day and the day after. It should have the most essential toiletries, pajamas, and a fresh set of clothes. After a long day of moving in, you don’t want to have to dig through your stuff to get to get to your essentials.

6// Rent a Dolly

Dolly’s make dragging your heavy stuff up the hill and through the halls so much easier. I wish I had grabbed one for move-in day. It would have made getting the fridge up the freakin’ hill so much easier.

You might be lucky enough to get one that your college may be providing. But you don’t need to take the chance. Just bring your own.

On Move-In Day

7// Pack Snacks

Move-in day gets hot. People will get hangry. Avoid the entire situation by packing a few snacks and some cold water.

I let everyone who came to help me move in pack their own snacks and threw in a couple of Cutie mandarins. It definitely got me through the last few dredges of move-in day.

8// Arrive Early

Get to your college early, find a parking spot, and get your room key as early as possible. And even if there are time slots, you should probably still get there about 15 to 20 minutes early. Trust me, no one is going to be completely moved in the time that the university sets.

Get their early so you can get done quicker.

9// Rearrange Your Room First

Before you even bring anything up to your room, you should find your room first and switch up the layout. The way that the room is set up probably isn’t the most efficient use of space. Move and loft the beds and rearrange the desk and dressers if you can. Set everything up so that you can just move in without anything in your room.

Once everything’s set up, putting things away should be much easier because you’ll have the layout exactly the way you want it.

10// Bring in the Big-Ticket Items

Big-ticket items are basically the things that are going to take up a lot of space. Things like your fridge, microwave, rug, and drawers.

You want to get these into your room first because they’re going to dictate where everything else is placed. And the fridge is going to need some time to get cold enough to actually keep any food.

11// Make Your Bed

This is the first thing you want to unpack. Trust me. You’re not going to want it do it with all of your stuff in the way. Or as the last thing before your parents leave.

If your bed is lofted, pull off the mattress and make the bed that way. It’s easier than climbing up on the bed and trying to make it from up high. Seriously, I’ve watched way too many people struggling to make their beds when it’s lofted. Just take the mattress down.

12// Unpack in Sections

Finish one part of your room before moving on to the next. It’ll keep things flowing nicely and give you piece of mind to have everything completely organized. That way, when you’ve finished with the room, you’re absolutely certain you haven’t left anything behind.

13// Give Everyone a Job

The people who come with you to help you move-in are going to be a little emotional. It’s inevitable. And it’s important to remember that they’re happy for you and they want to help you. Let them.

Let your younger siblings decorate your room. Or ask your parents to make your bed (for what is, hopefully, the last time.  And you can take the responsibility of unpacking all of the things.

Seriously, let them help. It’ll make your life easier and will give them something to focus on, other than your impending life changes.

14// Make a List of Things You Still Need

You should be doing this as you organize your room. There are things you should probably wait to buy but there are things that you might have forgotten. Write them down. And if there an immediate necessity, go out and buy them. If they can wait a little while, don’t worry about it now. Find a cheaper deal online or wait until after everyone’s moved in (when prices drop) and pick them up then. Or maybe your parents are just going to have make another trip down to bring it to you.

Regardless, have a list of the stuff that you still want to bring into your room. Update it throughout the day and even throughout the week as you continue to settle in.

After Moving In

Now that you’re moved in, there are only a few more things you need to do.

15// Eat Dinner with Your Family

It’s been a long day with a lot of work. Go out to dinner with them. Enjoy a few more moments before your first night as a college student.

Have fun. Laugh. Share dumb stories and reminisce. Your parents and siblings will probably cry and you might too. And that’s okay. Let it happen.

16// Meet Your Hallmates

Once your parents are gone and you’ve done a bit more cleaning, go around and meet everyone. You’ve probably done a little chatting with the other people on your hall but now is the chance to meet almost everyone.

Take your roommate with you and go meet the other people. Everyone’s in the same boat. Everyone’s a little tired and sad and excited. Have fun. Chat, get to know everyone and maybe watch a movie together (if you’re not exhausted).

17// Sleep

It’s been a long day. You’re going to be tired. Take a shower, brush your teeth, and hop right into bed. Have a great night’s sleep!


So those are my tips to making move-in day as smooth as possible. It’s going to be a long day but it’s going to be a great time. Take pictures. Don’t get too mad at anyone. Enjoy hanging out with your family and meeting the new people on your floor. And get the year off to a good start.