back to college

I fondly remember my college days. The excitement of starting a new semester and meeting up with friends motivated me to start packing weeks before the semester started. Several move-in tips sped up the packing and moving process, and they can help you efficiently move back to college too.

Start Early

You’ll never go wrong if you get ready ahead of time instead of waiting until the last minute. I’ve been guilty of not following this advice which always ends in last minute stress. Starting early also ensures you pack everything you need. I suggest writing a list and checking off items as you buy and pack them. That way you won’t arrive on campus and realize you forgot your laptop charger, favorite shampoo or tennis shoes at home.

Pack Light

There’s nothing more exhausting on move-in day than lugging dozens of heavy suitcases up five flights of stairs to your college dorm room or apartment. I know because I’ve been there. Then, you have to fit all that stuff into a small space that includes only an extra-long twin bed, basic closet and desk. Save yourself time and aggravation by packing light.

Do you remember the packing list you wrote while preparing for your college move-in day? On it, include essential items like:

  • Bedding: Consider bringing two sets of sheets, a pillow and case and blanket.
  • Toiletries: At a bare minimum, pack soap, shampoo and shaving supplies in a shower tote. Additional toiletry essentials include two towels, washcloths and shower shoes.
  • Clothing: Bring only the clothes you need for the current season and switch your wardrobe to the next season when you go home for break.
  • Laundry Supplies: A mesh tote, the detergent of your choice, fabric softener and plenty of quarters make laundry day easier.
  • School Materials: Standard supplies like pens, scissors, tape and notebooks are essential, but remember to pack your laptop and power cord, thumb drive, surge protector, desk lamp and extension cord too.
  • Storage Supplies: Maximize your compact space with storage options like cascading hangers, suitcases or duffel bags that fit under the bed, and a hanging shoe organizer for shoes, school supplies and toiletries.
  • Miscellaneous Items: Feel free to customize my essential miscellaneous list, but don’t go overboard and pack tons of unnecessary stuff. My list includes a Red Cross approved first aid kit, trash can and bags, cleaning supplies, tissues, noise-canceling headphones, a framed family photo and a stainless steel drinking cup.

Move Smart

If you attend college close to home, move essentials in first and pick up decorations, extra pillows or your beanbag chair when you go home. Attending college far away, though, means you need to pack and move everything in one day. I’ve found that following some smart move-in tips makes the entire day easier and less stressful.

1. Label each bag with your name and room number. The label helps ensure your stuff gets to your room instead of lost in the pile of abandoned bags on busy dorm move-in day.

2. Plan to arrive early on moving day and beat the crowd. If you arrive too late, you’ll have to fight the crowd and drag your bags from the back space in the parking lot.

3. Bring a dolly in case you do have to haul your bags across campus. Like following proper lifting techniques, a dolly also reduces strain on your body.

4. Relax. You don’t have to unpack and organize everything right away, especially if you’re feeling stressed or harried. Remember that you want to meet to make a good impression on your roommate, so relax as you move in.

College move-in day marks the start of a new semester and a new adventure. Plan ahead to make moving day smooth and easy. What other move-in tips do you have to share with college students?