How to Have An Easier Move-in Day

Need some tips for moving into a dorm room? We share our best college move-in day survival tips and strategies.
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How can it already be time to move back to school? My mind is still stuck in the middle of July, which made my back-to-school moving process very scattered and disorganized. (I only wish that packing was as easy as Tonks makes it in Harry Potter 5!) However, now that I've successfully packed and moved into a dorm twice, I've definitely accumulated plenty of tips to make move-in day as smooth and stress-free as possible!

In this article, I'll discuss some tried-and-true advice for your packing and move-in operation, as well as some handy supplies that might make the process easier... and give you a little more time to spend with friends or family!

1. Talk to Your Roommate(s)!

According to the National Retail Federation, freshmen students will end up spending, on average, $374 on dorm room furnishings, and the typical family will probably spend closer to $939. That's quite a price tag, so to minimize dorm room costs, make sure you know exactly what you and your roommate(s) are bringing, so that there aren't any unnecessary duplicates!

I promise, you won't need two fridges or two microwaves, and you definitely won't need two TVs.

2. Do Your Homework

Especially if this your first time moving into a dorm, you're going to want to have all your paperwork ready for check-in! A few days before you head out, organize your papers into a brightly colored folder, and place the folder where you know you won't lose it, like in the car glove box. Memorize your student ID number, the check-in times and locations, and where you can park!

Your Move-in Tool Kit

tool kit

Product Information: Tape Measure, Space Bags, Duct Tape, Rubber Mallet, Utility Knife, Level App

I firmly believe that every college girl should own a tool kit (and know how to use the majority of the tools). Even if you can't tell a Phillips head screwdriver from a flat head, this arsenal of supplies will make you feel like a move-in expert!

Starting from the top left corner and going clockwise:

  • Tape measure. I write this in earnest -- please, pleaseplease bring a tape measure with you! I just struggled for an hour, trying to move a bunk bed across the room with my boyfriend, only to discover that the bed was two inches wider than the wall space. Especially if you've got the perfect dorm room setup in mind, knowing the height and width of all the furniture will help you immensely.
  • Space Bags. I never thought that it was possible to fall in love with an inanimate object, but I was ready to hug all of my Space Bags after I used them to bring all my clothes up. They really do double or triple your storage space, they're easier to squeeze into a packed car than a huge suitcase or plastic bin, and opening the bags to let the air back in is SO. MUCH. FUN. Watch your clothes inflate right before your eyes! It's magic!
  • Duct tape. If moving in to college was The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, duct tape would be 42. It is the Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything. Use it for everything from sticking down extension cords to sealing boxes to making prom dresses. (Okay, that last one might be a few years too late.)
  • Moving boxes with handle cutouts. Don't strain your back! Get moving boxes with built-in handles to help you move them from car to dorm. I have always preferred moving boxes to plastic bins for moving all my stuff, simply because they fold up nicely and go under my bed until I reuse them to move back home. I also cut them up to make decorations, which is embarrassingly frugal of me.
  • Rubber mallet. If you want to loft or de-loft your bed, a rubber mallet is key. It could also prove useful in a zombie apocalypse.
  • Utility knife. Use it to cut through those impossible-to-open plastic packages, and to open your packed moving boxes.
  • Level. If you haven't got a level at home, download this free app to help make sure your posters and photos are attached to the wall perfectly!

Bonus: A Brief List of Commonly Forgotten Items

Don't be like me and pack the night before you leave - this lack of planning led me to forget all of my pillows (and my robe, and my desk lamp, and my socks...). Check this list of commonly forgotten items, and make sure to bring them!

  • Extension cords
  • Tissues, paper towels, cleaning supplies
  • An awesome bottle opener, for those over 21! Check out this cool skeleton key bottle opener.
  • Shower shoes
  • First-aid kit
  • Batteries
  • All of the chargers for your electronics
  • Pillows, robe, desk lamp, socks. Sorry, I couldn't resist.

What do you think?

What are your tips for making move-in day as stress-free as possible? What are the top 5 things that you think are most commonly forgotten? What's in your move-in toolkit? Let us know with a comment!

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