Your 7-Step Move-In Day Checklist

Want to have a successful semester? It all starts with day one.

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Moving day checklist for college

As the new semester rolls in, you’ve probably got a hundred things to think about. Is your schedule correct? Did you buy everything you needed during that last IKEA trip? Is there time for one last summer celebration before classes begin? And while most of these things work themselves out in due time, you should definitely make a game plan for move in.

What’s the big deal, you might think. You just wanna put your stuff down, make your bed, and lay on it for the rest of the day.

And while that’s definitely okay (you deserve a break for lifting all those boxes!), make sure you at least run through the following moving day checklist for college:

Related reading: What to Wear on College Move-in Day

1. Ensure your utilities are set up

This seems like a given. But electricity and water don’t run themselves!

You don’t have to worry about this if you’re living in the dorms, but if you’re in an apartment and you’ll be the first one there, double check to make sure that the electric company knows you’re moving in.

If you’re taking over someone else’s place, confirm with them that the utilities are paid through your move-in date. Otherwise, you might end up living in a place that has no A/C and no running water. Yuck.

(If you have a TV, check about the cable. And make sure you know how to access the internet!)

2. Update your mailing address

package from amazon

I have sent an Amazon package to my old address and had a debit card almost shipped to a place I no longer lived. Learn from my mistakes, guys.

Make sure you have an updated address on all the important things – including your renters insurance!

Also, make sure you change your address at the official USPS website, here. FYI, when you google “change of address,” a bunch of sites appear that want you to pay them to update your address, a task you can do yourself on the USPS site — just say no!

3. Fill out a damage form

Some dorms might make you do this, but you’ll likely receive a damage form for your apartment too.

You will be tired on moving day but do not skip this!! Write down everything that is already wrong with the apartment (and take photos of existing damage with your phone) so you can make sure you get your security deposit back.

4. Do a quick clean

It’s also very tempting to skip this step, especially when the apartment looks clean and you’re tired from moving stuff. But it’s always a good idea to quickly disinfect the fridge, toilet seat, sink, etc. (We like Lysol wipes for this.)

After all, you don’t know how thorough the cleaning service (if any) was before you, and a clean place will give you peace of mind.

5. Learn the rules

parking pass permit

This applies mostly to dorms, but it also applies to some apartment complexes.

Is there a curfew? Are you allowed to have guests over? Figure this out the first day before someone asks you if they can come over and you have to awkwardly stutter.

Is there a limit on where you can park without a permit? Read everything carefully – it might save you some serious hassle. My freshman roommate and I used to walk ten minutes to park her car, only to realize several months later that she could have parked during weekends in a few spots right in front of our dorm!

If you’re in an apartment, make sure you’re allowed to set host through AirBnb/Couchsurfing, if that’s something you plan to do. Illegal subletting is no joke, and an easy way to get evicted.

6. Meet your neighbors

This is solid advice for dorms too, but I’ve always felt like dorm-dwellers are forced to be more social (common rooms, shared bathrooms, possible socials). So you need to make the effort if you’re in an apartment.

If you live in an apartment, it’s so easy to go an entire year without knowing your neighbors. (It took me three months to realize that I lived across the hall from girls I was friends with in high school)

I’m not saying you need to bring a welcome basket; a quick knock on the door will suffice. If you get a friend out of it, great, but even being acquainted with your neighbors is extremely helpful if you need to borrow stuff (we used to use our neighbor’s printer in exchange for baked goods) or need help with an emergency you can’t tackle alone.

7. (Dorm Only) Introduce yourself to the RA

Chances are you’ll have to do this anyway, but take the first day to quickly stop in and say hello.

A cool RA is a great source of advice for school-related things, but even knowing him or her can get you out of a tricky situation.

How do you handle moving day? What’s your checklist?

Would you add anything to this list? Anything you learned on moving day that you’d want to share with other students? Let us know in the comments.

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