College Dorm Move-In FAQs

on July 6, 2017

Moving into a college dorm can be a stressful and novel experience for a first-year student. Here are answers to some of the most common questions about moving in efficiently.


When should I start planning my move-in?


Start planning your move as soon as possible. You may need time to shop for moving boxes and dorm essentials.

Figure out the schedule by working backward from the move-in date.  Then prioritize the order in which you pack your boxes into a car, so that the boxes which should be unpacked first will be unloaded last. Consider how much you’re bringing, what storage facilities you can use and how far you’re traveling.

Marking the contents on each box and labeling which items should be handled by those with more muscle helps speed up the unloading process when you arrive.


Should I over-pack or under-pack?


How much you should pack depends on the distance from home to college. If you’re moving into a dorm that’s only an hour or two away by car, then over-packing is a safe choice. You’ll be able to pack everything you might need, and you can always take unnecessary items back home if you don’t have room for them.


On the other hand, if your trip from home to college requires an airport, then under-packing isn’t a bad idea. Deciding on what’s essential and packing only those items is smarter than bringing too much and not having enough storage. It’ll also make moving out much easier down the road.


How many people should help me move in?


Two or three people, including yourself, should be all you need for a quick move-in. College dorms are notoriously compact and crowding too many people in a single room can be stressful. Although it’s unlikely you’ll be moving in at the same time as your roommate, you can be certain that other students will be moving into the same residential hall at the same time. Don’t go overboard. Bring only enough family and friends to help while not getting in each other’s way.


Should I loft my bed?


Lofting a dorm bed is a common option, and presents you with more space for a couch, desk, TV or extra storage. The change isn’t permanent, and if shimmying up and down every night becomes an issue, you only need a friend or two to help bring the bed back down.


How long should moving in take?


The task of moving all your furniture, boxes and bags into your room shouldn’t take more than an hour with enough help. Wait until after the move-in is done to begin unpacking essentials like bedding, toiletries and clothes.


However, it may take a while to feel at home in your room. Decorating with a few posters is an easy way to personalize your space, and moving furniture and other items around can create a more cohesive space. Don’t worry if you don’t feel comfortable in your new room after a few days; give it time. You have plenty of time to make your first college dorm as unique as you are.

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