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As colleges and universities prepare for the new semester, adventure awaits! All you have to do now is get over the hump of college packing and getting everything there in one piece! But you’ll ace settling your college-bound kid into their new digs if you follow these college move-in day organization tips.
Be sure to stay focused on organized college move-in day prep. There’s a lot that goes into successfully navigating the big move, so avoid the temptation to procrastinate.
- Coordinate with roommates
Before the semester starts, if they will be sharing a dorm room, your kid’s college will connect them with their roommate. They should not only take this time to get to know each other but to map out potentially shared items like mini-fridges, microwaves, and curtains.
Some colleges will rent out a microwave/fridge combination each semester, while others require you to bring your own. If the roommate is willing, consider splitting the cost for any shared items, and certainly create an organized list of who brings what to avoid duplicates.
- Know your specific move-in date and time
College move-in day could be a logistical nightmare at some schools if all incoming students showed up at once. This is why the school will notify you of your child’s move-in schedule. While every college’s move-in process is different, many assign a specific date and time slot to unload your dorm room essentials and begin to set up, often based on dorm assignment or your last name.
Along with your move-in date and time, find out how you’ll get all those dorm items to the room. Are there any elevators? Can items be dropped off curbside? Are cars to be parked in a specific parking lot and then all items carried from there? Knowing this information beforehand helps prepare and avoid move-in day confusion.
- Make a blueprint of the dorm room
Many college dorm layouts are different, including different dorm buildings on campus. Most colleges, conveniently, have gone high-tech and offer virtual tours of each dorm room. You and your child should make use of that, and any floor plans, to draw up a rough blueprint of the space to help determine what will (and won’t) fit in. Don’t forget to find out what furniture is included in your new space while you are doing this!
- Make a dorm inventory and packing list
There are a ton of resources online for essentials to bring to college. Check out sites like CollegeBoard, Fastweb, and Pinterest for dorm inventory lists and what to pack. Use them as a guide to create one pre-move-in list that works for your particular setup.
If your family or friends are helping you plan, create a shared document online for those random moments you think to add items like a trash can or first aid kit. Google Docs is a great way to do this.
- Line up your moving help
While the entire family may want to see your kid off on college move-in day, too many people crammed into a tiny dorm isn’t the best idea. Remember that both your child and their roommate will probably be moving in at the same time, so try to limit the move in party to your child and two helpers at most.
Check with your school on their guidelines for move-in day help. Some colleges may offer student representatives to help with your big day or limit the number of adults helping in your dorm room. This is probably especially true in this post pandemic new normal.
Pack like a pro
When you search the “best way to pack for college move-in day”, you’ll find a ton of information online. Think of packing your car, truck, or minivan the game of Jenga. Everything has to fit properly with as little unused space as possible. Getting your car packed may take more than one try, so don’t wait until the morning of the move to load up.
- Only pack the essentials
It’s normal for your kid to want to bring a ton of items from their bedroom to their new dorm. But that would leave little room for them to actually get in and out of the space, let alone work in it. Pack smarter, and lighter, by choosing multi-purpose items like lamps with USB chargers and nightstands with multiple storage drawers.
- Pack in storage bins, not boxes
Storage bins will be one of your kid’s best friends during college move-in day and beyond. Instead of using cardboard boxes that will need to be broken down and disposed of, choose clear storage bins that they can keep on campus. For example, roll clothing up tightly and pack it in a lidded under-the-bed rolling storage cart.
- Only pack for the current season
Storage space will be at a premium. While your child may have an ample closet and chest of drawers, you’ll do best by having them pack for the current season only. There’s no need to pack that bulky winter parka when it’s 80 degrees on campus. Then they can switch things out over Thanksgiving break if needed.
- Make a list of things that can be bought at school
Save space in your car for must-have essentials from home. Grab things like pens, notebooks, laundry detergent, and utensils at the near to campus local supermarket or campus store. Keep a separate list for what you need to buy once you get on campus.
- Child moving far from home? Consider renting a small storage unit
Is your child’s college more than a car ride away? This can add an extra level of stress around how to transport their belongings safely. Consider renting a moving container to pack up dorm room essentials and have them shipped to their college location. Companies such as UPack and Pods offer portable storage containers, so you don’t have to navigate a moving truck across the country.
The bottom line
College move-in day will be exciting, memorable, and almost stress-free if you organize and follow a packing plan. With proper planning, you can focus on getting your child safely off to school (don’t forget the extra tissues for yourself) and they can focus on experiencing the next amazing chapter in their life.
Need help getting organized for back to school, or with any other aspect of home, office or life organization? The Just Organized by Taya team are just a message away. Why not book a free 15-minute Zoom assessment, so we can discuss just how we can help you?