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10 Tips for Moving into a College Dorm 

Red haired woman in Collegeboxes shirt unloading boxes from a van.

For many college students, moving into the dorms is their first experience living away from home. Whether you’re staying close to family or crossing state lines, transitioning into a dorm room is a major adjustment. And it’s an even bigger milestone!

Move-in can be stressful but knowing what to expect can help you make the most of an already chaotic day. You have to start planning ahead, because summer will be over before you know it!

While it may be your first time moving into a residence hall, at Collegeboxes, this isn’t our first rodeo. Your dorm might be small, but we’ll help you feel like you’re living large.

Plan Ahead

While enjoying your summer is at the top of your mind, try to start giving some thought to your upcoming move. You may think it’s as simple as shoving everything you own in a few suitcases, but that method will lead to a whole lot of stress.

Make sure you take note of important dates, like move-in day. Keep that in mind so you can strategize the best time to start decluttering, packing, and buying things for your big move. For anyone planning to hire moving help, you should start making accommodations about a month before.

Also take time to write down the dates for orientation and the first day of classes. Both days are equally important for incoming freshmen, so don’t let move-in day distract you from the other important events you have lined up.

Research Your Residence Hall

You will have selected your student housing long before move-in day, but it never hurts to give yourself a refresher on what you’re going to walking into. Dorms come in all sorts of different shapes, sizes, and layouts; so, you need to make sure you have all the relevant information. This will help you start building your packing list.

When it comes to residence halls, you already know you’ll be sharing a room and bathroom. But the real question is how many people you’ll be sharing with. Most dorm bathrooms will be used by at least one other person, so you’ll need a shower caddy, robe, and shower shoes.

You’ll also be in charge of bringing your own bedding and laundry supplies, so make sure you research and see what type of bed you’ll have, as well as where your nearest laundry unit is in the dorm. Make sure you consider all the amenities your residence hall has before starting your packing list!

Coordinate with Your Roommate

Unless you have special accommodations or amazing luck, you’ll probably be rooming with someone in the dorms. Having a roommate can be a blessing and a curse, but initiating communication before move-in day is a great way to divide up the list of dorm room essentials and establish some ground rules.

Some people aren’t the sharing type but try and see if your roommate would be willing to split up the list. This could include things like toilet paper, cleaning supplies, or even decorations. Obviously, décor will be a personal preference, but trying to coordinate a theme can be a great way to build some rapport, create a space you like, and save money while doing it.

Create a Checklist

So, you researched your residence hall, you contacted any potential roommates, and now you’re finally ready to pack!

Well, not quite. Before you start shoving everything you own into a box, make a list of everything you’ll need. The fact of the matter is you can’t bring everything you own to campus.

Lucky for you, we at Collegeboxes are packing experts! We have come up with the ultimate list of dorm room essentials that covers everything from toiletries to electronics. Not feeling like making your own checklist, no problem, we have a downloadable version here.

Maximize Your Space

Dorms aren’t the shoebox people paint them out to be, but they definitely don’t fit much. There are ways to maximize the space you have. This can be done by getting some under-bed organizers, storage tubs, hanging closet organizers, or even over-door shoe racks.

Essentially, if you can find ways to fit more stuff into your dorm without sacrificing floorspace, do it! You’ll thank yourself later.

Bring Some Personal Flair

Look, dorms are newer and better looking than they used to be, but they’re plain. It will definitely need some personal touches to start feeling like home. Remember, if you’re living with a roommate you will need to consider them when you put up decorations.

Personal style is one thing but try to avoid putting up anything that can make someone uncomfortable or offensive. You and your roommate don’t need to have matching themes, but at least make sure that each of you is respectful to each other’s preferences when it comes to decorating the dorm room.

Be Prepared

You never know when you’ll need a tool kit or a first aid kit, but you’ll be glad you have it when the time arises.

If you want to hang things up or make other adjustments to your dorm, a small tool kit will be incredibly helpful, but not wholly necessary.

A first aid kit, on the other hand, is a total must-have. Building your own kit is actually pretty easy, affordable, and can save you a late-night trip to the pharmacy.

Coordinate Help Ahead of Time

Whether it’s by the help of your parents or a moving company, don’t assume people will be available when you need them. You will need to coordinate help ahead of time, this makes sure that your moving help is open to assist you when you need it.

Like we mentioned before, if you are planning on hiring moving help, you should be looking to book them at least a month in advance to avoid any scheduling issues.

Avoid Last-minute Packing

This one needs no introduction. You don’t want to procrastinate on packing, it only leads to stress, forgetfulness, and a chaotic move-in day. Try your best to get your packing done a day or two before you plan to depart with, or ship, your items.

Keep an Open Mind

Moving into a residence hall can be stressful at first, but in reality, it will be an amazing opportunity to meet new people, explore the campus, and be close to where all the action is! Be open to new things, be respectful of the new people you’ll meet, and you’ll be able to make your dorm experience one to remember.

No matter where you go to school, moving into the dorms can be an intense experience. For many, it’s the first time venturing outside of their family home, while for others it is an invigorating jolt of freedom. Here at Collegeboxes, we want to help you every step of the way! We can store or ship items for students all over the United States and Canada. Wherever you need to go, we’ve got you covered.