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10 Tips For Moving Your Kid Into a College Dorm

Mother and daughter embrace on college move in day.

College move in day is an exciting time for students, that much is for sure. For parents, it’s more of a mix between excitement, pride, and if we’re being honest, near panic. Especially if this is the first child in your family that’s moving to college. 

In addition to the emotional cocktail, you actually have to help them get moved in. But don’t worry, college move in day isn’t something to fear. In fact, it can be something that’s enjoyed if the proper preparation is put in place ahead of time. That way, you spend more time making memories with your student rather than stressing over the little things.  

To help you conquer move in day like a seasoned college moving pro, here are 10 tips for moving into college dorms designed just for parents, like you. 

1. Try to Find Background Info First 

Before you start the packing and moving process, we recommend you figure out as much information about the dorm room as possible. That might include the size of the room, what furniture will be provided (or not) by the school, and what types of things are not allowed in the room. In many cases, the college will provide you with a list of things to bring, which is a great place to start. If you haven’t gotten this information yet, feel free to call and request it. This info will shape how you pack. 

2. Review the Rules & Regulations 

You should also review dorm rules and regulations before you start packing. The main reason, you don’t want your student to waste time packing something that they aren’t allowed to have in the building. For example, open flames are prohibited. So, be sure your student knows in advance they must leave their favorite scented candles and incense burners at home. 

3. Convince Your Student to Pack Light 

A typical teenager will almost always try to bring almost everything they own. Truthfully, they’re better off packing light. For one, dorm rooms are small. It’ll be much easier to manage moving in if they have only the essentials for now. It’ll also cost less if you’re shipping luggage, renting a vehicle, or flying with checked baggage, if they don’t pack their entire closet. 

Remind your child that certain things can be bought locally or shipped to their dorm after they arrive. So if something is forgotten or becomes an essential later, you have nothing to worry about. To get started, review our guides for packing clothes for college and deciding what to bring, buy, or leave behind. 

4. Make a Packing List of Dorm Room Essentials 

After you find what you don’t need to bring, you can work on creating a list of what you do. Be sure to pack a suitable amount of clothing, as well as clothing that’s right for the climate (students heading south won’t need as much winter clothing, for example). You will likely need toiletries as well, including shower shoes and a shower caddy. Don’t forget other essentials like towels, bedding, and plenty of dorm room storage options. Think stackable containers, racks for vertical storage, and under-the-bed storage. 

5. Bring a Dorm Room Tool Kit 

There are plenty of essentials you bring when moving into a dorm. We recommend you also bring a small and basic tool kit. You never know what kind of minor repairs might be needed, or whether you’ll need tools to assemble furniture, hang curtains, or hang decor. It’ll be helpful to have these on hand just in case. Plus, after you leave, your child can use the toolkit throughout the school year. 

6. Look Into Pre-Arrival Shipping 

It’s no secret that college move in day can be hectic if you don’t know what to expect. One surefire way to avoid moving stress is to bypass it altogether. With Collegeboxes, you can avoid moving your items into your dorm room and have them shipped instead. That way, you only need to arrive with whatever you can carry. No more dollies, moving boxes, lines for elevators, and crowded stairwells.  

7. Don’t Forget Snacks and Water 

Moving is hard work. Even if you’re not doing much heavy lifting, you’ll need your strength to make it through the day. Be sure to pack some water and energy-boosting snacks, like nuts, protein bars, and fresh fruit. That way you can stay hydrated and fueled up for the long day ahead. 

8. Prepare To Take a Step Back 

This one is tough for some parents. But if there was ever a time to take a step back as a parent and give your child some control, it’s now. Helping your child move into the dorms can be fun for parents, but it’s all about the students now. Let them make decisions about decorations and other dorm room details. Allow them to introduce themselves to other students (or not) and explore the campus how they want, rather than forcing it and potentially embarrassing anyone. This might help you, as a parent, cut the cord as well. 

9. Get Ready for College Move-In Emotions 

Avoid it all you want. You’ll be dealing with some emotions on move-in day – maybe right from the start, or later when it’s time to part ways. Be prepared to shed a tear or two either way. Keep in mind that your child probably doesn’t want to be completely embarrassed on their first day in the dorms, so try to keep it together as best you can until you’re back on the road. Now is a great time to show confidence in your college student and not overwhelm them with too much emotion. 

10. Make Use of College Storage and Shipping Services 

The best thing you can do to simplify the move-in process is get some help from professionals. Collegeboxes has been helping parents and kids move to and from schools for over 20 years! Our Ship to School service is tailor made for students moving into the dorms. Our Storage and Shipping service is perfect for students heading home for the summer and need to store some items near campus. Spend more time with your student and less time worrying about lugging boxes back and forth.  

Learn more about Collegeboxes and sign up today!