How Not to Dread the Dorm: 9 Moving Tips for College Students

Dorms are easy to dread. Not enough space. Not enough comfort. Or are they? We think moving into college should be an exciting, seamless experience and that dorms are opportunities for creating a whole new space for yourself in the world. For advice on how to approach that opportunity, check out these tips on timing, packing, and organizing tips for moving college students with ease.
Ross Sapir
By Ross Sapir
5 Min Read

Whether you're moving into a dorm for the first (congrats!) or last (also congrats!) time, prep is essential for an easy-as-possible process. Here are some tips on when, how, and what to pack for college:

College Moving Day Best Practices

1. Start Early

The earlier you start, the less you'll have to worry about when August comes to a close. Have that moment of anxiety in June, not the night before you move in, so you can turn it into productivity and make your summer more relaxed. 

2. Talk It Out

Whether it's your parents, an older sibling, or a friend who's already graduated, talk to as many people as possible about their college move-in experiences. Did they pack too much, too little, or both, and of what? Hearing about these first-hand experiences will help you a crazy amount as you get started. You might think you can fit everything from your childhood bedroom into your dorm, but trust us, and those around you, when we tell you that you can't!

3. Find Guides

There are tons of free-of-charge packing guides online that you can use. We recommend these two guides from William Peace University and the College Board. If these don't feel right for you, don't feel the need to follow them directly. Many colleges and universities send move-in guides to first-year students, so check to see if there's one lingering in your inbox. The range of guides we've offered here should tell you that there's no one true way to pack for college. Everyone's different, but these guides can be a solid foundation for sparking your own creativity. We also recommend heading to YouTube or TikTok for move-in vlogs. Some of our favorite creators include Melanie Locke and Ruby Granger

4. Visualize the Room

Speaking of creativity, don't forget posters, drawings, flags, etc. for your walls! Even if you don't know exactly how it's laid out, imagining yourself in your fully decorated new room can be great for motivation. How can you make your space your own? Move posters and flags from wall to wall in your mind, and set up a game plan for how you'd like to create the coolest, most comfortable room ever. 

5. Make Lists

There's nothing like crossing a chore off a list. Even if one of your points is "Pack toothbrush", we recommend making detailed lists so every moment of the process feels like progress. 

6. Build a Team

In the months and weeks leading up to the move, it can help to know who will be with you on the day. What might they be able to carry? Once you know who you've got, you can make more lists about who will handle what during the chaos of the day. For more advice on how to handle that chaos, check out our 9 moving day pro-tips

7. Use Labels

Even if you only have a handful of boxes, writing notes on them or creating labels can be a huge help. On the day, it can be easy to forget what you've packed where, even if you've spent a long time preparing.


Right after closing the box, mark it with a level of priority, like "H" for "High." That way, you know which boxes to be most careful with, and which to open first.

8. Keep It Clean

We admit it: dorm rooms can often be dirty when you first encounter them. We recommend bringing a small box of cleaning supplies so that, before you open boxes, you've got a totally fresh space to move into. Check out our recent post about cleaning.

9. Take It Easy

If this is your first time living away from home, it's natural to want the move to be over and done with so you can start your exciting new life. But letting go a bit and easing into the process can be extremely rewarding if you let it. Take a few moments every now and then to reflect on the hard work you've done up to this point, and the work you're excited to begin in the fall. Enjoy the process of planning your new home, and try your best not to let stress overshadow the experience. This connects back to what we were saying about the benefits of starting as early as possible! And to find the fun in moving day, check out our recent article about the power of a playlist

Before You Go:

We hope these help you get off to a solid start, and when you're moving back home from school after dorm life, give us a call! We'd love to help however we can with that process, which can be just as chaotic as move-in. And if this will be your last time moving into a dorm, keep us in mind when you're looking for your first "real" place. Reach out for a quote anytime. We're always here to support you as you begin a new chapter. If you're already close to that process, check out our range of moving services.

You're invited!

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