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New College Student?: The Ultimate Move-in Guide for Your Space

Susan Ranford -- Must-know moving tips for freshmen and students as campuses reopen in the fall.

Moving into your new college dorm room can be a very exciting yet stressful process. You’re not just relocating all your things to this new space, you also have to adjust to a new life, college life!

You’ve probably thought of all the things you should be doing for this move but there might be a lot more that you could be forgetting. Don’t worry because we’re here to help you with this ultimate move-in guide for your college room space. Both freshman and other college students can use this guide before move-in day.

1. Research residence amenities

Before you make a list of the things to pack, find out what items will already be available at the dorm. Will there be a bed ready or do you have to bring your own? This is going to be a heavy item so you’ll want to consider having a mattress in a box delivered to your door days before you move in. That way, your bed is all set up and you’ll have somewhere to rest between moving items.

The bedding is an obvious need but you also need to think about other more big-ticket items such as a fridge, desk, etc. Consider the space of your room and how your roommate will feel about it. Most schools will allow you to add in extra stuff as long as it doesn’t overcrowd the room.

2. Prepare for the occasion

This is not the time to dress up. You’ll want to dress comfortably. Wear flats and lightweight clothing so you can move efficiently carrying things to your room. Have a friend or family member come with you on your first few days. This will make the move feel less intimidating as they can help you lift items that need to be brought to your room.

3. Read the guidelines

Read up on the steps you should take on moving day. This includes where to park, who to approach, how to register, where to check in, etc. Moving day will be overwhelming. Having these extra steps taken care of ahead of time will help make the transition easier.

4. Coordinate with your roommate

Your college will provide you with your roommate’s contact information. Give them a call before moving and discuss what the both of you will be bringing. For example, one of you brings a carpet while the other brings a floor lamp. This is a good idea for preventing duplicates and lightens both of your loads.

5. Pack essentials only

Your space may not be as big as the one you’re used to back home so you only want to pack the most essential items. This includes clothes, bed linens, toiletries, school supplies, medicine, household items, electronics, and documents. You can always have more stuff shipped later if you feel like you really need it.

6. Utilize storage bins

Your room will be a disorganized mess when you arrive but you can minimize the clutter by using storage bins and baskets. Avoid cardboard boxes as those take time to assemble and will likely be used once only. Meanwhile, storage bins keep your items separated and can be used throughout your whole stay.

7. Consider rentals

If buying a new fridge or extra cabinet is too expensive for you, consider renting instead. Most colleges today offer rental on common dorm room items. This way, you don’t have to make a huge purchase or make a rush decision on an appliance that you might not really need. It’s also one less thing to worry about when you decide to move out of the campus.

8. Don’t forget to personalize

You want to make your space as cozy and comfortable as possible. You’ll be spending a majority of your days here so it’s worthwhile to add some personal touches such as photos of friends and family, your favorite pillow, or a personalized mug. It’ll also help you go through days when you’re feeling homesick.

Editor's note: During this period of COVID-19, be sure to observe your college and campus social distancing guidelines while moving. If you have any questions, contact your college ahead of time.

Susan Ranford is the founder of Strategics360, which is committed to providing business and IT professional insightful tips and advice on strategic leadership.

© 2020 Susan Ranford

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The views and opinions expressed in these articles do not necessarily reflect those of College Central Network, Inc. or its affiliates. Reference to any company, organization, product, or service does not constitute endorsement by College Central Network, Inc., its affiliates or associated companies. The information provided is not intended to replace the advice or guidance of your legal, financial, or medical professional.