13 College Move In Day Tips Every Student Needs To Know

This post is all about college move in day tips that every freshman should know.

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college move in day tips

Preparing for college move-in day can be SO stressful. I barely remember anything from my college move in day because the whole day was so chaotic. It’s such an exciting day but also super bittersweet to say goodbye to your family.

I did the whole moving into the dorms thing twice, so I have a ton of college move in day tips that can help you out.

Here are my top college move in tips that will make the whole day a little bit easier for everyone. By the end of this post, you’ll be totally prepared for your dorm room move in day.

This post is all about the best college move in day tips.

College Move In Day Tips & Tricks

1. Show Up Early

Moving into college is going to feel a lot better if you get everything unpacked and set up earlier in the day. Then you can just relax for the afternoon and focus on meeting people in your dorm.

I highly recommend choosing one of the earlier move-in day time slots if you can. This also leaves time for a last-minute Target run if you realize you forgot something!

2. Eat Before You Go

This seems like a silly dorm move-in day hack but trust me, you don’t want to move in to college while you’re hungry. Moving day can be such a long and stressful day. It will probably be hot outside, you’ll be moving things in and around your room, and you may be putting furniture together.

Start your first day of college off on the right foot and don’t let yourself get hangry. Grab some food before you get to your dorm.

3. Pack The Car Strategically

When you’re packing up your car for moving in to college, you’re going to want to do it strategically. Remember that the first things you load into the car are going to be the last things you can unpack.

Make sure you put everything you want to unpack first into your car last so you have easy access to them on the big day.

I would put essential stuff like tools, a door stopper, cleaning supplies, and a fan in the back so you can get to them right away.

4. Make Sure You Have All of Your Important Paperwork Handy

You’ll probably need to sign a lot of paperwork when you’re moving into your dorm for the first time. Do yourself a favor and have all the forms and documents handy ahead of time so the check-in process goes much smoother.

An easy way to do this is just have everything in a separate folder in your purse so you have access to everything all at once.

5. Coordinate With Your Roommate

Your dorm room is WAY too small to fit two families moving in at the same time. It’s honestly hard enough moving in with just one family there.

Talk to your roommate ahead of time and coordinate move in times so you’re not on top of each other the whole day.

To go along with that, make sure you respect your roommate and don’t take over the whole room if you get there first. First come, first serve is not the best approach when it comes to starting off on the right foot with someone you’re going to be living with.

6. Clean Before You Unpack

Before you start moving all of your stuff in, take a look around and see if anything needs to be cleaned. It’s so much easier to wipe down dusty desks or spot clean the carpet before all of your stuff is in the room.

Make sure you add some cleaning supplies to your college move-in day checklist. Disinfectant wipes, window cleaner, magic erasers, paper towels, and garbage bags are definitely college move-in day essentials.

[RELATED: 21 Dorm Cleaning Supplies Every College Freshman Needs]

7. Assemble Your Furniture First

Bring in your furniture first! This means your futon, ottoman, dresser, shelves, etc.

Some of those things you’ll probably need to be assembled and it’ll be way easier to do that if your room isn’t already cluttered with stuff. Once you have all of your furniture unpacked, assembled, and placed where you want it, then you can start bringing in everything else!

This leads me to my next tip…

8. Bring Tools

You’ll definitely have at least one or two things to assemble during the whole college move in day process. You also may need a toolkit for hanging up decorations.

I would recommend bringing a compact tool kit that you can just keep in your dorm room for the year. You’ll find yourself needing it at random times throughout your dorm life, trust me.

9. Only Bring The Essentials

It can be so easy to overpack for college but definitely try to only pack essentials. You definitely don’t need your entire wardrobe from home.

Remember, you can always go shopping throughout the year. If you haven’t worn/used something in the last 6 months, just leave it at home.

[RELATED: The Ultimate College Packing List]

10. Dress in Comfy Clothes

I know you want to make a good first impression and dress cute for your first day of college, but just make sure you can move around, clean, and haul things around in whatever you’re wearing.

*That being said, some colleges take ID pictures during check in rather than at freshman orientation. This will definitely affect what to wear on college move-in day!

11. Prop Open Your Door

I HIGHLY recommend keeping your door open during college move in day. Just propping your door open will give you a chance to meet so many more people. Smile and say hi to everyone who walks by!

Another practical reason to keep the door open is because dorm rooms can be HOT and you’ll want to keep the air flowing as much as possible while you’re hauling things around.

12. Keep Your Clothes on Hangers

Taking clothes on and off hangers can be such a pain and a huge time waster.

When you’re packing your clothes up at home, just leave them on the hangers and wrap them in a garbage bag. Then when you get to your dorm room on move-in day you’ll just hang them up and take the bags off! This hack seriously saves you so much time.

13. Order For Pickup at Stores

One great college move-in hack is to order stuff for pickup at a local store.

Anything big that you don’t want to pack in the car can be ordered ahead of time and picked up at your local Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, etc. You can also have things shipped to a nearby UPS or FedEx location for any stores that don’t offer pickup.

This is such a great idea to save space in your car for everything you’re bringing from home.

College Move In Day Essentials

Door Stopper

Tool Kit

Cleaning Supplies

Command Strips & Hooks


This post is all about college move in day tips & essentials.

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