Starting college is an important new chapter in the lives of students. For many, it’s the first time they’ve lived away from their parents, and it represents a newfound freedom that is equal parts exciting and daunting. As a result, the last thing on many students’ minds is making sure they’re ready for move-in day.
Before you find new friends, start classes, and make those memories that will last a lifetime, you’ve got to get moved into your dorm. What do you need to bring? How should you pack and transport your items? How should you unpack and set up your dorm room?
Well, class has started, and it’s time to start taking notes—we’ve got the answers right here.
What do you need to bring?
The first step in moving into a dorm room is figuring out what you need to bring. It’s more than just a question of the essentials, though—thinking through the process will help you make your move as easy as possible.
How big is the average dorm room?
The geographic location of the college, the type of college, and the age of the dorm are all factors in how big your dorm room will be. In addition, dorm rooms tend to come in a wide variety of shapes and types. If you’ve poked around at what kinds of dorms are offered by colleges, you know that the word “suite” can denote many different types of things.
Regardless of these factors, the standard double dorm room is remarkably consistent. Most double dorms are about 12×12, or 144 square feet of floor space, and their length or width is rarely shorter than 10 feet or longer than 15 feet.
Why does this matter? When packing, you’ll need to consider that you’re packing for a small space—the size of an average American bedroom. Furthermore, if you have a roommate, you’ll need to share that space effectively.
Dorm Room Essentials
You’ll need to bring many little things to your dorm room, but the essentials can be condensed into a few core categories. These important questions to ask yourself can serve as a guideline:
- Bedding and Bath Supplies—What do you need to sleep and groom? Examples include sheets, pillows, blankets, towels, shower shoes, and soap.
- Clothing—What situations and weather do you need to prepare for? Examples include coats, dress clothes, sleeping clothes, sportswear, and casual wear.
- School Supplies—What do you need for class? Examples include pens and pencils, sticky notes, headphones, binders, planners, a computer, and scissors.
- Leisure—What do you need to relax and have fun? Examples include snacks, a television, a comfy chair, rugs, personal photos and effects, and posters.
“Be prepared” isn’t just the Boy Scouts motto or a song in The Lion King; it’s the best way to think about what you might need in your dorm room. Plus, if you get to your college and realize you overpacked, don’t worry—self storage is a quick and easy solution.
Packing and Transporting Your Belongings
As with any move, getting all your stuff packed and into your vehicle for transportation is easier said than done. Make sure your items are secure, all your moving ducks are in a row, and you’re safe with these tips.
Organize, Organize, Organize
Even Santa checks his list twice. While you may not deliver presents during Christmas, your move-in day is an important one, too. Before move-in day, create a list of items you’ll need to bring with you. Be as detailed as possible. If you’re able to, start the packing process a few days before move-in day. That will give you time to purchase something if you forgot to get it in the first place and take it with everything else.
As you’re packing, make sure you have everything labeled, too. Move-in day is stressful enough, and trying to find your computer charging cable in a forest of boxes is an unforced error you can easily avoid.
What to Use to Pack
Cardboard boxes are your best friend on move-in day. Not only can they be easily labeled and come in a variety of sizes, but they can be broken down once you’ve transported your belongings to the dorm. If you’ve got the space for it in your dorm, car, or storage unit, you can even keep those boxes around until it’s time to move out for the year or the semester, making that easier on you, too.
Boxes aren’t the only thing you can use to pack your belongings, though. If you’re bringing other things to the dorm that can hold items themselves—such as a backpack, storage bin, and the like—make sure to utilize their storage capabilities, taping close any drawers that might otherwise fly open. It’ll save you another trip.
Packing Your Car
Whether you have a tiny sedan, a lumbering van, or anything in between, you’ll need to load it up with your items. Here are a few miscellaneous tips for this stage of the process:
- Don’t impede your visibility. It may be tempting to load up your vehicle to the brim so you can’t see out the back window. Don’t; safety is important.
- Place heavy items on the bottom. If something can fall over and break other things, place it below your other items.
- Use tape to secure your boxes. Even though many of your items may not be heavy, it’s no fun to wrangle the contents of a box that spilled in the trunk.
- Use blankets to cover delicate items. This is true especially for televisions, which are big but delicate. You can buy packing supplies at many storage facilities.
College Freshmen Move-In Day Tips
You’ve packed your stuff. You’re on the road. You’ve arrived at your college and you’re bringing your items into your room. So, now what? It’s time to set up your room!
Cooperating with Your Roommate
Whether you’ve picked your roommate or were assigned one, how you get along with each other is crucial. Poor roommate relations have negative effects on happiness, fitness, grades, and more. While it’s often true that roommate compatibility is rather hit and miss—just ask anybody who has been through college their worst roommate story—there are things you can do to help things go smoothly.
When you’re moving in, consider how your belongings and their placement will impact your roommate. In such a small place, it’s quite tricky to split the room into “their half” and “your half.” So think of your roommate first, and communicate if possible. Ask permission, not forgiveness, and don’t take it personally if your roommate is hesitant about something you want to do with the room. It’s their room, too, and they’re also going through the same stresses as you.
Setting Up Your Dorm Room
There are lots of ways to set up your dorm room, but the one that’s best is the one that works for you. Regardless, here are some general tips that work for nearly everyone:
- Bunk or loft your bed. You’ve got limited floor space, and the worst thing you can do is leave both beds on the ground. Bunk them or loft them for more efficiency.
- Set up your desk for work. Your desk is one of the few flat surfaces to put stuff on and can quickly fill up. But remember: It’s primarily for school work!
- Stay flexible. Despite your best efforts, something probably won’t work out in your first configuration. Stay flexible and change things around if you need to.
Be warned; the first thing you’ll want to do is bring all your items from your car to your room to see how it looks. Resist the urge. Instead, arrange your furniture in your room like you want it first, and then bring up your items. Those desks and beds are not light.
Don’t Forget to Use Self Storage
Dorm rooms are notoriously small, and to share them with another person can be frustrating at times. While you can’t make your dorm room bigger, you can acquire more space.
Self storage is a great option for students. Month-to-month leases allow you to rent when you need to, be it until the end of the semester or during the summer. Affordable storage lockers also let you get a little extra space at a good price. Best of all, as a student, you’ll often qualify for special discounts and pricing!
Your big move-in day is exciting. Don’t let a lack of space get in the way of a moment and a day you’ll never forget. Reserve your storage unit today at one of our many locations today!