White family of three walking into building carrying daughter's move-in stuff

3 Smart Packing Tips To Make Dorm Move-In Day Easier

Moving into your dorm is exciting, but you don't want to spend hours unpacking to realize you've brought too much. Speed up the process with these tips!

Summer has begun, which means rest and relaxation…and extremely long and exciting shopping trips to get things to deck out your new dorm room! But the thing is, you don’t want to spend four-plus hours unpacking on move-in day only to realize that you’ve overpacked. By following these quick and simple but smart tips, I ensure you’ll have an easy, speedy move-in day this fall.

1. Don’t buy what you don’t need

It’s super tempting to splurge at places like the Christmas Tree Shops and Five Below for all-new dorm room decor, but buying doubles of things you’ve already got will make move-in day your worst nightmare. I recommend going through your house and deciding what items can be brought from home and what items should stay. For example, if you have a ton of twin sheets and pillows, save a few bucks and pack a couple bed sets you already have. The same goes for anything from stationery to wall décor—go with what you have first. Then you can build upon it later if you need to. The most helpful items to bring from home are towels, bedding, and cleaning supplies because your family likely has plenty. Bringing items from home saved me about $50 in just bed and bathroom supplies alone, and could save you even more.

Related: A List of the Most Important Things to Bring to College

2. Ask yourself: Do I really need that?

Asking yourself the question, "Do I really need that?" before you finalize your packing list will save you a bunch of room and limit your stress when hauling everything into your tiny dorm room. You’ll find yourself thinking you need that sweater you haven’t worn since freshman year of high school, but do you? Are you really going to wear it? Don’t overpack on clothes; chances are you’ll be wearing leggings and sweatpants by the third week of classes anyway. If you go to school close to home, plan out what to bring depending on the seasons. If you’ll be home again for Thanksgiving break, only bring light summer and fall clothing, and plan to switch out your wardrobe once you’re home. This will make it easier when moving out in the spring too when you're looking forward to the end of the year.

3. Storage is key

Unless you have been able to tour your school’s dorms, you probably aren’t aware of the lack of space each room has. Typically, you will have a small closet, a dresser, and maybe a couple shelves. Other than that, a lot of your stuff will be stored under your bed or on the windowsill. I found it really handy to have a few cloth storage boxes because they don’t take up a lot of space and can be folded down easily when moving out. If it is easier to have all your things in one place, I highly recommend purchasing a set of plastic drawers that fit perfectly underneath a lofted dorm bed. Either of these options is great for keeping things together and for lugging stuff in and out of the room.

Related: 10 Dorm Tips to Help You Save Space and Money

Moving into your college dorm can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be pricey! By using what you already own, packing practically, and planning ahead, your move-in (and move-out) day will be a breeze, not a nightmare. Now you can just sit back, relax, and think about all the exciting things to come in your college journey!

After you get settled, the real challenge starts: roommates! Learn how to communicate effectively, resolve conflicts, and more with Our Best Advice for Life With College Roommates.

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About Christiane Townsend

Through her experience of living internationally throughout her childhood, Christiane Townsend has firsthand knowledge of other countries, cultures, and religions. A student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, she has been able to use her writing both in an academic and leisurely setting to spread cultural acceptance, awareness, and growth. Christi believes in educating others on topics such as feminism, travel, college life, and striving for excellence, which is depicted through her writing.


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