Summer’s over, everybody, and now it’s time for the most exciting and stressful part of the year—that’s right, college move-in! This is a day to really personalize your dorm and have it look Instagram perfect for about a week, as well as introduce yourself to your roommate(s). I’m sitting down to write this blog only a few hours after I’ve settled in at Loyola University New Orleans because I know that a lot of students are moving in this week. Here are some tips to help make moving day as easy as possible, from a girl who knows what you should and shouldn’t do!
1. Use space-efficient containers
A lot of people just throw their belongings into a bunch of boxes—I know I did—but those can be difficult to transport. Instead, think of how you can effectively use your space. Store clothes in your laundry hamper, and put small miscellaneous objects in your trash can. The space saver bags, which can have the air vacuumed out of them, are great for holding clothes and bedding. Bringing all those cardboard boxes means you also must get rid of those boxes after you unpack, which can be wasteful.
2. Be realistic
When I packed, I brought about 12 pairs of shoes, but it didn’t take long into my unpacking to realize I didn’t need (or have space for!) two pairs of black sneakers and five pairs of heels. I ended up sending my parents home with almost half the shoes I packed as well as a few other items. When you’re unpacking, if you realize that you probably won’t be using something, send it home. Dorms don’t have a lot of excess space, so you can’t really store items “just in case.”
3. Rearrange the room
Sometimes your dorm room will be set up in a way so that everything fits inside. However, it won’t be in a very effective manner—more like a Tetris of furniture. Most campuses allow furniture to be moved around in order to take advantage of the limited space you have, though you should always check the rules of your residence hall. You may also be able to loft your bed in order to maximize your storage space under the bed, or even put your desk or sitting area underneath.
4. Organize as you unpack
As you start to take things out of your bags, put them where you think they should go. This will be easier with things such as shoes and clothes, which have pre-determined spots, but it’s important to do this with everything. That way you’ll avoid having a pile of mixed-together junk on your desk while you frantically try to figure out what drawer you said was for work-out supplies versus bathroom necessities. As someone who didn’t sort it out at first, trust me, it is not worth the stress.
5. Share supplies
You’ve heard this since kindergarten—“sharing is caring.” Bringing two or three big containers of bleach or dish soap just takes up a lot of unnecessary space, whereas being willing to share those things sets up a strong foundation between you and your roommate(s) and saves space. Try creating a roommate agreement to figure out all this stuff at the beginning of the semester and set expectations for the rest of the school year.
6. Wait to buy some stuff
It might be tempting to buy everything for your dorm before you get to campus, but there are a couple reasons you may want to wait. First, if it’s something that’s more expensive and everyone uses (like a rug), it might be best for you and your roommate(s) to buy something that you both like so you can split the cost. Second, if it’s something you don’t think you’ll need right away, it might be best to wait and evaluate if you need it at all. Half the time, you’ll realize you won’t use it, or your roommate(s) brought one with the expectation that everyone will use it.
I am by no means Marie Kondo, so I can’t say my advice is 100% fool-proof, but these are just some tricks I learned to help you out. Most importantly, have fun and get ready for an amazing year at college!
Find more dorm room advice in our Student Life section.