Going Off to College? Student Moving Tips to Ease the Stress

Going Off to College? Student Moving Tips to Ease the Stress

Two things to remember about moving to college. One: It is a temporary move and Two: You will be limited in personal space. Here are some tips to help make the move smooth and enjoyable!

The most important student moving tip is to formulate a PLAN and stick to it! You will not only save costs on moving and storage, but you will also save yourself and your family stress and strain (physical and mental).

Plan your Move

If you can visit your future dorm room or apartment prior to moving in, make a scaled floor plan so you will know at the outset how much actual space you have. If there is a communal kitchen and sitting area, find out what appliances and furniture are provided. No need to bring things that are already in place for you.

If you know who your roommates will be, contact them and compare notes so you can avoid duplication and agree on arrangements for sharing the room equitably.

Learn if the school provides moving dollies or rolling laundry bins to assist with the move. If not, consider renting any special equipment you may need. Ask if students are available (football players, perhaps) to help with the move-in.

What is Essential

Most dorms are small and don’t offer any more space than necessary. Be sure what you plan to take with you is essential. Is the dorm air-conditioned? Will you need a small fan? Are there enough electrical outlets or will an extension cord or surge protector be needed?

Resist the temptation to bring more clothes than necessary. You may have to share a dresser or wardrobe with your roommates.

It’s a good idea to pack a basic toolkit and first aid kit. A hammer, screwdrivers, and pliers can be lifesavers on move-in day and after. Duct tape and zip ties come in handy as well.  The first aid kit should contain at a minimum, disinfectant wipes or spray, bandages, sports tape, and an over-the-counter painkiller, such as ibuprofen. Don’t forget tweezers and a small pair of scissors.

Pack Efficiently

You may need to climb stairs or use an elevator to get to your dorm room, so pack efficiently to limit the number of trips. Pack little things into large ones. Use a sports duffel bag, backpack, or cloth shopping bags to carry small items and make them easier to carry. Don’t pack boxes too heavy. Your back will thank you.

Roll your clothing, rather than simply folding it. You’ll be surprised at how much more you can fit into a suitcase or box and you’ll avoid wrinkling. Remember that students only need casual, comfortable clothing, workout clothes, and a nice outfit or two.

Pack spare towels and bed linens in plastic under-bed storage bins, rather than in cardboard boxes, so you can just place them under the bed.

Pack like items together and label your boxes so you can unpack in an organized and speedy fashion.

Use old eyeglass cases to hold a cord or cable.

Use a plastic bag or shower cap over your shoes before packing them.

Pack Safely

If you are bringing any fragile items, like a framed photo, electronics, or glass, carefully wrap it separately in newsprint, plastic bags, a towel or shirt.

Ladies: place a cotton ball or pad in your cosmetic compacts to prevent them from cracking. Wrap your liquid cosmetics in plastic wrap before placing them in a zip bag for extra protection against breakage.

Wait to Buy

Hold off until after the move to buy new things you think you will need. You might be able to share costs with roommates or you may find you don’t need that special something anyway.

The Actual Move

When moving in, begin with the larger items and set them in place. You can remove the bulky packing materials right away to give you room to position your décor and pictures when you are ready.

If on the day of your move, the temperature is hot, be sure to pack any perishable items last and unload them first. Leave behind any aerosol products that can explode under heat. Pack electronic devices that may be affected by high temperatures in insulated coolers.

Relax and Enjoy the Experience

Try not to stress out by making the experience fun with friends, music, photos, and snack breaks. Move-in day is the start of your college experience this year. Make it great!


If you have concerns about moving into college housing, call Ayer Moving & Storage at 1-800-233-MOVE. If you are just beginning to plan for your move, download a copy of the Ayer Moving & Storage guide: Packing Tips from the Professional Packers at Ayer Moving & Storage.