When I was moving into the dorms my freshman year, I felt like I didn't know what to bring or what I need to do even though I have two older siblings who went through this way before I did--I didn't think to ask for tips on moving in, only on how to handle class and readjusting.
By the time of my junior--and last--year in the dorms, I had college move-in locked down, but I wish I knew some things beforehand.
Sort Through Your Clothes a Week Before Packing and Throw Stuff Out
Every summer since I've started college, I would donate 2-3 bags of clothes from my wardrobe before I started packing; during packing, I would sort through my clothes again and really interrogate myself on if I really need it or not.
I tried not to pack any clothes outside of the largest suitcase we owned to help with weight and number of boxes to carry in. I wouldn't pack any heavy winter clothes, however.
I would bring those down to college during fall break, and I would bring back home all my summery clothes; vice versa for spring break.
This way, you're limiting what you have at school, which won't take up any more room in your boxes and bags during move out.
Try to Arrive to Move In Day as Early as Possible
Luckily for me, my college was only a two and a half-hour drive from my hometown. We left by 8:00 am, and we would arrive by 11:00 am and the move-in line wasn't terrible yet.
Plus, earlier in the day is more likely cooler and won't be as insufferable as moving boxes at high noon in mid-August.
There are likely fewer people there, which means there's more room inside of the buildings and halls to move things around; and if you get there before your roommate, you can cop the better bed and desk.
Don't Panic About Decor
I was so worried my freshman year that my room decor was going to look too messy since I didn't have a theme I followed like most girls and Pinterest boards have.
Getting things that didn't necessarily match, but showed my interests and personality did a lot more good for me than fulfilling an expensive aesthetic I wish I had.
I was able to make friends a lot quicker by displaying my hobbies outward instead of hiding them in a cute ottoman that will end up being covered in clothes in two weeks.
Your dorm doesn't have to look like a Pinterest board, no one will care what your room looks like as long as you don't have week old dishes piled up.
Buy One-Use Items in Your College Town
Things like hangers, trash cans, groceries, extension cords, and command hooks aren't leaving target anytime soon, so you don't have to have them bought ahead of time; they'll just take up room. Obviously, if it's something you think won't be there in a month or will be out of stock during move-in weekend or on sale, buy it, but everyday items like cleaning supplies can be bought after move-in and safe space packing.
Try To Get Your Parents Out ASAP
A dorm is a small space. When you have your parents and siblings and friends helping you unpack and organize, with your roommate and her family, it gets cramped and not a lot can happen.
When over 4 people are in there, and there are boxes and bags everywhere, it's impossible to move and get anything done since everyone is touching everything. It's also just awkward for your roommate, trust me.
It's the same small talk your dad's friends have with you about college and life, but only with your roommate's dad, and it just feels weird.
It becomes roommate bonding, but with your parents chaperoning--you can't ask the important questions till everyone's gone, like: Do you smoke or drink? Are you rushing? Are you going to bring romantic partners over?
Do you want to awkwardly cover ourselves while we change, or are we going to be adults and deal with possibly seeing the person we live with naked?
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