8 College Move In Tips You Need To Survive

Moving into college, as a freshman or an upperclassmen, is one of the most stressful parts of the entire school year. You have to have everything packed up neatly, you have to move quickly so your stuff doesn’t get stolen, and then you need to find the room to put everything. And once your stuff is inside, it only gets harder – unpacking is kind of a nightmare. If you’re about to engage in all of this, then you definitely need these college move in tips, even if you think you don’t. If you’re anything like me, throwing things into unmarked boxes and then dragging them down the hall, you need these even more. You especially need to know this stuff if you’re flying to school or if your parents won’t be there to help you.

Regardless of your school situation, if you’re moving into a dorm this week (or soon!) I’ve got your back. Packing for school can be a really stressful time. The stress can get so big that it outshines and overwhelms the joy or excitement you may be feeling about starting this new chapter in your life. Letting some cardboard boxes be your buzzkill feels a little lame. If the thought of packing and moving your whole life feels overwhelming or like you don’t know where to start or what to do, these are eight college move in tips you need to survive.

Avoid Renting A U-Haul As Much As Possible

Okay, first of all, if you're bringing a U-Haul, you have way too much stuff. Dorm rooms are small and come with furniture, so if your boxes of clothes, accessories, and small decorative items are taking up an entire moving truck... you're going to be pretty disappointed when you get to school. Second, renting a moving van is expensive. The fee they tell you about might seem cheap, but anyone who has rented one can tell you that there are ALWAYS weird fees tagged on at the end that make the price far higher than you thought it would be. If you don't have anyone who can drive you or your parents have a small car that doesn't fit everything, then just rent a bigger car (like an SUV or van). It might end up being cheaper and easier.

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Make Space Bags Your New BFF

Clothes take up so much more space than you think they do. Instead of folding and stuffing them into plastic containers or boxes that take up a lot of space, try using space bags. You can pack all of your clothes into plastic bags with vacuum seals, suck up all the excess air, and watch your clothes shrink into compact and portable outfit waffles. It's nuts! When you get to campus, break the seal, open the bag, and your clothes will be all fresh out of the dryer fresh. When it comes to any move, you can put your clothes in a box, or you can put even MORE clothes in less boxes and upgrade your move to the big leagues. They're durable and will last you forever. Trust me, just get the weird vacuum space bags.

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Take Pictures Of Your Room Before You Move In

Make sure you document what the room looks like before you start decorating and furnishing. You don't know if your RA will attempt to corner you for damage that was done before you even got there or what your school's policy is on said damage. Take pictures of the bare space with none of your stuff in it. Take a video and do a walk through if you can swing it. Make sure the pictures are high quality so you can zoom in if needed. I didn't do this and was almost left paying for a closet that was wrecked two whole years ago. Protect yourself. Once you move your stuff in, it can be argued that your move caused the damage, so make sure you get the footage clean with no stuff in it just before you load in.

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Remember That Not Everything Needs To Be New

If you're lucky enough to have your parents pay for your college room decor, that's awesome. It wasn't even my money and I flinched when the cashier rang everything up for me before I moved in my freshman year. Larger appliances like mini fridges, microwaves, coffee makers, etc can be totally expensive. Even the cheapest versions of what you're looking for on Target or Ikea seem outlandish. If we're being real, this is probably only going to last you though a few years of college at best. So, there's no need for new fancy things. Save those splurges for your first big kid apartment. Get those appliances or other big ticket items used on Craigslist or ask around your family and friends. Something's bound to turn up. Your wallet will thank you later.

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Skip The Packing Peanuts And Bubble Wrap

So unnecessary! Your ceramic coffee mugs can get wrapped in socks. Dishes can be buffered with newspaper or magazines. Pack your fragile things in with your scarves, pajamas, and other soft things. College is expensive, so it's good to cut costs wherever you can. You're just going to throw out the peanuts and bubble wrap at the end anyway, so why not kill two birds with one stone and pack your breakables with stuff you already have ? Problem solved!

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Unpack As You Go

This is your one way ticket to getting done quickly and efficiently. You stay and unpack your things while everyone helping you move runs down and brings things up. When they're done, they can help you unpack, but this method where you split the duties among a few people gets things done a lot faster and allows your parents to take things like the spare boxes and extra suitcases home with them. Not unpacking right away leaves you with all this extra storage and nowhere to put it. Get it all done in one shot and move on with your life.

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Stay On Your Side Of The Room

Okay, seems obvious enough, but I can't tell you how many people my on my freshman move in day showed up to a totally roomie-dominated space. It's unspoken but generally known that you are to stay on your half of the room. Yes, one of you may have both closets on your side or one of you may be closer to the fridge or bathroom. Th rest of your furniture, however, is totally movable. So, don't be that person who rearranges everything just how you like it and gives your future roommate all the crappy spots for everything. Hold of on rearrnaging if you can, but you all should know that it's the general rule that whoever gets there first gets dibbs on which side they want, unless you work it out beforehand. Basically, don't be a dick. You're sharing this space with this person, so let them have their space.

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Buy Your Things At Chain Retailers For Pick Up Closer To Campus

For those of you who are going to college far from where you grew up, moving is going to be a whole lot easier when you pre-order for pick up. Most major reatilers like Bed Bath & Beyond will let you see your items in person in the store, pay for it on site, and make sure those items are available for you once you get to campus. It's going to save you a lot of space in your suitcase or car (seriously, who wants to haul a garbage can across several state lines?) and ultimately help you save time as well.

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What college move in mistakes have you made? Do you have any move in tricks we all need to hear? Let us know in the comments!

You can follow the author, Aliee Chan, on Twitter.

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