20 Tips For Packing Your Car And Moving To College
It’s August again, and the new school year is right around the corner. Already, college-age students are gearing up for that most exciting and chaotic of occasions: moving-in day at the dorms and college apartments.
Given the sheer bedlam of move-in day, anything that makes the process easier, safer and less stressful will be a welcome addition, for parents and students alike. Consider these 20 tips for move-in day, from packing your car to getting all that important stuff into a new — and often small — living space.
What to Pack
- According to MyCollegeGuide.org, avoid bringing furniture if you’re moving into university housing, because most schools provide the basic furniture you need. Plus, bulky furniture will just take up space you’ll need for other things. If you must bring some furniture, think beanbag chairs and small IKEA-style pieces that disassemble. Also, you likely buy whatever you might need once you get to you college town and know your living space just a little better. Moneycrashers.com offers the idea of perusing online sites like Craigslist and even browsing garage sales.
- LeHigh Valley Style tells students to focus only on essentials, as dorm rooms are cramped. Take only what you think you’ll absolutely need. Storage Squad says, “When in doubt, leave it out.”
- Many of the old standbys of college packing may not apply anymore. RealSimple.com says there are a few things that college freshman really don’t need. For example, you may not need to pack that jar of quarters for laundry, as many laundry machines on college campuses feature credit/debit card readers. Also, you might not need to bring a printer, as printing labs and wireless printing systems are common on many campuses.
- Today’s Homeowner recommends bringing a small microwave and mini-fridge. Make sure to check with your new roommate, so you don’t double up. For campus transportation, consider a bike or a skateboard. LeHigh Valley Style also suggests a desk or window fan, as most older dorms will not have air-conditioning.
- Today’s Homeowner reminds students and their parents to think about hobbies that might be continued at school — don’t forget your hiking boots, musical instruments, sporting equipment or other hobby-related gear.
- Make sure you can carry everything up the stairs, says Storage Squad. The lines for the elevators are likely to be staggeringly long, or the dorm might not have an elevator.
- Today’s Homeowner suggests space-saving solutions like collapsible/folding laundry hampers and bed risers to increase storage space under the bed. But before you make any enhancements to your bed/room, make sure they’re allowed. Also, many students will build/buy bed lofts to further increase living space and attach bedside shelves. Stackable crates are another good idea.
Loading Your Vehicle
- Per the OnStar Connections blog, consider minimizing the number of passengers who must fit in a single car making the trip. If multiple family members want to come along, take a second vehicle. And spring for pizza to thank all of your would-be helpers!
- OnStar also recommends folding down every seat you can, or remove some seats (when applicable), as it’ll be much easier to pack the car with more flat surfaces. It may also make sense to avoid large boxes and original packaging, as these are inflexible and won’t allow you to fully utilize your vehicle’s available space. Instead, use garbage bags and cloth laundry bags (because of their flexibility), and wrap breakables in towels.
- If you’ll be spending the night somewhere before moving in, OnStar recommends putting overnight essentials into a separate bag and keeping it within easy reach.
- Try to balance the car. Don’t put too much heavy stuff on the left or right, in the cab or in the trunk. Consumer Reports recommends loading heavy items first, like the microwave, TV and mini-fridge, and moving them as far forward in the cargo area as possible. You can fill the utilize the space by filling the microwave and fridge with towels or T-shirts.
- Put small items like desk supplies or an alarm clock in your wastebasket, says OnStar Connections, and leave clothes on hangers and putting them in garbage bags with a hole cut in the top. They’ll be easy to place in the car — and to hang up in the dorm-room closet.
- LeHigh Valley Style recommends avoiding weekend move-in dates, when everyone else will be moving in, too. If possible, shoot for a midweek date. Sometimes move-in dates aren’t flexible, so consider talking to the residence hall director or dorm supervisor to explore potential options. According to Storage Squad, prime time for moving in is 2 to 5 p.m. See if you can move in during the evening hours. Or, if possible, stay at a hotel in town the night before, and move in first thing in the morning.
- Bring or rent your own dolly or hand-truck, as those provided by the university may be taken with long wait times, says Storage Squad.
- Have a strategy for unloading, says LeHigh Valley Style. Since move-in dates generally happen during the summer months, make sure to unload temperature-sensitive items first. And don’t worry about decorating or arranging knickknacks until all the large items are in place and your car is empty. Then you can start making that dorm room your own!