Move-in day is actually the worst. If you haven’t experienced it yet, I’m sorry I have already put a sour taste in your mouth towards it. If you have, then you know the struggle and maybe this advice will prevent you from such a hectic day in the future. After my first year, I was no expert, but I definitely figured out a few things I was doing wrong. After doing it this year for the last time, with zero tears I might add, I think I have finally earned the right to write this article for you. These are the most important tips I could offer you on move-in day:
1. Don’t move in on the first day
For some reason, the first day is always the busiest day to move in, though it isn’t required to move in that soon. I know most people are trying to get settled and used to living with their roommates before the semester begins. I completely understand the need to do this; however, I have never found it to be necessary. My dad could never get the time off so I always moved in around four days after the first day–there were maybe two other people there during check-in. If you can avoid the first day, do. It is way more stressful fighting for the elevators, waiting for people, and moving in when your other roommates are doing the same. I never felt left out or behind somehow. I’m not saying you have to wait as long as I did, but a couple days later should leave you with enough time to unpack and settle in.
2. Talk to your roommate before you move in
Communication is key in every situation, especially when you will soon be sharing a space with them. Though it can be awkward, and most are shy at first, get to know your roommate and suitemates beforehand, so that you can decide who is bringing stuff that you can all share, like a microwave or shelving. Some people want to avoid this awkward interaction, but I can assure you it is only more awkward when you are moving in and you haven’t even introduced yourselves yet. Get to know each other and your majors, it could lead to unexpected friendships.
3. Don’t bring everything you own
Sadly, your dorm is most likely much smaller than your room at home, which means everything you own is definitely not going to fit in it. Pack the essentials and items that you know you will be using every day. If you know you paint once every few months, don’t bring your easel–you likely won’t find yourself using it. If you have a lot of clothing, pack your summer clothes and ask your parents to bring your winter clothes up later when they come to visit or when you go back home one weekend. In the meantime, bring a few long sleeves, but don’t overpack.
4. Bring a tool kit
My freshman move-in day, I was clueless, like most people, and I realized a little too late that I needed a screwdriver to put together something I had brought. Luckily, my roommate had brought one and said that her dad told her she would be the only one to bring one, but he knew she would need it. Right he was. Since then, I have brought a small tool kit with the essentials each year, finding that I always wind up needing it. Even if it looks like the furniture kit came with everything you needed, you never know.
5. Don’t plan on buying everything when you get here
Often times, to lighten the load, we think about just buying some of your essentials when you get here. However, if you have moved in and gone to the store around this time, they are out of basically everything. Which will make it a lot harder to get some items you may need that day. I advise others to wait to go to the store as long as you can and buy items that you know you need before your arrival. If it’s food items, stick with the nonperishables for now. If you must go to the store, try the locations on the outskirts of Tallahassee; students often won’t go here due to how far it is from campus.
6. Bring a storage shelf for groceries
There isn’t very much as far as shelving goes, so it can quickly become disorganized in your area without extra shelving and storage. Storage carts are a great option for food items since it is easy to move around and can function as a table of sorts. No matter your preference, this will act as your pantry for your “kitchen” area and can be useful in keeping your space decluttered. Hanging shelves and shoe racks can also come in handy when you would least expect it while taking up less room in your closet.
7. Follow all instructions
The check-in process can be a little annoying considering you are dealing with the emotions of a long drive, being homesick, and a new environment with new roommates. On move-in day, the best way to ensure smoothness is simply to go with it and follow the steps as quickly and accurately as possible, even if they sound ridiculous or pointless. Also, they will hand you a yellow paper with all damages already done to the room, make sure that they really did write down all issues with the room before you move in. You do not want to get charged for damages you didn’t do.
8. Utilize your family
Besides all the lifting and trips to the car, I always ask my family to help me unpack on move-in day, both to hold them back from leaving me alone in this new place, and to make it a little easier on me later. My mom and I make the bed while my dad builds whatever strange structure I decided to bring with me that year. It calms me in some ways to have them there helping my room to come together. Often times, you could find my brother in the corner nagging about my decorating choices, but I still appreciated his presence–sort of.