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College Dorm Move-In FAQs

two people moving containers with personal belongings


Moving into a college dorm can be a daunting but exciting experience for a first-year student. Here are answers to some of the most common questions about moving in efficiently.

When should I start planning my move-in?

Start planning your move as soon as possible. You may need time to shop for moving boxes and dorm essentials. First, figure out the schedule by working backward from the move-in date. Consider how much you’re bringing, what storage facilities you can use and how far you’re traveling. Marking the contents on each box and labeling heavy items helps speed up the unloading process when you arrive.

How much should I pack?

How much you should pack depends on the distance from home to your college or university. If you’re moving into a dorm that’s only an hour or two away, then over-packing is a safe choice. You’ll be able to pack everything you might need, and you can always take unnecessary items back home if you don’t have room for them.

On the other hand, if your trip from home to school requires an airport, then under-packing isn’t a bad idea. Deciding what’s essential and packing only those items is smarter than bringing too much and not having enough storage. It’ll also make moving out easier down the road.

How many people should help me move in?

Two or three people, including yourself, should be all you need for a quick move-in. College dorms are notoriously compact and crowding too many people in a single room can be stressful. Although it’s unlikely that you’ll move at the same time as your roommate, you can be certain that other students will be moving into the same residential hall at the same time. Bring enough family and friends to help.

Should I loft my bed?

Lofting a dorm bed is a common option and presents you with more space for a couch, desk, TV or extra storage. The change isn’t permanent and if shimmying up and down every night becomes an issue, you only need a friend or two to help bring the bed back down.

How long should moving in take?

The task of moving all your furniture, boxes and bags into your room shouldn’t take more than a few hours with enough help. It may take a while to feel at home in your room, this is normal. Decorating with a few posters is an easy way to personalize your space and moving furniture and other items around can create a cohesive space. Don’t worry if you don’t feel comfortable in your new room after a few days; give it time. You have plenty of time to make your dorm as unique as you are.

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