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This post is all about college move-in day.

college move in day tips

College move-in day is SCARY.

I remember thinking about it and instantly becoming so nervous. I was excited but not knowing what was about to happen had my nerves all out of whack.

Looking back, it was SO not worth stressing over.

We’re going to break down exactly what college move-in day is like, the best tips you need to know, and the best outfit ideas for moving in.

What Really Happens on College Move-In Day:

College Move In Day! It’s a big day, regardless of how you feel about the entire thing. And even if you are super excited for this new beginning, the move in day process is hectic and can be super stressful. 

But fear not, my job — and the reason for this post — is to take away the stress and help you get everything done so that you can begin adjusting to this new phase of life. And if you follow this post, it can actually be a lot of fun! 

Move in Day is WORK folks, even if you factor in the convenience and cost of three men and a truck – that’s the biggest thing that you have to come to terms with, it’s all fun and games. Those come later, I promise! 

Also, be prepared to not get everything done in one day! Even though the room is small, it still takes time for you to move everything in. So on the actual college move in day, focus on getting the big pieces moved in, and getting all the help from your parents that you need. 

All in all, move in day is a DAY of emotions, work, and starting a new chapter. It will be overwhelming at times but buckle up boss babe, college is overwhelming. But… college is also the best four years of your life, and I’m here for when the going gets rough and you need some advice!

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College Move-In Day Tips:

1. Wear Good Shoes

We recommend these shoes for two reasons…1) they’re comfy (wear them a few times before though, they take some breaking in) and 2) this is one of the most popular going out shoes so you can multitask them. EVERYONE has them at University of Wisconsin-Madison. They’re meant to get dirty so move-in day is a good time to do this! 

You will be walking up stairs, carrying things, hanging things, moving heavy furniture, the list goes on! And the last thing you want is to drop something on your foot and injure it when there is SO much to be done and a new chapter is about to begin. So wear tennis shoes, trust me. 

2. Do Not Dress To Impress  (Well…Kinda)

college dorm decor

Dress to Work!!! I get asked ALL the time what to wear to move-in day and I like to take on a comfortable-cute look. Obvi you’ve put effort in, but you still want to look effortlessly cool ;). I’ve included 5 outfit ideas down below! 

And second, college move in day is WERK hunny, like serious work. So you need to wear clothes that are able to move around with you. 

3. Pack And Label All Boxes BEFORE Move In! 

college move in day

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This is a move in day tip that happens before move in day but will save your life on your college move in day! 

Packing everything in terms of “bedding”, “toiletries” “utensils” etc, makes everything so much easier. It allows you to tackle one area of the dorm at a time! Totally a life saver and a college move in day tip that you’ll be SO glad to know! 

And LABEL THE BOXES once they’re packed so that way you know what is in what and you save even more time on move in day! I have seen people use cardboard boxes, but I’ve actually used plastic containers every year. Both work but the plastic ones are easier to reuse!

{RELATED POST:​ 40 Genius Dorm Essentials Every Freshman Needs To See}
4. Bring Your Own Dolly 

college move in day checklist

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My dad is the one who thought of this on my college move in day and tbh I’m still thanking him for it! 

Bring some sort of dolly or roller thing on college move in day, I promise that it will be put to good use! it allows you to carry more with ease, which saves time which is the goal of move in day: a quick and easy, stress-free process!

5. Furniture First

So you’ve checked in, gotten your key to work, and now you’re ready to brng everything in an d start making this shoe box your home for the next year. How exciting! But, where do you start first? 

With furniture! I’m talking futons, dressers, ottomans, you get it! Bring those in and get them placed before you start moving in the smaller or more flexible times like clothes or blankets. Basically, moving in your furniture first makes everything that follows easier, so why not do it?

6. Bring A Tool Kit

I’ve mentioned a tool kit in a previous “what to get graduates for graduation” post, and this is why!

A tool kit will be SO needed throughout the entire move in day process. For hanging things, assembling things, for everything really. So bring that one your aunt and uncle got your for graduation, and start thanking them because it will be your BEST FRIEND on college move in day!

Also, it’s just good to have one of these in general. You’ll need it for the most random things.

7. Make a List of Things You Can Buy There 

Everything that you have to bring from home for college move in day will take up so much space in however many cars and trailers that you’re bringing. 

Space is going to be cramped, so make a list of things you can go buy at Walmart or Target in your new town when you’re all moved in! This not only saves space but allows you to get to know your new store right off of the bat! 

{RELATED POST: 68 Best College Care Package Ideas All Students Will Love}
8. Bring Snacks and Water!

College move in day is a GRUELING process. So make sure to bring some fuel for breaks throughout it! 

Get a good breakfast, and tons of sleep the night before. Then bring waters and fruit or quick snacks so that you can energize while keeping up with the process! 

9. Bag Hanging Clothes in Trash Bags

Hanging clothes can be a dread to move anywhere, but especially on college move in day because the odds are that you have to climb tons of stairs or go in an elevator to get to your actual dorm room. 

This college move in day tip helps to solve that problem. Gather hanging clothes and bundle them in in trash bags, the hangers stick out so it’s easy to grab, but it keeps your hanging clothes from falling everywhere when you transport them up to your dorm. How genius is that?  

10. Move In on the Same Day as Your Roommate 

college move in day

This might seem like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised at how many people do not think of this. 

Some times special majors or programs allow you to move in on days ealier than your otherwise designated time. Maybe that’s you, or maybe thats your roommate. If it is, move in all the big pieces and anything that you can with her and then just use your day to check in and get to organizing!

11. Leave Your Door Open! 

You’re going to want to do this the first week of school anyway, so start on college move in day! 

Not only does this make you seem more friendly, but it also gives your parents some closure that you’re off to a good start making some friends. Which brings me to . . . 

12. Let Them Help You 

By “them”, I mean your parents. Let them help you and be there during this process because this is just as daunting and stressful for them. And all they want to to do is ensure that you’re setting yourself up for success in this new chapter of your life. Make it easier on you and them by letting them help! You won’t regret it later on. 

Also, say a really good goodbye. I didn’t my freshman year, and I still regret it!! 

College Move-In Day Outfits:

1. Nike Shorts, T-Shirt, And Tennis Shoes 


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14. Casual Shorts and Jean Jacket


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(literally wearing this jean jacket right now and it’s the BEST. It’s also really cheap and perfect for going out)

15. Casual Workout Style Outfit


16. Pleated Tennis Skirt


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17. Tshirt Dress and Sneakers 


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This post was all about college move-in day.

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  1. First of all we love following you!! We are in the process of getting stuff for our daughters dorm and the one question we have is, “ what is the best dorm room layout?” We have looked and looked to find a blog or post about this and nothing seems to pop up. Also, what about the best dorm room Closet set up. She will have the sunken in wall space. No door on it.

    1. Hi! Ah, so this is really personal preference! I always had my bunk lofted so I could fit things under it. Freshman year I had my futon under my bed and sophomore year I had my desk! Some people hate this though because you would have to climb up into your bed (freshman year my head was so close to the ceiling I couldn’t even sit up all the way). I would recommend either lofting both the beds or having them a little higher than a normal bed so you can fit some storage stuff under it!

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