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A Guide to Moving Into a College Dorm or Apartment


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This summer over 2 million students will enroll in their freshman year of college. This huge transition comes with mixed emotions and a ton of uncharted territory. Many students will be living away from home for the first time ever and may be leasing an apartment or dorm room. This can be an intimidating and overwhelming process, but it doesn’t have to be stressful. Just like many young people before you, you will also have to focus on finding a perfect place to spend your college years at! And while the decision of moving into a college dorm or apartment is up to you, you should be prepared for it! Here is a list of tips and tricks you should consider as you plan your big college move.

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Start looking on time

Even though you may think that you have all the time in the world for this search, you should start looking for a college dorm or apartment on time. If you decide to go with moving companies like Roadway Moving NYC later, you will end up with way more free time on your hands. One of the best methods to find a good place is to ask around or simply spend some time exploring online forums. A lot of students before you have been in the same situation, and there is a lot you can learn from their experience.

Roadway moving truck
Going off to college is a completely different type of excitement so you better get ready for it!

If you end up with multiple options, make sure to check them more closely. Even better is to go and visit some of them if you live close so you can narrow the choice faster. And if your friends or family members have free time, they can go with you as they can help you decide which place is more perfect for you. Always be realistic and think of your needs first. You may find a place with many qualities but not all of them could be suitable for you.

Read the fine print

You’ll want to carefully review the leasing terms of the apartment or dorm rental agreement. You’ll want to understand the hours of the facility, security measures, the rules of the building, and any prohibited items. This will ensure you don’t waste time packing things that aren’t permitted on the property and you show up at a time when you can gain entry. The agreement may also contain things like room dimensions and storage areas which will give you an idea of how much stuff your new space can accommodate. If you are not sure about certain policy terms, make sure there is an adult with you who will help you go through everything.

This is why you should go through this step before you start packing and looking for long distance moving companies. Only when you are sure that the place and its terms are suitable for you, you should proceed to the next step. Yes, moving into a college dorm may be complicated at the beginning, but it is all for the best!

Things to avoid during the first days of planning your move

Even though you are just at the beginning of this entire process, there are still some things you should try to avoid. You will feel extremely excited once you start looking for a new place but those feelings could mix up pretty fast. Some of the things you should avoid doing include:

  • Don’t rush into making decisions
  • Don’t settle in the first place you find suitable
  • Avoid accepting the place only temporarily

It is very important you have a clear head when approaching these issues. If you settle into a place with a plan to move somewhere else soon, this could create a bigger issue later. You may not be able to find something good so fast, and you will not be happy with your current one. 

mover ready to load the truck
this will probably be your first relocation, so make sure you get all the professional help you need!

Pack conservatively

Most first-time apartments are relatively small and many don’t even have closet space. Therefore, you can expect to pack minimally for your move. Before you begin packing and hauling your stuff, consider doing a deep purge. A great rule of thumb is: that if you haven’t used or worn it in the past year, it’s probably safe to throw it out or donate it. Completing this initial cleanse will lighten your load as you begin the move. If you don’t have enough experience with this, packing services NYC could be a great solution for you. Completing this initial cleanse will lighten your load as you begin the move.

Additionally, you won’t need to pack any oversized purchase items like furniture or appliances. Most dorms or college apartments typically come with these big-ticket items. You’ll just need to bring things like clothing, bed linens, and any art or decorative materials for personalizing your space. Of course, after moving into a college dorm officially, you will be able to buy some small furniture items, like coffee tables or shelves. The good thing is that, once this becomes your space, you can make it the way you want.

Use the right packing tools

It’s easy and convenient to pack using things like garbage bags or boxes that are laying around the house, but it may not be the smartest move. Instead, invest in space-conserving mechanisms like packing cubes, storage boxes, or air-tight bags. This allows you to pack more items in a smaller space and will ensure no unnecessary overflow. What you need is the exact amount of packing materials as not every store has a return policy. But even with good packing materials and tools, you will still need some skills to do it. Let’s go through more details!

moving box in front of the truck
You will be carrying a lot of important stuff with you so you will need good packing material!

Packing books and documents

You may think that packing books is the easiest thing ever, but even the smallest mistake could damage the pages. When you find suitable boxes, carefully place the books of the same category in there. For other documents, you should use folders that will keep everything protected the entire time. But be careful not to pack too many of them. Even though you may wish all the regular books for reading with you, you can pick some of them later. Don’t put too much work on yourself, but rather leave something for later. 

Clothes and beddings

Apart from the books, the next thing that may take a lot of your time is clothes and other related items. You will soon enough find yourself packing almost everything, as there will be time and place for them. Unfortunately, in most cases, you will just end up with an extra pile of clothes that will take up your space. Instead, what you need is a comprehensive packing guide to keep you on track. Begin with packing your clothes and bedding slowly but effectively. You are moving to another place and chances are big you will treat yourself there with some new pieces as well. Always leave room for future events, whatever you do. 

Remember to check the weather conditions of the place you will be soon calling your second home. If the climate is different than those in your area there is a chance you won’t be needing some clothes items. For those who are not moving far from home, this process will be much easier.

woman laughing while playing with her dog
Check the dorm’s policy first before packing and taking your pets with you!

Electronic devices

You will probably want all your electronic devices to be close to you all the time. This includes laptops, chargers, phones, etc. Make sure you use proper packaging for them, like special bags or suitcases. Smaller parts are very easy to leave behind so you need to be extra careful with them. The best thing you can do is make sure every device has a full battery the night before so that everything could be packed before leaving. If you wish to carry some larger items like a TV or certain consoles you may need to pack them more carefully. Movers are always the answer if you are not sure how to do it. It will save you a lot of time and you will not have to pay for repairs if you damage some of them.

Packing materials that should be used

If you ask some residential moving companies for help or advice, they will tell you that proper packing material is extremely important. You can always go for regular moving bags that could be suitable for clothes and other lighter items. Your books will be the safest in the boxes alongside medium-sized boxes for decorative items or learning tools. You need your items to be safe from the moment you pack them till the moment they arrive in your new college dorm or apartment. To achieve that you will need:

  • Moving boxes in different sizes
  • Moving bags
  • Wrapping paper or bubble wrap
  • Tape 
  • Markers for labeling
Roadway movers unloading a truck
Be careful with the inventory as college dorms are usually small!

The importance of labeling your boxes

Although heading to college is exciting, you can’t rush through the packing process. It can be tempting to throw things in random boxes and load up quickly, but you’ll regret this later. Instead, make sure to pack things in a logical way. This is where labeling steps in. It may sound like too much work to do without some notable result, but it will make unpacking so much easier. Once moving into a college dorm is over you will know exactly where to place your items.

Consider hiring a moving company

If you’re not comfortable lugging your belongings up several flights of stairs in the summer heat, you might consider enlisting the help of a local moving company. Most moving companies will offer student moving packages to meet your specific needs. Moving services can be hired relatively cheaply and do all the heavy lifting for you. Apart from that, you will have much more time to explore your new area and get used to it. After all, this move will change your life, so you should start embracing it right away.

Distance plays a significant role when moving and you should not underestimate it. Moving companies operate in many areas and you should look for the one that is near you. For those who are in the area, Long Island City movers could be the best choice. They will be able to deal with the traffic jam much better than you, and there will be no risk of being late.

girl packing her items before moving into college dorm
Since packing can sometimes be difficult, ask movers to help you with it!

Get to know important locations in the area on time

If you never had a chance to spend some time in the area before, you must get some basic information on time. This includes buildings of huge importance that you may need such as police stations, post offices, hospitals, supermarkets, etc. Keep in mind that this place will be your new home and you should always feel comfortable. There could be some situations that you are not used to, but will soon enough find their place in your habits list.

Most dorms or apartments on a college campus will have a lot of machines that require quarters or other loose change. Things like vending machines, laundry facilities, and games or activities in the student union will call for exact change. You’ll want to be prepared for this and plan accordingly. Speaking of your budget, you will soon have to rationally maintain it. But don’t worry too much, this is a normal process and you will get used to it soon. 

Things you mustn’t forget to bring from home

You may easily find yourself in a situation where you finished unpacking and setting everything up, but there are some things missing. The more there are, the more money you will have to spend as most of them are necessary when moving into a college dorm. None of them is too complicated to pack and all small apartment moves NYC can deal with them pretty easily.

Bring Shower Equipment

A lot of dormitories or older apartment complexes have communal bathroom spaces. This can be an adjustment for people not expecting this type of setup. You’ll want to pack shower shoes, purchase a shower caddy, and invest in a bathrobe for your new dorm. This will ensure you can maintain your privacy and hygiene in this unique setting.

moving box next to the painting
Be careful when packing and wrapping delicate or valuable items!

You will need clothes hangers and laundry baskets

To avoid creating a mess after the first week in your dorm, you will need some clothes hangers and laundry baskets. Even though they are cheap and easy to find in almost every bigger shop, it is better if you bring them from home. You can use a laundry basket for stuffing it with some items like towels or similar things. 


One thing that you are most likely to forget is your collection of pillows. They always seem to be around and are usually left behind. Of course, you can get the new ones at every corner but you will feel much more comfortable having your own. The best way to avoid forgetting them is to pack them right away.

Hold off on shopping after moving into a college dorm

It can be tempting to run to the store and grab things you think you’ll need for your new space. However, it’s best to hold off until you’ve surveyed your new home for the first time. You might be surprised by some of the items that already come equipped with your new pad. Plus, you and your new roommate can make a shopping list together, split the costs, and have fun making a shopping trip together. Just bring all the essentials from home and wait for the perfect time to go for your first shopping in the new area!

Request student discounts

When you are ready to hit the shops, don’t be shy about asking for a student discount. You can save a host of money with this little trick as most grocery stores and restaurants offer small discounts to new students. You’ll likely be asked for your student ID, which shouldn’t be a problem once school gets rolling. It may take some time for you to get used to it, but as soon as you realize how many benefits you will get, you will start practicing it more. If you are in New York City you will be surprised how many clothing brands offer this type of discount as well.

New York City at night
If you are moving to a bigger place, you will have to change some of your habits!

Bonding with your roommate

Apart from all these relocation tasks, there are many others you will have to face. Moving into a college dorm means you will soon be living with another student and you should equally prepare for that as well. Once you meet your new roommate both of you should agree on establishing some rules. By respecting them you will respect each other and living together will prove to be a wonderful experience. If you ever encounter some disagreements, it is best you resolve them on time. both of you will feel much better and there may never happen again.

It is very important you work on this relationship right at the start, as it is one of the best ways to beat the moving blues. Both of you are in a new place and there are many challenges in front of you, so why not deal with them together? 

Changing your habits after moving into a college dorm

By changing your place of living, you will also have to change some other things. Not all of your old habits will continue to be a part of your life and that is completely normal. Instead of them, there will be some new and better ones that will be a sign of maturity. But balance is always good and you must make sure it exists. Even though you are in a new place and surrounded by new people, always keep on being yourself. Too much change is not always good and you may not like it at all.

for those who are coming from smaller places, there could be some cultural shocks at first. As colleges are mostly established in bigger cities, there will be some new challenges around you. Bigger streets mean more people and more people are definitely noisier. Even if your college dorm or apartment is in a crowded area, try to keep your sleeping schedule as it used to be. Being rested and having enough sleep will make you more energetic and that is exactly what you need. 

Other benefits of moving into a college dorm

Even if this entire process may take a while and you encounter some difficulties along the way, it is a special one. Your entire time of being in college will result in a better life and countless stories to tell for the rest of your life. There is nothing that should prevent you from enjoying it from the start and you should always keep that in mind. Apart from the most obvious one which is proper education and a good job later, there are many other things you will remember those years for.

The chance of making new friendships that will last forever is irreplaceable. With that, there is always at least one new experience a day, which will form your life decisions later. 

sign above the metro entrance in New York
If you are going to be moving into a college dorm in New York, you will come across many good moving companies that can help you!

The bottom line on moving into a college dorm

After just a little bit of preparation and with a good plan, you will be ready for moving into a college dorm. Make sure to have someone with you to help you with the paperwork and your items, as you may find it too stressful to do everything on your own. When the time for moving comes, if you need a company that covers a bigger area, moving companies Queens will be the best choice. As soon as you make an agreement with them provide all the details about your relocation. In case you don’t understand some points of it, movers will gladly go through them with you. 

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