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How to Move Into a Dorm from Your Family Home

Moving into a Residence Hall for the first time can be a wonderful experience, but the initial move is full of pitfalls for freshmen. This article is ...

How to Move Into a Dorm from Your Family Home article provided by wikiHow. Content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons License.

Move Into a Dorm from Your Family Home

Moving into a Residence Hall for the first time can be a wonderful experience, but the initial move is full of pitfalls for freshmen. This article is for those specific pitfalls.

edit Steps

  1. 1
    Talk to your college's Housing Department about the residence hall in advance. Determine the exact size and shape of your room. If you are sharing with one or more people, what spaces are yours, and which are the common areas? Is there a kitchen? Where is the bathroom? What will you need to bring for yourself? What is already provided for you? Don't be shocked on move-in day.
  2. 2
    Read reviews for your dorm at It is really useful to know what other students think about that place.
  3. 3
    If the address is provided write to your new roommate, and see if they are willing to share large items (you won't need two stereos, or two TV sets.)
  4. 4
    Let your roommate in on any health problems you have, and what they need to do in the event of a problem (like a seizure or low blood sugar), or just warn them that when you are stressed you get the raging diarrhea. Most people will be glad to know they aren't the only one with bodily quirks, and it's a good icebreaker. Tell them where to find your familiy's phone number. If you have a medication or allergy list keep it in your purse or wallet, and tell your roomie where it is.
  5. 5
    Don't try to move everything. Chances are, you are moving from a larger living space at home, into a smaller space at college. If you have time, and room in your house, mark off an area that is the same size as your new space (not to be confused with the entire room), and fit your things in it. Don't forget the furniture that will already be provided there!
  6. 6
    Consider what kind of things you will need. Do you plan to eat in the cafeteria all the time, or do you plan eat in the dorm? Even if you plan to have a few weekly meals in the dorm, you will probably need some sort of silverware and plates (paper ones rock!). Some colleges send lists of suggested items to pack in their orientation mailings.
  7. 7
    Make a list of all the things that you will need. Keep separate lists for the things that you already have, and the things that you need to buy. Decide whether you want to buy new items beforehand [bringing the items to school with you, from home], or buy them when you get there. The things that you buy there will be a better fit to that part of the country/world, which is important if you are moving to an area that has a much different climate than your home town.
  8. 8
    Consider shipping some of your items up to campus before you get there, if you don't have enough space for one trip. Most colleges provide information on how to do this in their orientation packets.
  9. 9
    Buy a small carrier for your bathroom gear. You'll be able to find your own stuff in the communal bathroom if it's all in one place, and carry it to your room easily if you have to.
  10. 10
    Try not to use cardboard boxes, as they commonly break easily. Instead, consider using plastic Rubbermaid style totes. Your parents can take them back home and bring them when you move out.
  11. 11
    Get a small locked box for private papers, money, your's nice to have security, even if you have the nicest roommate ever.
  12. 12
    Bring your own pillows and favorite blankets. Some things HAVE to be the same. And remember you may not find a supplier of your favorite lotion or hotsauce for a while. If you can't live without it, bring a little with you.
  13. 13
    Make sure you have a month or two of refills left on any prescriptions. The campus health service is extremely busy after beginning of the year, and it may take some time for your first appointment.
  14. 14
    Ask about parking for loading and unloading. Unless your room is a palace, you probably won't need a gigantic trailer. Read your orientation packet or ask for this information.
  15. 15
    Make sure that you have checked and double-checked what to do on arrival. Do you know if you have any forms to fill in or hand in? Do you know where to pick up your key? Do you have to go to a specific place on campus first, or do you go straight to your dorm?

edit Tips

  • Ask if there will be people to help you move in on a specific day. Some colleges offer help to new students on move-in day. Ask when and where would be the best time to move.
  • If you can, bring up toiletries, supplies and non-perishable food items with you so you can save time by not having to go to the store later.
  • If you want to have more things with you than you can fit in your dorm, consider using public storage. Consider carefully if you cannot live without this stuff—is it worth the expense, or would you rather spend that monthly fee elsewhere?
  • If you have older friends or siblings who have gone to the same college before you, ask them what they brought with them.
  • Check out any website forums for your college, as there are usually older students on here who are willing to share their packing experiences.

edit Warnings

  • Ask questions in advance or you will not do a great job packing.
  • This is communal living. Having too much stuff is disrespectful to those that will be sharing your space. Don't look like a cad on the first day!
  • Don't borrow stuff from your roommates, at least not in the first month or two. You wouldn't want to break or lose something and create a rift so early in the relationship!
  • Don't park in tow away zones! Most colleges have steep fine and penalties for this offense. Spend your money on books, not fines!
  • Check any material from your college for a list of things you are not allowed to bring to the dorm. Some colleges, for example, won't allow you to use candles in the dorm as it is considered a fire hazard. There will usually be a fine to pay if you get caught with such an item.
  • Make a pact with your roommate that differences will be discussed before they become huge fights, and be ready to compromise. If something is a 9/10 of importance for them and a 3/10 for you, they get their way, and expect the same respect in return.

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