College Move-In Day: 11 Things That Will Save Your Life!

College move-in day is approaching, and the best way to prepare is to be ready. Every school has its own rules and traditions surrounding move-in day, and you will soon learn what those are. But some things are universal.

So, whether your whole family is going or just your teen is moving into a dorm or apartment, there are 11 things that thousands of experienced Grown and Flown parents told us were THE essential items they felt they needed for this intense and highly emotional day. 

Note: We are a reader-supported site and receive compensation from purchases made through the links in this post. 

Top 11 things to bring to college move-in day

1. Magna Cart Four Wheel Folding Platform Cart (Target)
moving cart

A platform cart or a dolly was mentioned repeatedly — they’re enormously helpful for getting your stuff where it needs to go. This will make college move-in day go so much more smoothly.

2. Accell Surge Protector (Amazon)

You can never have enough power in a dorm room, and many colleges do not allow extension cords. This surge protector has a 6-foot cord, 6 outlets, and 2 USB ports.

3. WOOZOO Fan (Amazon)

August can be sweltering, and many dorms are not air-conditioned. Bring a fan and set it up first to keep all of you a little cooler during the move-in. WOOZOO fans have become very popular and now come in many pretty colors and a remote control.

4. Apollo Tool Set (Amazon)

Apollo Tool Set

The most recommended tools were a screwdriver, tape measure, hammer, scissors, rubber mallet, and duct tape. Leave a set like this for your student who will use it moving in and out of dorms and apartments over the next four years…and beyond.

5. First Aid Kit (Amazon)

first aid kit

We recommend compiling your personalized kit with all the first aid and cough/cold medicines your family prefers. But if you want to be covered with the basics, getting a set this like will do the trick.

6. Wundermax Door Stopper (Amazon)

Move in day essentials

As soon as you get to the room, use one of these to prop the door open, and you will make your life much easier. This door stopper comes with a holder that can be attached with velcro to the back of the door, so the doorstop won’t get lost under a pile of dirty clothes (theoretically).

7. Water bottles and snacks

Something to drink and nibble on will be handy when you’re hot and tired.

BTW, since college students need water bottles, think about packing a new Hydro Flask water bottle that offers a wide selection of styles and sizes perfect for your students. For long days on campus, studying at the library, sports practice, bike rides, workouts, hiking, or walking to class, Hydro Flask water bottles are excellent for your teen — keeping drinks cold or hot for the whole day.

Hydro Flask

8. Command Hooks and Strips (Amazon)

command hooks

Command strips and hooks for “hanging” things on walls are very popular; they peel off easily without ruining the walls. Note: Check the “residence life” section of the college website to see if these are allowed.

9. Cleaning supplies

Fill a bucket with cleaning supplies such as Clorox wipes, trash bags, and shelf liners because you may want to wipe everything down.

clorox wipes

10. Paper and Pen/Sharpie (Amazon)

You will probably have some of this stuff with you for your student but keep a pen handy because you may need to make notes or fill out forms. A Sharpie will come in handy.

11. Change of clothing

You will invariably get hot and sweaty, so it might be nice to take a backpack with a change of clothing for everyone or at least a fresh t-shirt.

You will forget something, of course

Everyone forgets something. Whatever you’ve forgotten, don’t panic because, luckily, we live in a time when you can get anything online and get it shipped to your student.

Finally…The most popular answer, aside from those listed above and tissues, alcohol, and tranquilizers, was to bring your smile, sense of humor, and patience. Bring an overabundance of patience because you’ll need it. And follow your student’s lead — it’s not your room; it’s theirs.

You are there to help but not to dictate. College move-in day can be very long, hot, and exhausting. However difficult the day is, it’s also tremendously exciting. Heed the crowd’s wisdom and bring your smile and ability to let go, and it might just be a day you all remember fondly.

When the move-in is complete-it’s time to walk away, however cranky everyone got during the move. When you leave your child, tell them you love them, you’re proud of them, and assure them that you will be fine, and so will they.

When your teen turns 18, there are some legal forms you will want to have in place. Don’t forget to add these legal forms to your list of what should be done before you head out for campus. Click here to learn more or on this link to go directly to the forms you need. 

More Great Reading: 

17 Items to Check Off Your List Before Your Teen Leaves for College

6 Reasons Why Moms Cry When They Leave Their Kids at College

About Helene Wingens

Helene Wingens has always been passionate about painting pictures with words. She graduated from Brandeis University with a degree in psychology and three years later from Boston University School of Law with a Juris Doctor. In a year long clerkship for an appellate judge Helene honed her writing skills by drafting weekly appellate memoranda. She practiced law until she practically perfected it and after taking a brief twenty year hiatus to raise her three children she began writing a personal blog Her essays have been published in: Scary Mommy, Kveller, The Forward, and Grown and Flown where she is Managing Editor. You can visit Helene's website here

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