College Move-In Day: 12 Things That Will Save Your Life!

College move-in day is fast approaching. The best way to prepare for move-in day is to be prepared. Of course every school has their own rules and traditions surrounding move-in day. Some schools supply you with an army of upperclassmen to help you schlep. You need to look at your particular school’s rules regarding move-in timing, parking, and what your student needs for their own dorm room.

Having said that, realizing that there is a large area of overlap, we asked thousands of experienced parents what, in retrospect, was the one essential item they felt they needed for this intense and emotional day.

Check out all our top picks for dorm shopping, grad gifts, and other gift ideas on the Grown and Flown Amazon page. 

Note: We receive small amounts of compensation from purchases made through the links in this post. 

Top 12 Things to Bring to College Move-In Day

1) Ikea Storage Bags – these bags are THE secret to move-in success. Lightweight, durable and easy to stack in the car, these bags can be used for under bed storage, can function as a laundry bag, or can be folded and ready to be packed up when you move out your kid next spring.

College move in supplies

2) Four Wheel Folding Platform Cart or a dolly were 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 smoother! 12 top items for college move-in day

3) Surge Protector – You can never have enough power in a dorm room and many do not allow extension cords. This surge protector has a 6 foot cord, 12 outlets and 2 USB ports.

surge protector

Now- The Grown and Flown book is available for pre-order (with gift until Sept 3)

grown and flown book

4) Box Fan – August is a very hot month and many dorms are not air-conditioned. Bring fans and set them up first to keep all of you a little cooler during the move-in.

12 top items for college move-in day

5) A Tool Set  that includes a screwdriver, rubber mallet, tape measure, a hammer, scissors and duct tape. Leave this behind for your student who will use it moving in and out of dorms and apartments over the next four years.

12 top items for college move-in day

6) First Aid Kit– it doesn’t have to be fancy but someone is going to need a band-aid or an over the counter analgesic like Advil/Tylenol.

Move in day supplies

7) Door Stopper -as soon as you get to your room, prop the door open and you will make your life much easier. This one comes with a holder than can be attached with velcro to the back of the door so the door stop won’t get lost under a pile of dirty clothes (theoretically.)

Move in day essentials

8) 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. Water bottles and snacks will come in handy, too. We are big fans of Hydro Flask water bottles which will keep cold drinks chilly for 24 hours… to get you through the long day of moving.

water bottle

9) Command Strips for “hanging” things on walls-they peel off easily without ruining the walls and, depending on the school or the type of walls, you may not be able to/be allowed to make holes in the walls.

command hooks

10) 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 and you’ll also need a few rolls of paper towels. Others suggested a plunger and a room deodorizer for good measure.

clorox wipes

11) Toilet paper – A roll of toilet paper-you might not need it but it could be really awkward to get caught without.

12) Paper and pen/Sharpie-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 can come in handy.

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

Finally….By far the most popular answer aside those listed above and tissues, alcohol and tranquilizers was to bring your smile, your sense of humor, and your 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 is a long day. It’s a hot day, It’s a difficult day but it’s also a tremendously exciting day. Heed the wisdom of the crowd and bring your smile and your 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, tell them you’re proud of them and assure them that you will be fine and so will they. And, then for goodness sake, go home!!

You Might Also Enjoy Reading: 

The Perfect Letter 

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

These college move in day hacks, tips, and tricks will save your life on the big day. When you're moving your teen into their first college apartment or dorm, you'll want these 12 things to make it so much easier. #college #dorm #collegelife #dormlife #moving #movinday #collegedormideas #teens #teenagers

About Helene Wingens

Helene Wingens has always been passionate about painting pictures with words. She has been writing and editing since the beginning of time. 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, BonBonBreak, Kveller, Better After 50, The Forward, Club Mid, and Grown and Flown where she is a Contributing Editor. You can visit Helene's website here

More by Helene Wingens:

What Every Mom Needs to Teach Her Son About Rape
6 Reasons Why Moms Cry When They Leave Their Kids at College
Dear Parent Freshman, You Need to Know This About Your Student
Crushing Culture of Parental Expectations
What Moms of Grown Sons Want Them to Know

Don't miss out!
Want more like this? Get updates straight to your inbox.