Moving to college is one of a young person’s most exciting and stressful experiences. In addition to leaving your friends and the safety of your parent’s home, you are branching out, meeting new people, and living on your own in a dorm room or apartment! Creating a packing list and purchasing everything you need to make your dorm or apartment feel like home doesn’t need to be a chore. Instead, here is the ultimate college packing list and checklist for anyone moving to college – whether you are moving across town or across the entire country:
Leaving the Nest: Are You Moving to a Dorm Room or Your First Apartment?
First and foremost, understand that your preparation and packing list will look much different if you are moving into a small dorm room or your first college apartment. One of the most significant differences is the square footage. The average college dorm room is roughly 12-by-19 feet. Most colleges supply the basic furniture you will require: including a bed, a dresser, and in many cases, a desk and chair.
Conversely, if you are moving to an unfurnished apartment, you must purchase everything required to live independently in the space – including furniture. However, if you are moving into a furnished apartment, most of the basic furniture is once again supplied. For example, depending on the apartment complex, this could include a bed, couch, dresser, and various accent furniture pieces.
Always tour the apartment or dorm room before moving in. This will give you a better idea of not only the dimensions of the space but also what you will need to live your everyday life comfortably. Whether you are moving to Los Angeles, moving to the Bay Area, or moving to Seattle – contact the professionals at the Denver Moving Group for all your long-distance moving needs.
Dorm Room Essentials For Every College Student
Freshman year is fast approaching, and you must start purchasing everything you will need to live in your new dorm for an entire school year! Here is a complete college packing list for anyone moving into a college dorm:
- Small refrigerator or “mini fridge.”
- First aid kit
- Alarm clock
- Bedding and extra blanket
- Bath towels
- Adhesive hooks
- Mattress pad
- Shower caddy, shampoo, conditioner, shower shoes or flip flops, and body wash
- Trash can
- Desk chair
- Basic cleaning supplies – including laundry supplies, such as soap and dryer sheets
- Clothes hangers
- Dining basics – including plastic cutlery, paper towels, and paper plates
Check with the university’s residence hall about the mattress size provided. Many colleges have twin XL mattresses, which can accommodate students of almost every height. Don’t worry because most major retailers carry twin XL bedding that will fit the style and budget of nearly all college students!
Cleaning and Kitchen Supplies: A College Apartment Checklist
In addition to all the above-mentioned essentials, if you are moving into your first off-campus apartment, you will be expected to supply other items that would otherwise typically be provided by the university. Remember, unless you have a meal plan through the university, you will be charged with cooking all your meals, keeping your room and the common spaces clean, and providing your own toiletries and cleaning supplies.
A great way to ensure you have everything you will need is to consider each room in the apartment. Start with kitchen stuff. You will need at least one sturdy cooking pot and one pan, cooking utensils, extension cords, plates, bowls, eating utensils, food storage, a colander, a coffee maker, a microwave, and other miscellaneous items.
Purchase everything you will need for your bedroom and bathroom, as well. For example, pick up a full-length mirror, toilet paper, multiple trash cans, a floor lamp, a shower curtain, hand soap, a plunger, a shower mat, and a toilet brush. Many apartments allow pets, so double-check and start packing everything your furry friends will need to be comfortable. For example, you will need a cat food and water dish, a litter box, litter, a scoop, and cat toys for a cat.
Pantry Basics: Creating Quick and Healthy Meals
Finding time to stay healthy between classes, new friends, and your part-time job is tricky. Filling your pantry with healthy snacks and easy-to-prepare meals is critical. Here are a few things you need in your pantry to prepare quick, nutritious meals that will keep fueling your mind and body:
- Dry goods. Pasta, white rice, and oats are the perfect starter for many healthy meals.
- Canned goods. Pasta sauce, beans, diced tomatoes, and soups are also essentials.
- Spices. Salt, pepper, cinnamon, and dried basil are great additions to any simple recipe.
Pack the fridge with all the basics your kids need to make simple meals, including milk, eggs, and cheese. Taking a cooking class or asking your parents to teach you some basic recipes will create a good foundation.
Creating a Budget: Surviving the First Year in Your New Apartment
Creating and sticking to a budget is one of the most exciting and downright stressful aspects of living independently, particularly in an apartment. It is possible to save money while still enjoying the typical college experience. Include these basics in your monthly budget.
- Cable and internet – including streaming services
- Parking and other extras.
The cost of living in different states and cities will differ, so you must budget accordingly. For example, suppose you are moving to Austin to attend the University of Texas. In that case, your rent and utilities might be higher than if you were to move to Madison to attend the University of Wisconsin.
Start With the Basics: Gather the Necessary Packing Supplies
Move-in day is fast approaching. You’ve purchased all the basics you need to be comfortable in your dorm room or apartment – and now it’s time to pack! Every good college moving checklist must include a wide array of packing supplies to ensure you get to your new living space without breaking a single plate or any decor items.
Purchase all the must-haves before you begin packing, including:
- Packing tape
- Boxes of all sizes – including small boxes and medium boxes
- Wardrobe boxes
- TV box
- Packing peanuts or bubble wrap
- Mattress bag
Stay organized throughout the move by following a few more tips. For example, create a simple moving binder. In addition to housing the moving contract and list of important dates, you can keep track of which rooms you have packed, lists of possible donation drop-off sites, and important names and phone numbers you will need in college – including your utility and phone providers.
Don’t Forget to Pack School Supplies
Like any other classroom environment, you will require various school supplies in college. Purchasing the basics at your college bookstore can be expensive, so instead, buy what you need with your parents at the local big box store and load the items on the moving truck! Here is a list of supply must-haves that every first-year college student will need:
- College ruled paper
- Sticky notes
- Note cards
- Printer and paper
- Wireless earbuds
A quality laptop is a must for modern college students and should be at the top of your college checklist. Remember other degree-specific supplies. For example, if you are majoring in engineering, you will need an engineering or scientific graphing calculator.
Packing Your Important Documents
Whether your parents are down the road or across the country, as a young adult entering their first year of college, there are times you will need access to sensitive, important files – including your birth certificate, social security card, medical records, health and vehicle insurance information, and bank details.
Pack these essential files in a separate small box. Label the box accordingly and keep it with you during the relocation instead of putting the box on the moving truck. Keep this information in a safe place, and do not allow your roommates or anyone who enters your apartment or dorm room access to these files.
Creating the Dorm Room of Your Dream: Purchasing Must-Have Door Decor Items
Living under your parent’s roof meant living by their rules, including how to decorate your room. Now that you are in college, you have the freedom to truly express yourself, which means it is time to start purchasing decorative items to make your room stand out. Here are a few essentials that any college student needs to create a space that will be both expressive and comfortable:
- A throw rug
- Wall art or posters
- Laundry hamper
- Storage bins
- String lights
- Throw pillows
Check the rules and regulations of both the college and the apartment complex before decorating the space. For example, you will probably need to purchase adhesive hooks or strips to hang decorative items rather than driving nails or screws into the walls.
Tips for Saving Money While Creating a Functional and Fun Dorm Room
In addition to apprehension and excitement, there is one trait that most first-time college students have in common: They are broke! Luckily, you don’t need to spend a small fortune to make your college dorm room or first apartment look fantastic. For example, instead of heading to a department store, hit up your local thrift stores and look for bargains on several decorative items, from bedding to throw blankets and artwork.
Start shopping months in advance rather than waiting until a few days or weeks before the beginning of the semester. Most department stores and big box retailers have clearance sales on dorm room essentials and decorative items in the spring. Fake plants can add some much-needed color to your room; typically, you can purchase a quality fake plant for a few dollars.
The Ultimate College Packing List: Dressing for the Seasons and Dorm Life
Unfortunately, whether you live in a diminutive dorm room or a small off-campus apartment, you will probably struggle with very inadequate storage space. This means that while planning your college move, you need to pack your clothing and seasonal items strategically. Consider where you are moving and pack accordingly for your needs throughout the year.
For example, if you are moving to a college weather climate, don’t forget to pack your snow boots, coat, hat, and gloves. Conversely, if you are moving to California, Hawaii, or other states that enjoy sunshine most of the year, you must pack clothing that will allow you to remain comfortable while running back and forth from class.
Whether you need to pack a wardrobe for all four seasons or get away with shorts and a t-shirt all year long, you must find clever ways to store your clothing. One creative solution is to utilize the vertical space in the room. Purchase storage cubes or plastic bins and stack them, allowing you to store a lot of clothing without taking up too much floor space. Many college students purchase loft kits, which raise the bed a few inches or feet off the floor. This provides you with much more floor space, which is excellent for storage.
Stick to the Necessities: Leave These Items At Home If You are Moving to the Dorms
Once again, storage space will be very limited, and many first-time college students make the mistake of overpacking. Instead of cluttering your small apartment or dorm room with unnecessary items, leave the unnecessary stuff in storage or in your parent’s home, including:
- Extra sheets and blankets. Only pack one or two sets of sheets and no more than two extra blankets.
- Ironing board.
- A futon. Many college students rave about having a futon, but in most cases, you won’t have an extra floor room if you live in a dorm.
- Candles or incense. Most dorms forbid using incense and candles, as they are a fire hazard.
- Your personal library. Use the college library or your computer for research and leisure reading materials.
- Expensive jewelry or clothing
- A vacuum. Most dormitories supply vacuums or carpet-cleaning supplies.
It is vital to check with the college or university and determine what you can and cannot move to your room. For example, if you cannot function without your morning cup of coffee, check if coffee makers are allowed.
Getting Ready for Moving Day
Moving day is fast approaching, and the anticipation is starting to build! The college will provide you with a dorm move-in date, typically one week to a few days before the semester begins. Use this as a guide to move in and hire Denver movers. There are several similarities between moving into a dorm and moving into your first apartment.
For example, ensure all your boxes are clearly marked and on the first floor of your parent’s home. This will ensure the movers can quickly load your boxes and furniture onto the moving trucks—double and triple-check to ensure you have everything you need. Remember, creating a moving checklist is the best way to stay on-task and ensure you don’t leave behind any essentials.
Start Packing at Least Three to Four Weeks Before the Move-In Date
The last few days and weeks before college are a whirlwind. Between saying goodbye to high school friends and your close family members, don’t be surprised if you don’t have a free moment before leaving for college. As a rule, start packing for college at least three to four weeks before your moving date. This will ensure you have plenty of time to pack and that you also purchase everything you need to make your new living space comfortable and functional.
Secure all the materials on your packing list before you fill a single box. Separate all your belongings into different categories, making unpacking in your dorm or new apartment much more effortless.
Moving Into the Dorms: What To Expect and Simple Survival Tips
The day has finally arrived, and you are ready to meet your new roommate and start living in your freshman college dorm! Move-in day will be whirlwind and very busy. Most colleges only provide a small window to move into the dorms, so expect to see many other nervous and anxious students and parents also lugging boxes and laundry baskets into their respective dorms.
Here is a step-by-step guide to quickly and efficiently move into the dorms:
- Arrive early to find a prime parking spot. Get to the dorms as soon as possible in the morning. Even if you arrive before your scheduled move-in time, you can secure a parking lot and take a few minutes to tour the grounds and get to know your new surroundings.
- Check in with your resident advisor. Once the dorms open, you must check in and get your dorm assignment and keys. Most colleges have students available to help you find your dorm room. Take advantage of this amazing opportunity to ask questions. For example, inquire about the quickest route to the dining hall or where to find the best cup of coffee on and off campus!
- Meet your roommate. If you have not already made contact, now is the time to meet your roommate! Help your roommate move into their own boxes and start deciding how you will store your belongings and decorate the space.
- Start unpacking and decorating. With the help of your friend or parents, start unpacking your boxes and decorating your room. Unpack as many boxes as possible while you have extra hands. Remember, the last thing you want to do on your first day in the dorms is find a place to recycle empty cardboard boxes. Instead, ask your parents or family member to dispose of them for you.
- Explore the dorms and meet your neighbors! You are unpacked and ready to start exploring the dorms. Meet your neighbors and tour the facilities. Most universities offer guided tours of the dorms and the campus on move-in day.
The unpacking is over, and the day is ending, which means it’s time to say goodbye to Mom and Dad! This will be an emotional moment, but because you have adequately prepared for moving to college, you will surely succeed and have everything you need to survive this first exciting year!
Moving Into Your First Apartment: Avoid These Common Mistakes
The movers have arrived, and you are preparing for the first night in your new apartment. Provide the movers with explicit instructions about where to put boxes and assemble furniture. Before you unpack a single box, take several pictures of the apartment, including photos of the walls, carpets, appliances, cabinets, and flooring. These pictures are proof of the apartment’s state when you first arrived and will prove invaluable when you move out and want to get your security deposit back!
Start unpacking the bedroom first; chances are you will be exhausted and ready for a good night’s sleep. Unpack the kitchen and bathroom next. Finish with unpacking the shared living areas. Now that you are unpacked, you can start decorating and enjoying your new life as a college Freshman!
Ready to Start Packing and Enjoy College Life: Tips for Finding the Right Moving Company
Whether you are moving into the dorms or your first college apartment, you will significantly benefit from the services of qualified cross-country movers. First and foremost, find a moving company specializing in moving college students. Next, schedule the movers at least two to three months before your intended moving date.
Remember, the fall season is a busy time for many moving companies. Thousands of young adults are moving to college during August and September, which can make it tricky to secure the services of a long-distance moving company. Starting early also means you can find the best movers in your area, as well. Here are a few tips to help you in choosing the best long-distance movers in the Denver area:
Read the Reviews
Check popular review websites and read through several reviews. Use these reviews as a starting point to narrow your options – but read some of the negative reviews with a grain of salt. The Better Business Bureau website is the best, most reliable source of verifiable, trusted information about moving companies in the Denver area.
Understand the Basic Cost of Moving to College
Moving to college is no different than any other situation. Long-distance movers traditionally charge by the weight of your belongings and the distance of the relocation. Conversely, local movers typically charge the hour. You will incur additional fees based on your unique needs. For example, unless you are moving into a first-floor dorm or apartment, you will be charged flight charges, which are fees to carry boxes and furniture upstairs or into the elevator.
Watch for Common Red Flags
Keep an eye out for moving scams and stereotypical red flags. For instance, if the moving company offers you a quote without taking an inventory of your child’s belongings, consider this a red flag. If the movers provide a quote that is much lower than the competition, this is often a clear sign the company is not licensed or insured or has inferior equipment, which is why they can offer you such a low price.
Students Also Ask
How do I cope with going off to college?
The time between graduating from high school and moving to college can be overwhelming. Finding healthy coping mechanisms is critical to not only survive those last tumulous months before college but also help you get through that first confusing year. Getting involved in college activities is a great start.
For example, consider joining a sorority or fraternity. Many dorms host themed parties and other events. Get out of your comfort zone and participate. Join a club or organization. In addition to connecting socially, taking care of your physical health is just as important. Maintain a healthy diet and always get plenty of rest. Take advantage of breaks between the terms to visit friends and family.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Most universities offer on-campus peer support or referrals to mental health providers. Talk to your parents or doctor about finding ways to help manage the stress of succeeding in class while surviving your first year living independently.
How do I feel better about leaving home for college?
Feeling anxious about moving away from your family home is natural. Your life is changing rapidly, which is a hard transition for most first-year college students. Luckily, there are several coping mechanisms that you can try to help you feel better about moving to college. For example, start a journal of your experiences. Document how you feel each day and what you did that day to improve your mental health.
Your parents are a great source of support and advice. Remember, even though your parents went to college several years ago, they experienced many of the same feelings of doubt and depression you are feeling now. Focus on the positive aspects of moving rather than stressing out about what you leave behind. Take the time to say goodbye to your old friends while focusing on the future.
Touring the campus and getting to know your new hometown is another excellent way to feel better about the move. This will ensure that you aren’t overwhelmed by unfamiliar surroundings once you arrive at the dorms or your new apartment.
Is it OK to go to college close to home?
Every person is unique, and while some young adults might feel ready to move across the country, others might feel more comfortable attending college close to home. Whether you choose to hire movers in Fort Collins to attend the University of Colorado-Denver or decide to move across the country to attend college in Vermont, Maine, or New York City, there is no right or wrong way to start your journey into adulthood.
How do I get over my fear of college?
If you are feeling nervous about attending college – you are not alone! Eliminating your fears completely isn’t realistic, and instead, you need to learn how to manage your trepidations healthily. Talking to your parents, working with a mental health professional, or shifting your focus are all simple methods. However, if you have tried several coping mechanisms and are still having trouble overcoming the fear of college, it is okay to take a year off between high school and college.
Many students take a “gap year,” which is a year off before attending university. This gap year is a great time to explore your options and prepare yourself mentally to attend college. Take this time to get a part-time job, find a university to help you prepare for your future, and find ways to get excited about this fantastic time in your young life.
Is it normal to be scared to leave for college?
Yes, it is absolutely normal and expected to be scared. Chances are, almost everyone you encounter during that first year of college will be just as frightened as you are! Preparation for moving is a great way to overcome these fears. Gather the necessary packing supplies. Create a comprehensive packing list. Secure a moving truck rental. Shop for the necessities and purchase fun decorative items for your first apartment or dorm.
Proper preparation, including finding a remarkable long-distance moving company in your area, is the key to eliminating stress. Don’t be surprised when your fears and anxiety melt away and are replaced with excitement and anticipation for the future.
How can I break the ice with my new college roommates?
Unless you are moving to college with your best friend, you will be paired with a roommate you never met. Navigating the first few weeks as new roommates can be tricky, and don’t expect to become friends for life overnight. Instead, look for fun ways to connect as dormmates. For example, ask your new roommate out for lunch. Discuss your shared fears and find common grounds. You might be surprised to learn that your new roommate loves foreign films, is a coffee lover, or you share the same favorite band!
Contact the Professionals at the Denver Moving Group
Ready to start planning your future? Contact one of Denver’s best long-distance moving companies: the Denver Moving Group. With several years of experience serving our amazing customers throughout Colorado, the Denver Moving Group is ready to help your college-aged student move into their first dorm or apartment!
The Best Long-Distance and Local Moving Team in Denver
Moving to college is a special time, and you want to ensure that the best movers in your area carefully relocate your child’s belongings. When you work with the Denver Moving Group, you can rest assured that all your and your child’s needs will be met. Don’t take a chance by working with unreliable movers; hire the best – the Denver Moving Group!
In addition to providing you with top-notch service, we also offer all the tips and tricks you need to plan a successful relocation, including our Bible of moving tips!