College dorms are famously cramped. This makes packing just the right amount of stuff much harder than it seems. If you bring too many items, you won’t have anywhere to keep them and no room to actually live. If you bring too few items, you won’t have all the essentials that you need to get by.

Avoiding these common move-in mistakes will help free up valuable space and make life easier for both you and your roommate:

1) Over Packing

When shopping for your dorm room, it can be tempting to buy everything. Don’t. Keep in mind that your dorm room will probably be a lot smaller than your bedroom at home. You’ll also be sharing this space with one or more people, so space will be even more limited.

Only buy the essentials; the things you will need to get through the first day or two. This includes:

  • Clothing
  • A small dresser for storing your clothing (if one is not provided to you)
  • Towels
  • Toiletries
  • Bedding
  • A few decorations to make it feel homey (posters, family photos, rugs, etc.)

Everything else can be purchased later when you know exactly what you need. Here are some things you can leave behind:

  • Alarm clock (your smartphone can easily replace this)
  • Furniture
  • Books
  • Electronics
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Microwave/Mini fridge

2) Not Cleaning Up After Yourself

Being messy is not a good thing when living in a dorm room. First, you will surely annoy your roommate if you take up all the free space with your dirty clothes and garbage. Dorm rooms are small enough without adding an angry roommate to the mix. Awkward.

Secondly, leaving your dirty clothes and dishes everywhere will make the place look cluttered. The key to living in a small space is to keep it clean and give the illusion of space. Keep all your things organized and do a weekly sweep/vacuuming of all the surfaces in your dorm to keep it looking fresh and clean. After all, a clean and organized room leads to less stress for you!

3) Not Coordinating with Your Roommate

You should always communicate with your roommate before you move in. Not only will this help to break the ice, it will give you a chance to discuss what you will be bringing with you and what can be shared. There is no use in everyone bringing a microwave or a mini fridge. Chances are your dorm is probably too small for multiple appliances anyway.

As long as you and your roommate are in agreement, the following items can be shared in order to conserve space:

  • Dishes
  • Area rug
  • Appliances
  • T.V.

It might also be a good idea to coordinate move-in times. Having two or more people moving in at the same time might lead to a bit of chaos and cause a traffic jam. Try scheduling your move-ins at different times of the day, if possible, so you aren’t constantly bumping into one another. A less stressful move-in can help you and your roommate’s relationship get off to a good start!

Good Luck!

I know moving in is stressful and tiring for everyone. By only packing the bare essentials, you are saving yourself a lot of energy and frustration. Remember: Don’t bring too much, clean up after yourself, and coordinate with your roommate. If you can do these three things, moving in will be a breeze!



Looking for more college advice? Check out our favorite tips for Adjusting to College Life.



Tagged: Packing For College