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Move-In Tips

McKenna shares some tips and tricks for moving in quickly.

McKenna shares some tips and tricks for moving in quickly.

Possibly one of my proudest moments was the day I moved into my freshman year dorm at Carleton. Not because I’d gotten in or was finally on campus — because of how quickly I got settled! I moved around a lot as a child, because of my parents’ jobs, so we’d had a lot of experience as a family.

The entire process, including unloading the car, hanging up all of my clothes, and putting together a Target organizer stand, took about 3 hours.

A Myers dorm room
This is what my room looked like after move-in day.
McKenna sitting on her bed in Myers
And this is what it looked like once I finished decorating (…after five weeks)

Yes, that is definitely something I’m very proud of. But I didn’t do this alone: it would have taken a lot longer if I hadn’t had help from the rest of my family. Also, it took me a while to figure out how I wanted to decorate my walls.

Move-in day is going to look different this year, so I figured I’d share some of my best tips and tricks for moving in quickly!

Coordinate with your roommate

Chances are, you’re never going to need two water boilers or minifridges. If you can, reach out to your roommate before you make any big purchases. If it’s something you both feel comfortable sharing, then you’re saving yourself money and the hassle of hauling more stuff up several flights of stairs. (Dorm rooms already have some items in them as well — no need to bring your own trash can!)

Also, ask what time they’re moving in! My roommate and I arrived within five minutes of each other, so my family helped her bring up her stuff, then we swapped parking spots and her family helped me bring up my luggage. It saved a ton of time and just goes to show the collaborative spirit on campus!

Group your packing

Whenever possible, try to group the items you’re bringing. For example, pack all of your jackets in the same bag. That way, when you’re unpacking, you don’t have to wander all over your room to put different items in different areas. (Full disclosure: I forgot to do this, so I just know it’s going to be a mess.)

McKenna packing for college
I probably packed my stuff at least three times to make sure everything was grouped well and packed safely.

Figure out your layout first

This is easiest to do without too many things in your room. If you can figure out where your furniture will go before filling it with your things, then you’ll have an easier time moving it. All of the beds in Carleton dorm rooms can have their height changed, and from experience that’s a lot easier to do without any sheets on yet. Speaking of sheets…

An empty Fourth Myers room
This is what my room looked like before I loved in. Fourth Myers has (in my opinion) the best windows of any building on campus.

Make your bed

Seriously, at least for this first day. Making your bed means you’ve already “put away” your pillows, sheets, and blankets. Those are some pretty bulky items! Plus, once your bed is made, you’ve got a place to put stuff down that isn’t on the floor.

Plan to forget things

There’s bound to be something you forgot to bring. That’s totally fine! The totally weird item I forgot to bring my freshman year was hangers. Depending on the dorm you’re in, you may have more or less hanging space. To any Myers residents, get more hangers than you think you’ll need — those closets are huge! For any Cassat or Burton residents, my friend Lucas has already written a post about his rooms (although I’m not sure if I’d agree with his ranking of the primary residence halls). Goodhue people, never fear! Ethan has got you covered.

The inside of McKenna's closet
This is what the inside of my closet looked like freshman year.

I really enjoyed moving in. It can be a stressful time, so I’d like to emphasize that none of this needs to be permanent. If classes start and you realize you hate where your desk is, you can move it! The most important thing is to make your dorm room feel like your space, whatever that means for you. Hanging up wall decorations, setting up a lamp, and yes, making your bed, are all different ways to do this. Find out what works for you!

McKenna is a Russian and Psychology double major who is suffering from major Minnesota-withdrawal (her favorite season is, in fact, winter). On campus, she’s often designing lights for a student performance, speaking Russian in Parish house, or grabbing a meal with friends. She’s also a proud member of the Carleton Equestrian Team and is currently playing Witcher 3: Wild Hunt in her free time. Meet the other bloggers!