Ask a Collegiette: How to Get Your Stuff to School

Whether it’s crushes, classes or coed bathrooms on your mind, chances are you’ve already started stressing about your freshman year of college. But don’t worry! This collegiette has been there and done that, and she’s passing along her hard-earned wisdom to you lucky pre-collegiettes. Whether you’re daunted by your packing list (you do not need a label maker, promise), college-level classes (Wikipedia is your new best friend), making friends (easier than it sounds) or running into a one-night stand (honestly, just run the other way), Sophie’s likely encountered it all. Just sit back, relax and let her share the best advice she’s picked up along the way.

If you go to college out of state, how did you transfer all your dorm supplies to your college? – Alexis

Alexis,

Packing up your entire life into boxes can be daunting, especially when you start freaking out about how you’ll ever be able to fit all your essentials into a dorm room. While moving in is always a hassle, if your college is near where you live, the process is usually a little easier, especially knowing you can always just call home if you forget something! Going to college out of state, however, can make the move-in process a bit trickier.

If your college is out of state but still within driving distance (this is the case for me), then loading up your car with all your dorm supplies is the best way to go. Most freshmen won’t be bringing a car to campus, so that probably means your parents will be helping you move in, which is a total bonus (trust me, trying to assemble that IKEA bedside table by yourself is no picnic). If you do choose to drive, make sure you’re only packing things you’ll actually end up using, and have your parents ship you seasonal items (like snow jackets, hiking boots, spring and summer clothes) later.


If your dream school is a bit farther away and you plan on flying, you have a couple of options. One of my best friends, Sam, got her stuff from Seattle to Vermont by shipping her boxes via Amtrak and picking them up in Boston in a rental car with her parents. She adds that if you’re worried about your ‘rents tagging along every semester, don’t be. “Having my parents come out with me freshman year to move everything in was really helpful,” she says. “They haven’t come out for move-in day since then, though, so you definitely don’t need your parents to come help move stuff every time.”

If you would rather fly your boxes to school, be aware that student mail centers receive hundreds (if not thousands) of boxes from students during move-in week, and it might take a while to get a hold of your belongings. However, this option is the easiest way to make sure your boxes get right to campus. Most campus bookstores have bigger items like rugs, lamps and even fridges for sale, so it’s a good idea to check out what you can buy on campus to cut down on what you have to bring. It can be really helpful to look into any nearby Target or Walmart stores as well so you can do most of your dorm shopping when you get to campus.


Keep in mind that while the thought of shipping your entire life across the country might make you want to skip college altogether, you really only have to make the big move twice: once when you move in, and once when you graduate. Rather than going through the hassle of packing everything up at the end of the year and sending it all the way back home for only three months, tons of savvy collegiettes choose to leave their belongings in storage units for the summer. I recommend getting together a group of friends to pitch in and rent out a storage unit for the summer so you can store bigger items, like a beanbag or mini fridge, and seasonal items that you won’t need over the summer, like heavy sweaters or holiday decorations.

If you happen to have a friend who’s from your college town or nearby, it never hurts to ask him or her to store some of your stuff over the summer. “It can be great way to get free and convenient storage,” Sam says. I also think bribing them with baked goods and/or Starbucks gift cards is perfectly acceptable.

Moving in can be super stressful, especially if it’s your first time leaving home. Knowing what to expect on move-in day and weighing all of your options about the best way to transfer your stuff will make the whole task less daunting. Good luck, and happy moving!

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