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How to Stress Less on College Move-In Day

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By: Rhiannon Winner, Uloop News

You’re probably anticipating a stressful move-in day, although whether or not that stress is warranted remains to be seen. No matter how well or poorly your student’s college handles move-in day, there are plenty of ways to minimize stress on your part to survive move-in day.

Arrive early … but not too early.

You might think that your student doesn’t have all that much to set up, or that they can handle setting up their room alone, but that’s just asking for trouble. Even if your student has relatively little to move in, it’s likely to take a lot longer than you’re expecting.

There’s the distance between the car and your student’s dorm, stairs, streets and hallways crammed with other families, and the little bit of space available while your student’s roommate moves in to consider. Put all of those factors together, and you’re in for quite the struggle. Don’t dump everything in your student’s room and run off, either. They’re probably going to need your help assembling a shoe rack, checking if their posters are straight, or helping them fold and hang clothes.

If you arrive early, there’s no need to worry about sticking around for as long as you’re needed. You’ll have all day to work, plus you’ll have gotten out of the way before other families begin rolling in sometime in the afternoon.

On the other hand, you don’t want to show up too early.

There are plenty of people who are going to show up the second move-in day starts. To avoid getting caught in the stampede, arrive early, but not right at the beginning of the move-in day chaos. Plan to arrive on campus around an hour or so after move-in day begins. You’ll have missed the initial chaos, but still be early enough to avoid the post-lunchtime rush.

Carry trash bags.

You’re going to have more trash than you think, plus you’re going to need to haul back some of the extra stuff your student doesn’t have room for. Your student might even need to use some if they didn’t bring their own trash bags. Bring at least a few, but to be on the safe side, a whole box might be a good idea.

Bring extra clothes.

Your student’s entire wardrobe is open to them, but what are you supposed to do when you’re sweaty and disgusting after move-in? Chances are you’re going to feel gross after everything is set up. Save yourself a smelly ride home by packing a change of clothes for yourself and other family members (if you’re bringing along another child, a spouse, et cetera).

Do the most work at home.

If you can avoid doing something on campus, then make sure that you do. Take items out of their packaging at home if they won’t be damaged during the trip, and assemble what you can still fit in the car before leaving. You won’t have a lot of space to work with, and taking out armfuls of trash every half hour is the last thing you’ll want to do. Save yourself some time and effort by planning ahead.

Pack snacks.

You’re going to be starving once you’re finally done moving your student in. The campus dining facilities either won’t be open to you or will be swamped with other families, and expect that any restaurant in the vicinity will be at or near capacity. To avoid an insanely long wait for food, bring snacks to tide yourself (and your student and other family members) over until you can get a real meal. Stock up on drinks in particular, especially water, because moving in is physically taxing and you’ll be exhausted by the end of it.

Get rid of suitcases.

If you don’t need to bring a suitcase to move your student in, then don’t. Use duffel or garbage bags where possible, since once they’re unpacked, they can be easily crumpled up and kept out of the way. Suitcases, on the other hand, tend to seem frustratingly large and in the way once you’re done with them. If you feel that bringing one is necessary, then make sure to clear it out of the dorm as fast as possible. It’ll take up space and leave you and your student feeling even more stressed.

Don’t make the bed.

Making your student’s bed seems like an easy and obvious first step, but if anything, that should be the last thing you attempt. The bed is an easy place to sit things while you’re unpacking. You’re going to regret making it and then immediately rumpling the covers or wasting precious space with pillows.

College move-in day is sure to go (mostly) smoothly as long as you pay attention to your student’s needs and plan everything out. There will inevitably be bumps along the way (here’s what to expect to go wrong), but just remember that the missing bottle of shampoo or photo collage isn’t the end of the world.

Visit uloop.com for more college news and to search for off-campus housing, tutors near campus, jobs for college students, moving services and more.

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