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Moving Checklist: Make Moving Out of the Dorm Easier

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Dorm move in day can be pretty exciting, but moving out of the dorms leaves something to be desired—even if you’re happy to be going home or traveling for the summer. You don’t want to get caught tossing your belongings into trash bags at the last minute, so start planning now to make your move as easy as possible. Here are 12 items to cross off your moving checklist at the end of the semester:

1. Clean your room.

Before you attempt to pack anything, clean your room by putting everything back where it belongs. Setting your books back on the bookshelf and sticking your toiletries in the bathroom (if you’re lucky enough to have one!) will help keep your things organized once they’re in boxes and bins. Moving isn’t fun, but packing will seem even worse than usual if your floor is covered in dirty clothes and your belongings are strewn all over the place.

2. Do your laundry.

Speaking of dirty clothes, head down to the washers and dryers. Taking your dirty laundry home so Mom can wash it for you sounds like a good idea, but shoving stinky clothes into your suitcase along with your clean ones can cause a foul mess.

3. Take out the trash.

Empty your trash cans and head to the dumpster as soon as possible. With everyone on campus moving out of the dorm, it will be overflowing before you know it.

4. Empty your refrigerator.

Get rid of any perishable food items that you know you aren’t going to eat or drink (bye-bye, month-old moldy cheese!) and give the fridge a good cleaning whether it’s yours and needs to move out with you or one that was provided by your school for your use.

5. Give to charity.

Now that your belongings are hopefully somewhat organized, take a good hard look at your stuff. If you haven’t worn it or used it this semester, do you honestly need it? Find out if there is a campus clothing drive (many colleges take donations for charity during dorm move out week) or arrange for the items to be picked up by a thrift store or non-profit organization in town—many are willing to come to you for donations.

6. Sell your textbooks back.

College textbooks over overpriced and underused. If any of your books won’t get used again—most become outdated quickly because new editions are released by the publishers fairly regularly—take them to the campus bookstore for book buy back. You won’t get nearly as much money as you paid for them, but something is better than nothing!

7. Get free boxes from a local store.

Plastic storage bins with lids are great for moving, especially during the college years when it’s an annual event, but most supermarkets and big chain stores are willing to give away empty boxes if you ask nicely. You might also locate boxes on Craigslist—people who just moved recently often get rid of the boxes for free. (Just take extra precautions and be safe if you agree to meet up with someone!)

8. Decide what to take home and what to put in storage.

Some college students decide to put some of their belongings in storage rather than cart them back home every summer. Self-storage facilities are pretty common in college towns, so there is most likely at least one near your school if you decide to do so. Just remember that you will need to make arrangements to take things to the storage unit, and your belongings must be packed accordingly (outdoor units aren’t air conditioned, and you don’t want your things to be damaged by the summer heat.)

9. Take extra caution with breakables.

You probably don’t have a set of fine china in your dorm, but framed photos, coffee mugs, and plenty of other items are fragile and can break easily. Use crumpled newspaper or bubble wrap as needed to help make sure your things do not break during the move.

10. Contact movers or make necessary arrangements.

If you live far from school and will be using a moving company to transport your belongings home, make sure arrangements are made well in advance. It’s a busy time of year, and if you wait until the morning of your last final exam to call for a truck you just might be out of luck. If your parents or other family members will be picking you up or you’ll be driving your own car home, clean out the trunk and the vehicle itself ahead of time to make sure all of your boxes, bins and bags will fit.

11. Clean up.

Once your things are out of the room and your posters are off the walls, make sure everything is clean. Wipe down the furniture and sweep the floors. You don’t want to be charged a cleaning fee, which can be excessive.

12. Return your keys.

Be sure to return your dorm room keys to the resident advisor or residence life office. Failing to do so can also be costly—you’ll be charged to replace the key and possibly change the lock.

Moving can be a hassle, but keeping a positive attitude throughout the ordeal can go a long way. These 12 tips can also help make your dorm room move-out go as smoothly as possible.

Read More:

Dorm Room Essentials: What to Pack and What to Leave at Home

How to Deal With Bad Dorm Room Odors


Melissa Rhone+

Melissa Rhone earned her Bachelor of Music in Education from the University of Tampa. She resides in the Tampa Bay area and enjoys writing about college, pop culture, and epilepsy awareness.

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