How to Have a Smooth Move-in Process

moving to new house - brown cardboard boxes with belongings stacked in living room after moving day
moving to new house - brown cardboard boxes with belongings stacked in living room after moving day

Whether you’re living in a dorm, apartment or a house, you will probably find yourself moving in and out many times throughout your college years. The process can seem overwhelming and exhausting, but there are a few things you can do to make moving day a little less painful. 

Prepare in Advance

It might be tempting to wait until last minute to start packing, but this will only cause more problems in the future. Starting early gives you more time to pack, so you can do a little bit everyday instead of all at once. This will make it feel much less overwhelming and also ensure you don’t forget anything important because you packed in a rush.

Sit down well in advance and make a list of everything you want to bring with you. As you go through the list, check off everything so that you don’t forget whether you packed it or not. Trying to find a specific item in a sea of boxes is not fun! recommends using a moving checklist so you don’t forget any important tasks. You can find an example of one here.

Lighten the Load

Moving is the perfect chance to get rid of old things you don’t need anymore. While packing items such as clothes, make a donation pile for all the things you know you don’t want. One of the biggest issues with moving is that people often bring tons of items they don’t actually need. By filtering through the mess, you will make it much easier for your future self.


If you are using boxes or bags to move, try to pack similar things together and label what they are. For instance, pack separate boxes for toiletries, kitchen supplies, clothes, decorations, bedding, etc. It will be much easier to unpack if you have a general idea of where everything is. 

According to PODS Moving & Storage, “List out everything inside, particularly items that you know you’ll want to unpack ASAP. Be sure to write down the contents on the top and at least two different sides of the box, as well, so you can easily see what’s in the box — even if it’s stacked or lost in a pile of moving boxes.”

All Hands on Deck

Try to enlist the help of family and friends, as having more vehicles and people always makes the moving process much easier. Of course, don’t force anybody to help you move, but you could offer something like free lunch as an incentive. Helping someone move is a huge favor, so make sure they know how much you appreciate their help. You can also look into the possibility of hiring a moving company if you have a large load of items that you will be moving. 

Before You Unpack

Once you get everything into your new space, you’re probably excited to unpack everything and start making it your own. However, before you open any boxes, there are some things that must be done first. One of those things is surveying the entire apartment/house and taking photos of any and all damage you find. This includes even minor things such as scratches and chipped paint. Some properties will have you fill out a sheet documenting this before you move in, but even if they don’t, make sure not to skip this step. Having photo evidence that you were not responsible for damage that happened before you moved in can save you a lot of money down the road. You definitely don’t want to be charged for something you didn’t do. 

Allstate has a checklist of things to check for before you unpack


Once you start to actually unpack, things can get messy fast. It is a good idea to unpack the most important things first, such as bedding, bathroom supplies and kitchen utensils so that in case you don’t get all of your unpacking done, you at least have the necessities ready to go. 

It is best to unpack room by room. Bouncing around all over can be exhausting and items might get put in the wrong place in the process. Try to put each box or bag in the room they belong, and then go from there. 

Now What?

Now that the hard part is done, it’s time to relax! Get used to your new space and make it feel like home. Try cooking a meal in your kitchen, set up your TV to watch a movie, or anything that you would usually do at home. You’ll be living here all year, so make sure you’re making yourself feel comfortable!

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