College Move-In, Day of Essentials

College Move In Day, Move in Essentials, Dorm Essentials , College Dorm Needs, Moving Day College,

College move-in day can bring a multitude of emotions for both students and parents… excitement, nervousness, uncertainty, hope, and so many more. For 18 years you watch over, care for, and protect your child… then suddenly you blink and the time comes to drop them off at college and take a step back. The transition to being an empty nester is an entirely different blog post (or maybe even a podcast), so back to college move-in! 

In the months leading up to move-in day, my daughter Kennedy and her roommate had planned the room decor down to a tee. Matching headboards, bed skirts, and pillows from Room 422… wall art that matched each of their personalities, etc. Though extensively prepared for the beautifully decorated look, Kennedy was less concerned with the nitty gritty of moving in😂. With that being said, I researched and prepared a list of items to bring on move in day, which I’m now sharing with you! 

College Move In Day, Move in Essentials, Dorm Essentials , College Dorm Needs, Moving Day College,

Tools/Tool Kit

I highly recommend buying a small tool kit your student can keep stored in their room… you never know when they may need it! You will almost certainly need some of these tools on move-in day. If your student plans to loft/unloft their bed, a hammer or rubber mallet should help do the trick. 

Other tools to include: zip ties, scissors, duct tape, small nails, electric screwdriver

Door Stopper

Get a door stopper! Just hear me now and purchase. Most universities don’t offer door stoppers in each dorm room for safety reasons. With so many people and boxes crammed into one room at once, there’s often some overflow into the hallways. Having to fight with the door is the last thing you want to deal with… so seriously, just bring a door stopper. 

Cleaning Supplies

Dorms are typically (should be) cleaned prior to move-in day, Although cleaned prior to move-in, I would highly recommend having a few basic cleaning products (packed in a separate and easily accessible location) to wipe down surfaces prior to unpacking. You will certainly need to have these properly stored to leave for your student to clean on a regular basis. 

Clorox wipes, paper towels, trash bags, broom and dust pan, Swiffer Sweeper 2-in-1, Dry and Wet Multi Surface Floor Cleaner

College Move In Day, Move in Essentials, Dorm Essentials , College Dorm Needs, Moving Day College,

Mini Vacuum

The mini vacuum is a cleaning product that deserves its own discussion. My daughter swears her mini vacuum was the #1 most utilized item in their dorm room. Dorm rooms collect dust very quickly, especially universities under construction. Kennedy was known as the girl with the mini hand vacuum… so girls throughout their hall frequently asked to borrow. It’s also extremely helpful for the day of move-in and of course move-out. 

Below are great options at different price points: 

Shark WANDVAC Cord-Free Handheld Vacuum, Shark UltraCyclone Pro Cordless Handheld Vacuum, Dirt Devil Express Lithium Cordless Hand Vacuum – BD30005FDI, BLACK+DECKER Dustbuster AdvancedClean+ Pet Cordless Hand Vacuum Cleaner, BISSELL Pet Hair Eraser Lithium Ion Hand Vacuum, BLACK+DECKER dustbuster Cordless Handheld Vacuum

Rolling Cart

If your child is anything like mine, move-in day will consist of LOTS of items to unload, and multiple trips back-and-forth to the car. We arrived with a rolling cart to help maximize each trip to the car, thus minimizing how many times we had to go back and forth. 

Small Safe 

Though this doesn’t pertain specifically to the day of move-in, I thought it was an important item to make note of. Kennedy’s doctor recommended getting a small personal safe to keep in her dorm room, specifically for medications. This can also be used for personal documents, emergency cash, jewelry, etc.

While there are plenty of additional items that should be in your students dorm room, I’ll keep the remainder of the list short! 

College Move In Day, Move in Essentials, Dorm Essentials , College Dorm Needs, Moving Day College,


The process of planning and shopping for dorm room decor is an entirely separate blog post itself. However, I’m sharing a few of the items that went into Kennedy’s freshman year dorm room and later her sophomore year dorm. The beauty is we could repurpose most of the items that are used to accessorize her current apartment… 5 years later! Some great online resources that Kennedy has used over the years are Dormify and Room 422

I hope you all found these essentials helpful and happy moving friends!

College Move In Day, Move in Essentials, Dorm Essentials , College Dorm Needs, Moving Day College,

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  1. Kennedy says:

    What an informative post! Door stoppers are a MUST!

  2. Stefania says:

    I have a question about the bed skirts! It looks like the panels are on rods. Did they come ready for that or did you have to customize?

  3. This is a great question! We had to purchase the rods and then used zip ties to attach them to the bed. The bed skirt we purchased had a built in location to loop through the rods so we didn’t have to make any other alterations. Linking the exact bed skirt here:

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