5 Tips for Moving and Organizing College Students

The following is a guest post with 5 tips for moving and organizing college students from regular contributor, Morgan from Morganize with Me.

Well, it’s getting real! Our oldest is heading off to college. (Stop the clock!) While we’re thrilled for her to launch, we’re also really sad that this is now going to be a pivotal season for our family. Thankfully, she will only be an hour away from us, but she is still moving “out” and moving on.

For Ainsley’s upcoming transition, we’ve been preparing and working to get all of her things organized and packed. Going through this process I’ve learned some essential tips that can make all the difference when sending your college student off! These tips are specifically tailored towards a student who is moving within driving distance.

If you have a student who is moving further away, for example they need to fly to their destination, then different tips will apply. I do know there are some great retail services where they will ship things directly to students to avoid having to facilitate packing and moving things across the country.

5 Tips for Moving and Organizing College Students at I'm an Organizing Junkie blog

5 Tips for Moving and Organizing College Students

1) Measure:

If possible, try to visit the living space prior to your planning and shopping. Investigate the available storage, measure everything, and make a list while in the room(s) so you can best account for what needs to be purchased. If you can’t visit in person, then call the facility and go through your questions.

2) Mattress:

Clarify the size of the mattress (if included). Some dorms have Twin XL and some do not. It’s helpful to know which size to buy and what specific bedding will work best.

3) Messes:

Determine what the laundry system will look like for your student. How far is the laundry room from their room? What type of basket or hamper will be the most conducive to haul to and from? Which type of soap will be the easiest to carry and use? (Laundry pods are a simple option because they don’t make a mess and are easy to grab and go.) Additionally what other types of cleaning products should your student bring along to help keep up their space? (A mom can dream…)

4) Machines:

Students should communicate with their roommate(s) ahead of time about which types of appliances each of them will bring. This can help to avoid duplicate microwaves, refrigerators, and coffee makers.

5) Minimize:

Like always, when setting up a space remember that less is more. Typically dorms and apartments have a smaller footprint, therefore it’s important to be intentional with how you use the space. Use vertical storage options, sort things like with like, and focus on bringing only the necessities. A stocked first aid kit, a set of bath towels and bedding, enough clothes, socks and underwear, school supplies, bath things, and some snacks should be more than adequate to help your student get by day-to-day. (I’ve reminded my daughter that she will have access to stores while living on campus.)

Lastly, for Ainsley’s dorm room, we assigned four large bins to four categories: food, HBA (health and beauty aids), clothes, and shoes. From our measurements, we determined that these four will fit under her dorm bed. Not only are these helpful for packing things for the move, but they will also provide functional storage for her in her new space.

I always say, prior planning prevents problems. Planning ahead will help to ensure that your student has what they need for their school year ahead.

Best wishes to all the parents moving and organizing college students this fall!

Morgan is a professional organizer (chaos calmer), writer (list lover), and exercise enthusiast (fitness fan), keep up with her on her site, Morganize with Me. Her mission is to share tried and true techniques that she hopes will encourage her readers and clients as they focus on their health and homes. Check out her new Book, Take Back your Time, join one of her Organizing Challenges, listen to The Morganize with Me Podcast, and stop by her Shop full of fabulous organizing printables!


Filed under: Guest Bloggers, Kid Stuff, Morgan


3 Responses to 5 Tips for Moving and Organizing College Students

  1. 1
    Shawnda McCollum says

    Excellent advice! We also had great luck with the large bins for moving. They stacked well in the car, made grabbing and toting easy, things were simple to put away, and the ones that were empty after the move nested nicely for us to bring home until time to move her out.

    Also check with the dorm about items that are available/provided. At her first college, refrigerators and microwaves were already provided by the college and they had a check-in/out area where you could borrow cleaning tools like vacuums and stuff. It was nice to not have a stick vac taking up space in a very tiny room. The second college did not provide those things, but the rooms were more spacious, so it was a worthy trade-off.

    Plugs aren’t always plentiful or conveniently placed, so a 10′ quality charging cable (and a spare) were seriously useful, as were power strips and HDMI cables.

    For the 2 semesters she stayed in dorms, she was VERY rigid as to what she brought into her room. If she didn’t already have space to put it, she didn’t buy it and wouldn’t let us bring it either. lol She also sent home some things she thought she “needed” that she didn’t end up using as well. Oh…and her first night in the dorm, she stayed up late with the DYMO labeler…labeling EVERYTHING. I was surprised the lamp didn’t say “LAMP” the next time we visited!

    • 1.1
      Laura Wittmann says

      Thank you so much for sharing your tips! And I love that your daughter went crazy with the label maker, that’s awesome! 🙂

  2. 2
    Trish Smith says

    My daughter just moved into her dorm for her freshman year also. She is in a triple but what saved us is that her room is massive. It is not at all what we expected. It was scary how much she felt she needed to bring. Art supplies… that was her downfall. She didn’t have enough clothes to fill her drawers but not enough room for portfolios and art supplies. Our minivan looked like it was going to cry.


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