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Dorm Move Out Day: 15 Things You’ll Wish You Had

dorm move out day
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Congratulations! Moving out of your dorm (usually) means you’ve made it through another semester in college. You go, girl! But even though you’re excited the semester is over, moving out of your dorm can be a huge pain in the ass. Over the semester, you’ve collected new things and added items you left at home the first trip, and now you’ve simply got a lot of stuff — which is why we’ve compiled a list of things that are made to help make your move as easy and quick as it can be. Here are the top 15 items I wish I knew existed on my own dorm move out day.

1. Packing List

dorm move out day - packing list
Erin Condren Hardbound NotebookMinimalist ListBook 100% Recycled | Erin Condren Notepads in Paisley | Erin Condren On the Go Travel Checklist

Packing is only awful because you work so hard only to inevitably forget something, and dorm move out day makes it even more chaotic. You’ll make it much easier on yourself if you make a list of all the things you have in your dorm room beforehand. It’s like taking inventory of your own stuff. With roommates, it’s easy to leave with some of their things or without some of yours, but an inventory-style packing list will serve as a guide for grabbing all your belongings and keep you from having to make trips back to school.

2. Overnight Duffel Bag

dorm move out day - duffel bag
Jack & Chris Canvas Duffel | Sole Society ‘Lacie’ Faux Leather Duffel Bag

Chances are you won’t want to unpack all your clothes, cosmetics, and toiletries when you get home — because moving wears a girl out. So, packing a weekend bag (include jammies, extra outfits, face wash, makeup essentials, etc.) will keep you from having to dig through the boxes until you find that one item you’re looking for.

3. A Really Comfy T-Shirt

dorm move out day - tshirt
Nama-Stay in Bed Graphic Tee | The Future is Still Female Tee

This one I learned the hard way. I decided to wear a really cute long-sleeve blouse on my dorm move-out day, and wow I hated myself. I didn’t have a full range of motion, it kept slipping off my shoulders when I was carrying stuff, I got a huge stain on it from moving my Keurig, and (worst of all) I had mad pit stains — because no matter the temperature outside, moving makes you sweat. So, learn from my poor judgment and wear a shirt you don’t mind getting a little sweaty in and that will let you move without constant wardrobe adjustment. You can thank me later.

4. Fanny Pack

dorm move out day - fanny pack
Herschel Supply Co. Seventeen Hip Pack | Women’s Black Studded Fashion Fanny | Adidas Rand II Waist Pack

Listen, if you haven’t heard that the fanny pack is making a comeback, it totally is. They’re essential. I wish I would’ve had one on my dorm move out day especially because I was constantly searching for my phone, student ID, room key, wallet, sharpie, stickers… you name it. Anything you’re going to need on hand will go in the fanny, and you won’t find yourself sifting through the piles of boxes to look for a marker. Plus, they don’t get in your way like purses and backpacks! Plus plus, they come in cute designs from super great brands. Definitely a dorm move out day must.

5. Bluetooth Speaker

dorm move out day - bluetooth speaker
JAM Classic 2.0 Wireless Speaker | OG-EVKIN Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker | JBL Clip 2 Waterproof Portable Bluetooth Speaker

This is a purely optional suggestion, but my dorm move out day would’ve been way more tolerable if I’d been jamming out. Music can make any experience a better one, so make sure you have a good playlist to melt the stress away. And trust me, you won’t be able to hear your phone’s speakers when you’re shoving things into boxes, wrapping mugs, sorting through hangers, etc.

6. Big Boxes

dorm move out day - boxes
Rubbermaid ActionPacker Lockable Storage Box | Sterilite Ultra Storage Bin

Some of you may think this is a given, but I didn’t even think about it on my dorm move out day. I had no boxes of any kind and was forced to use trash bags. Trash bags can be good for some things (like making a donation pile), but when it comes to hardcore moving, they don’t hold up. Boxes have more room, are easier to transport and load in a car, and offer a little more protection for your items. How many you’ll need will depend on your personal amount of stuff, but I personally could’ve used at least three.

7. Box Labels

dorm move out day - labels
Beeasy Chalkboard Reusable Sticker Labels | Moving Label Stickers

I can’t stress how much I regretted not labeling my bags (hopefully boxes, in your case) when I moved. When I got home, I couldn’t remember what I put in each bag, and had to dig through them to find the things I needed. Labels will make your life a breeze because you’ll know exactly where to find your pillows, cleaning supplies, or shoes without going box diving. And these sturdy ones are completely reusable for next time!

8. Big Bags

dorm move out day - bags
Ziploc Jumbo Flexible Tote | Ziploc Big Bags Variety Pack

One of the toughest things to transport is bedding, especially if you have a big poofy comforter and lots of pillows like I did. These big bags by Ziploc are awesome because you can fold your blankets, stuff them in there, and press down until all the air is out. They’re a great alternative to vacuum seal bags because you probably didn’t bring a vacuum capable of sealing those bags to your college dorm room.

9. Totes

dorm move out day - totes
Under One Sky Women’s Pineapple Tote Handbag | Erin Condren In Bloom Designer Tote | Scoutmob Mini Tote Bike Print

Among the boxes and big bags, you won’t want to lose your school supplies and other immediate necessities. On my dorm move out day, I lost mine in a big bag full of chargers and DVDs and didn’t find them for a week. A tote (or several) is a great remedy for that. Backpacks can be clunky and hard to find a spot for in the car, so go ahead and throw your stuff in a tote. They’ll fit your laptop, some books, notepads, pens and pencils and more! Plus, they’re not too big so they’ll fit at your feet or in the passenger seat of the car.

10. Clothing Racks for Your Car

dorm move out day - clothes rack
Car Clothing Hook | Car Clothing Expandable Bar

Taking clothes off hangers and having to find a place to pack both the clothing and the hangers is just too much work. Hangers were such a hassle for me to transport that I just gave them all to the guys next door. Then, when I moved back in, I had to go buy more. If I could go back and move out again (not that I’d ever want to), I would’ve bought a clothing rack for my car. With one of these, you can just saran wrap bundles of hung up clothes together and transport them, hangers and all!

11. A Nice Cosmetics Case

dorm move out day - makeup bag
Vera Bradley Hanging Organizer | Ellis James Cosmetic Case | Mr. Pro Waterproof Makeup Bag

Since makeup is bae, it’s important to give it the care it deserves on dorm move out day. Your makeup will get thrown and rattled, and that new Too Faced Bronzer will be nothing but a sad, broken mess when you make it home (speaking from real life experience). If you don’t want to lose (or break) your favorite products, get them a transportation case they’ll be safe in! It’s simple: more padding = safer makeup.

12. Jewelry Storage

dorm move out day - jewelry storage
Primrose Hill Posy Twig Jewelry Roll | Bella Dee Black Velvet Roll-Up Organizer Accessory Bag

I mean, you’ve seen the big clumping knotted mess of chains and charms that happens when you don’t transport jewelry properly — I had one the size of my palm after my dorm move out day. I had no way to store my jewelry safely, so I threw it all in a little zipper pouch (yikes!). If you don’t want to untangle jewelry for hours on end when you get home, invest in a nice case for all your necklaces and bracelets. Plus, then you’ll have it to use next time you go on a vacation!

13. Reusable Shopping Bags

dorm move out day - reusable shopping bags
Anseahawk Reusable Bags | RayLineDo Reusable Bags

On your dorm move out day, you’ll need a few smaller bags for things like chargers, DVDs, cleaning supplies, plastic dishware, etc. Sure, you could use plastic sacks from the store, but I had three bust open on my way down the stairs to the car. So, I suggest you invest in at least one pack of portable, reusable, sturdy shopping bags.

14. Something to Move the Coffee Cups (Or Other Breakables)

dorm move out day - coffee mugs
Quilted Stemware Storage Chest

If you’re anything like me, your coffee cup collection means a lot to you, and you don’t want to lose a single one of them. However, I had no way to safely move mine when the dorm move out day came, so I just designated the passenger seat floor for them. They clanked and moved around my whole way home (which made me literally want to pull my hair out). You can avoid a noisy car ride, and even broken cups by buying a padded storage box with sleeves for individual glasses. I can honestly say, this would have to be one of the things I most regret not having on dorm move out day.

15. A Small, Portable Cooler

dorm move out day - cooler
Igloo Mini Cooler | Coleman Cooler Satchel

When you move out of your dorm, you’ll have to move your mini-fridge. And when you’re planning to move your mini-fridge, you have to turn it off at least 24 hours in advance. So what happens to all those snacks and drinks you still want to eat? Well, if you’re me, you’ll throw them away because you have no way to keep them cold, and then you’ll be sad because you have no snacks left. So listen, don’t go hungry. Get a little cooler bag to put those leftover goodies in, and you can snack until you get them safely home to another fridge (or until they’re gone, whichever comes first).

Hopefully, you’re able to cram it all into your own vehicle, but if you end up needing to move a lot of stuff over a long distance and don’t want to make multiple trips, this will be a good place to get started. Good luck, and enjoy dorm move-out day!

Last modified on October 5th, 2022

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