College Series: How to Pack the Car and Survive Move In Day

Welcome to the fourth installment in our six-part college series. If you have an upcoming college student, you may want to check out parts 1-3, the drive to the orientation and meeting the roommate, the debate on whether you should let your college student take the car to school or not, and the ways you can savor time with your teen before college. Moving to go to college for the first time is a daunting task of reorganization of everything that you own. Your teen has lived with you all their life so may have items in every room of the house. Between the number of bathrooms, bedrooms, and other rooms in your home, there are items everywhere because you ultimately had the space. However, packing to go to a dorm or even an apartment which may be smaller than what they were accustomed to can be daunting and at times downright frustrating. Sorting through the tons of items that they may want to take with them versus the items that they may not need, I'm here to share with you some tips on how you can pack the car and survive a move in day.


While you may think you are just about to lose your mind and toss that white flag to surrender everything while packing your car for college, STOP. Do not allow your frustration to overwhelm you, you can pack your car and survive a college move in day, we are here to help!

The first step to every first year college move is to plan, seriously plan ahead and think about the logistics. Make note of how much space you have within the car you are using, how many passengers are riding along and what space is left to use for your stuff. Once you know how much space you have in the car to hold your items, it’s time to plan what items you will be packing to take to college.



Make sure to pack only items that you need to bring with you on move in day and items that you may already own; do not buy any new items. More than likely you'll be able to find those same items that you were thinking of buying at a local discount retailer nearby. You do not want to fit more than is absolutely necessary in that small space you may have. Do not worry about perishable foods; they won’t make the trip – trust me. Feel free to pack some non-perishable items if space allows.

Try not to use cardboard boxes; vacuum seal bags work better as that allows you to fit more into your car at once. Think about investing some cash into waterproof vacuum-storage bags for all items that you can possibly fit into those bags as a means to minimize cardboard box usage. Crates are also a great way to transport items since they are a little bit easier to carry. They can also be used for storage. While packing your items try to use towels and other soft items as packing material rather than wasting money on expensive packing material that you will just toss out anyways.


The last step to ensuring that you are able to pack up your car and survive move in day is to label everything. Make sure to have all bags and boxes labeled so that you can easily access the immediately necessary items that first night in your dorm. Take my word for it, you won’t have all of your bags unpacked on that first night and will want to have quick access to the things you need to survive that first overnight at college.

Being away for the very first time can be overwhelming and the tears may start flowing which is understandable. You're losing your little one and they are growing up and about to be on their own for the very first time, but together you can tackle move in day together and make it a success.

Let's discuss: Are there any other survival tips that you have to share?