How To Hack Your Move-In (Without Packing)

You’ve been thinking about move-in day all summer. Binge watching every dorm tour on YouTube, ensuring that all items match your dorm’s aesthetic, and keeping your local Target in business has consumed your energy. Not to mention, your packing skills are making you question whether you’re incredibly efficient or just forgetting everything. Dorm packing can be overwhelming at times and it’s a long process. Take a break to learn some quick tips for hacking your move-in beforehand so your first weeks on campus go smoothly!  

  1.  Maintain One Packing List – This tip is basic, but key. Be sure to document all your necessities into a Google Doc or notebook. Don’t worry if you don’t jot down everything you need at first! As time passes, dorm items will pop into your mind (and at the most random times). But once they do, add them to your list immediately! Trust me, you don’t want to forget about bringing medicine or water. To get started, plan your bed items first and branch out. I personally went through the motions of my morning routine so I didn’t forget the small stuff. But even if you do, you will have a chance to buy forgotten items at County Market, Target, Walgreens or Marketplace Mall near campus!

  2. Take advantage of U of I’s Social media – These days, people are using social media to connect and meet new people more than ever before. If you haven’t already, make a Facebook profile and join your graduating class’ Facebook page to connect with your peers, be notified of welcome week events, and even buy used textbooks from upperclassmen! One of my favorite things about the Class of 2022’s page was the number of GroupMe chats freshman created. GroupMe was especially useful for finding peers who lived in my residence hall, are MCB majors, and are pre-med. Social media especially comes in handy when you need quick answers to your questions. While you’re at it, don’t forget to explore all things move-in through the blog!

  3.  Be Aware of RSOs and Research Opportunities – Want to get the most out of your UIUC experience? Join a registered student organization! There are over one thousand registered student groups to choose from! Students can register on Quad Day where many extracurriculars gather to invite new students. Getting active on campus early can lead to future leadership positions and open new doors of opportunity. Use the UofIConnections database to browse pre-med fraternities and photography clubs among other activities. While Illinois offers a diverse student body, research is another campus hallmark. Our centers and programs are both disciplinary and interdisciplinary so there’s something for everyone. Also, check to see if any of your professors are involved in undergraduate research and/or have published their research so you can be more involved.

  4. Consider Moving in Early – Many resident halls offer early move-in options so students can skip the hassle and traffic of official move in day (when every other student moves to campus). Not only is early move-in less busy but you may be offered assistance from upperclassmen to help carry your belongings and speed up the process! Plus, you’ll meet new people, get settled, explore campus, and even participate in fun activities early. My early move-in experience was practically painless considering that I didn’t have to break a sweat lifting my heavy boxes (to the top floor may I add). It felt great that I could conserve more energy and time towards organizing my space!

  5. Enjoy Hometown Comforts – You may be itching to pack up your things and get away from you inner circle. But before you embark on the college adventure, dedicate time towards your friends and family this summer. Moving away from home, adjusting to the college workload, and finding your routine can occasionally make you feel homesick. Trust me, you’ll want to look back on those times when you and your friends went on spontaneous road trips and spent hours talking over hot drinks. You spend nine months of the year studying and working. Spend your three summer months before college doing what you love with whom you love. You may even collect some great conversation starters to use when making new friends!

Aside from packing, there’s ways to make your first days on campus a breeze. Your master packing list, social media use, early move in, and interest in extracurriculars will especially help. But don’t forget to enjoy the summer breeze!


Wishing you an easy move-in!





Class of 2022
My major is Molecular and Cellular Biology (more commonly and lovingly known as MCB) in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. I'm on the pre-med track—I’ve dreamed of becoming a doctor since I could spell the word!