College Move-Out Tips for Students

A woman boxing and packing belongings for college move-out

The end of the semester before going home for the summer can be a stressful time for college students. They are dealing with finals, cleaning out their dorm room, figuring out how to get everything home, and trying to line up a job for the summer all at the same time. Like most major tasks, students will have an easier time with a college move-out if they make checklists, set small goals, and don’t try to do everything at once.

Start the Packing Process Before Final Exams

Taking a final exam in several courses requires the student’s full attention. This is not the time to be packing their dorm room as well. Students should start the process by making a list of the items they need up until the day they move out along with those they can pack several weeks in advance.

For example, students can take down wall hangings and prepare them for moving now while keeping items such as their smartphone, charger, and a change of clothes out until the last minute. Out-of-season clothes and books they haven’t used this semester are additional examples of items that students can pack weeks before moving out of their dorm room for the summer.

Sort Items Carefully to Avoid Going Home with a Roommate’s Belongings

Dorm roommates should consider creating a moving plan together to ensure that they don’t accidentally take each other’s items. From clothes to books to kitchen utensils, it’s easy to mix things up and forget what belongs to who when it’s all in one big pile. A useful strategy for roommates is for each person to move their personal belongings to their own side of the room a few weeks before moving day.

Consider Leaving Some Items with a Local Storage Facility

Since college students will only be home with their parents for less than three months, they might want to leave some items behind to ease the load on the car going home. Packing items they know they will need right away in the fall into one box and then picking them up from storage a few days before classes start will save time and stress.

Many storage facilities now offer the option of having a pod delivered to campus that the student fills up with items for storage. Once the pod is full, students just need to arrange a time for the storage company to retrieve it. They will then need to call to have the full pod returned to them in the fall.

Clean the Dorm Room to Avoid College Move-Out Fines

Most colleges have strict rules about tasks students must accomplish before surrendering their dorm rooms at the end of a school year. Here are several cleaning tasks college students should expect to complete before they vacate the premises from the housing staff at UC Berkeley:

  • Be sure to remove all personal belongings from the dorm room. Students who leave items like books and clothes behind will be in for a rude awakening when they find out the campus janitorial staff has disposed of the items.
  • Empty trash and recycle bins at the appropriate location on campus and leave the empty containers in the dorm room.
  • Vacuum the carpet or sweep and mop the floor.
  • Return any dishes or silverware in the dorm room to the campus cafeteria.
  • Empty all drawers, closets, shelves, and wardrobes and clean these areas.
  • Clean the bathroom thoroughly, including the toilet, sink, shower, and shelving units to ensure proper sanitation.
  • Claim all mail from the campus post office and complete paperwork with the local post office to temporarily forward mail for the summer.
  • Return all keys to campus security in person.

Keep in mind that some colleges will have additional cleaning expectations. The above list covers the bare minimum tasks students should expect to complete in the several days preceding their move-out day. Shipping some items home before the end of the semester is another option to make moving day easier.

Pay Outstanding Fees and Get a Receipt

Before moving out for the summer, or for good in the case of college seniors, students should visit the registrar’s office to determine if they have any outstanding fees. If so, they will need to pay their fees to avoid accruing interest charges. Students should ask for a receipt to serve as proof of payment if the registrar forgets to offer them one.

Dress Comfortably on College Move-Out Day

College move-out day typically involves several trips up and down the stairs, not to mention getting dirty. Students and anyone helping them should get a good night’s sleep, eat a nutritious breakfast, and be ready to work hard to transition from college to home for the summer. Most importantly, they should dress in clothes that allow them to move freely and that they are not afraid of ruining with stains or rips.