Sanity-saving tips for college moves

Making the move to a college residence can be both exciting and frustrating. (BPT)

Sanity-saving tips for college moves

(BPT) Every year, thousands of young Americans move out of their bedrooms in Mom and Dad’s house and into a college dorm or off-campus apartment. In fact, 68 percent of students at four-year colleges and 56 percent of two-year college students either live on campus or in off-campus residences, rather than with their parents, according to the American Association of Community Colleges.

Making the move to a college residence can be exciting and frustrating, thrilling and nerve-wracking all at the same time. You may think you don’t have that much to move, but once you start packing boxes, you quickly discover all the details and moving parts involved in setting up your home away from home.

The moving experts at Penske Truck Rental offer some tips to help make college moves go smoothly:

1. Know your move-in date. Colleges establish dates when students can move into on-campus housing. If you’ll be leasing an apartment off campus, agree with the landlord and any roommates on a date for your move. Once you know when you can move in, you can start preparing.

2. Plan what you’ll take. College dorms are small and college apartments usually aren’t much bigger. Plus, you may be sharing your college home with others, so space will be at a premium. Make a checklist of essential items you’ll need to take, and plan to leave everything else at home. Not sure what to take? offers a handy checklist to get you started.

3. Reserve your rental truck. Pop culture would have you believe a bunch of plastic moving crates and the back of your compact car are sufficient for a college move, but the truth is you’ll probably need more vehicle space for your move. In fact, fall is a popular time for moving truck rentals because so many students head to college. You’ll need to reserve your truck at least two weeks in advance. Penske offers a 10 percent discount for college students and another 10 percent if you book online. Most college students can accomplish their move with a 12- or 16-foot truck, but if you’re unsure what size you’ll need, visit for help calculating truck size.

4. Pack smart. Don’t wait until the last minute to start packing; you’ll stress yourself (and your family) needlessly. Begin packing well in advance, working through your checklist and marking off items as they go into boxes. Label each box with your name and a number. As you mark items off your checklist, note the box number beside the item so you’ll know where everything is when you arrive at school. Wait to pack items you’ll need right up until moving day, like medicines.

5. Drive safely and stay secure. Driving a truck takes some extra care and attention. Trucks are wider and taller, and need more space to maneuver and stop than a passenger vehicle does. Be especially careful when the truck is full. Abrupt moves and hard stops can shift the load inside the truck and cause damage to your belongings. If you’ll need to stop overnight somewhere, park in a well-lit location and padlock the truck’s rear door.

6. Don’t forget important documents. The last thing to go in the passenger compartment of the truck with you should be a bag or purse containing vital documents, like registration forms, dorm confirmations and your wallet containing the one credit card you’ll need, your driver’s license, and any other essentials.

Moving into a college residence is exciting, whether you’re doing it for the first time or the third. With some preparation, planning and early reservation of your rental truck, the move doesn’t have to be stressful, too. You can find more college moving tips at

35 thoughts on “Sanity-saving tips for college moves
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