Move-in day for first-year students is August 23rd. Are you ready??
Even if you aren’t, it’s good to start thinking and planning how you want to organize your move (you’ve got plenty of time, so no stress). Some of you will dump everything into your car and then dump everything into your room so you can pass out as quickly as possible. Others will make fourteen lists, lose all of them, and pack all your clothes without leaving anything for you to wear. There will be some, too, who pack everything weeks in advance and just stare at the pile of boxes until you can finally load and move them all into your new residence. Any way you move is good enough, just as long as you don’t forget anything and follow the rules UMW sets out for you.
Regardless of your moving style, I want to offer some tips on how to best prepare for the inevitable mess that moving often becomes. I’ll talk about shopping, bed lofting, packing/moving, decorating, and dressing for Fredericksburg’s August weather.
When buying stuff for your new digs and for your classes, keep in mind what UMW recommends you bring and avoid bringing. They have a list that I’m sure you’ve seen already, but I’ll run through a few important things that you should keep in mind as you go.
What you absolutely need:
- Bathroom items – hand soap, shower supplies, sanitary products (pads, tampons, etc.), dental hygiene, towels, makeup/lotion/face wash, band-aids, medicine (you can get free Ibuprofen, cramp tabs, antacids, and other pills in the self-care medical room in the basement of Lee), etc.
- Shower shoes (if you have a hall bathroom) – flip flops, crocs, pick your poison
- Sheets – XL Twin sheets for your bed; regular Twin is too short and will snap off the mattress
- Electronics – laptop, phone, etc., and don’t forget your chargers
- Laundry bag/basket – keeping your dirty clothes in one place will 110% improve your life
- Trash bin and bags – only food trash can go in the kitchen, only bathroom trash can go in the hall bathroom; any personal trash items (packaging, paper, cloth, etc.) needs to go into your own trash bin. If you have a suite-style bathroom, bring a trash bin for that space, too.
- A fan or three – if you don’t have A/C in your room, bring a fan or a few fans. Even if your roommate is bringing one, bring your own. The first two to three weeks of on-campus living can be insanely humid, so having moving air will be a life saver, I guarantee it.
- Food – even though you have a meal plan, keeping a small storage of food in your room helps with the munchies late at night or when you don’t feel like venturing out to get something to eat. Grab some ramen, mac n cheese, granola bars, fruit, veggies, bagels, and any snacks you like to keep around at home.
- Clothing – see the following section for more details
What you could use:
- Shower caddy – something to carry your bathroom stuff in easily; the more pockets, the easier your stuff will be to organize.
- Drying rack – sometimes dryers will let you down and your bed is strewn in damp clothing, so consider grabbing a stand-alone drying rack to save yourself some trouble.
- Power strip – these are allowed, but not extension cords. Remember: power strips have a switch and multiple outlets; extension cords are really long and only have a few outlets.
- Lamps – you’ll have lights in your room, but some people can find them a little too harsh for their eyes, so softer lamps might be preferable. You can get standing lamps, desk lamps, reading lamps, whatever your heart desires.
- Mattress padding – the room mattresses are not the softest, so if you need extra padding, don’t hesitate to get some. XL Twin padding might be much pricier than the regular Twin stuff, but honestly the regular size will work out just fine. It’ll be under your sheets anyway, so it shouldn’t dislodge while you sleep.
- Office supplies – scissors, tape, a stapler, printer paper, notebooks, binders, etc. Bring with you what you would use in high school to start. It might take a while to figure out what your preferred note-taking items are, but take with you what you’re most comfortable using. I personally only use notebooks and pencils, aside from books required for class.
- An agenda/calendar – you might just use your phone to remind yourself of assignments and class times, but if you need a physical item to keep track of time, consider getting one of these. Dry erase calendars are a great way to keep on top of assignments; they’re big and easy to change. If you want to get an agenda, stop by the UMW bookstore and pick one up for free from the check-out counter.
- A printer – you can survive without one; campus printing is 10 cents per black-and-white page, 50 cents per color page. If you can’t afford to print on-campus or maintain a printer, bring your own printer paper to the James Farmer Multicultural Center and they will let you use their printer for free.
- Repair supplies – a small sewing kit, a tool kit, duct tape, string or yarn, etc. Just in case something needs a quick fix. You can find a lot of this stuff at a dollar store during school sales.
- Mini fridge – each residence hall has a communal fridge, but I’ll be completely honest with you: people stealing food could very well be a problem in your res hall. Mini fridges are an easy way of ensuring your food is always there for you. Remember to coordinate with your roommate on who brings the fridge and don’t get one bigger than 4.5 cubic feet.
- Dishes – you’ve got a meal plan, so dishes probably won’t be a big priority. You can get free plastic cups at Club Carnival and other events, but I’d recommend bringing a couple mugs. You can drink coffee, eat soup, cook food, and do pretty much anything in a good size mug. Get some utensils, too, so you don’t end up drinking your food.
- Cookware – if you plan on cooking, get a medium size pot and pan as well as an 8×8 cake pan (they’re small, cheap, and most food will cook easily in them). Each building has a stove and oven somewhere, so you can cook if you want!
- Coffee maker – Keurigs are still crazy convenient as far as res hall coffee machines go, but if your coffee maker turns off automatically, you can bring it with you. Also consider water heaters, if you’re not the coffee type and don’t want to make the trip to the microwave.
- Decorations – anything that couldn’t potentially burst into flames is pretty much the only requirement when buying decorations. Just remember: no tapestries, no candles, no heating appliances. This is the biggest issue that UMW safety will get on you about, so avoid the hassle and stick to what you’re allowed to keep around.
If you forget anything, you can pick up any items at the UMW bookstore – especially regarding class supplies. If you need food, definitely take a short walk over to Giant in Eagle Village. If you need cheap supplies for hygiene or anything else you might have forgotten, stop in the Dollar General in Eagle Village. This will require a short walk/bike ride, but it’ll be worth it if you’re tight on cash and don’t want to depend too much on the bookstore, since it can be pricey.
I remember when I was a freshman, we had to put in requests to get our beds set up how we wanted prior to getting on campus. There was no way of determining how many notches were a reasonable height, so a lot of us had to guess. Luckily (perhaps), you get to change your own bed height once you get on campus! Just find your RA to get the tools and a friend to help with the adjustments, and you’re good to go! I will warn you, though, the rails are heavy, and you’ll need a few people if you want to bunk or loft your bed. In some rooms, the beds will already be bunked/lofted, depending on the room size and the number of roommates you have. If you can, get your RA to stick around in case they can help out. Here are UMW’s guidelines on bed adjustments.
When packing your items, make sure you fit as much stuff as possible into boxes, crates, or bags to make moving easier. Label your items with your building name and room number (ex. Ball 210). This will make the Move-In Crew’s job exponentially easier and will ensure you don’t lose any of your items.
Move-in starts early, so get there with plenty of time to beat the heat and the rush. Bring lots of water and some snacks if you need extra protein. Eat breakfast before you leave, too. The Move-In Crew will help you get all your stuff to your door as fast as humanly possible. Your stuff will be in your hands, then it’ll be at your door. Don’t forget to thank them! They’re volunteers, so any appreciation makes their work worth it.
Once your stuff is at your door, get your key from the OLs and put everything in your room. Open your window, turn on all the fans you brought, and try to cool down before you start unpacking (provided you don’t have A/C). If you plan on going anywhere after everything is in your room, don’t forget to plug in your mini fridge so it’s cold by the time you get back and keep your fans on so air circulates while you’re gone.
Make sure you keep all your stuff on your side of the room, whichever side that is. Hopefully you have already contacted your roommate(s) and figured out who prefers what (top bunk, window-side, etc.) before moving in. Keeping your stuff in your own part of the room starts your relationship with your roommate off right and makes unpacking a whole lot easier.
As mentioned before, avoid things that could burst into flames. You can hang curtains if you spray them with flame-retardant, but if you do, keep the spray with you so you can prove that you did. RAs will check, so keep it out until inspections are over. Again, don’t bring tapestries, candles, or appliances that heat up. The buildings are all pretty old and thus susceptible to fires.
Make sure you pack plenty of clothes to get you through the warm weather. If you don’t have A/C (and often even if you do), you’re probably gonna get sweaty. The heat and humidity usually sticks around two or three weeks into the semester, so bring enough warm-weather clothing to get through that much time. If you plan on going home in those first few weeks, just bring your heavier, fall clothes back when you do instead of lugging them up with the rest of your stuff. If you’re not going home for a while, bring some jackets and a couple long sleeve shirts, but warm-weather clothing will absolutely be the priority at first.
Also, don’t forget pajamas. It might be silly to mention, but the last thing you want to do is sleep in sweaty clothes because you forgot to pack something to sleep in.
Laundry on campus costs $1.75 per wash and $1.75 per dry. You can pay with EagleOne or quarters. You can also check out eSuds when you do laundry to monitor the machines you use.
There’s plenty of messy bits to moving that I didn’t mention, but hopefully this helps you work through your process a bit better. At any rate, it’s something to consider before you start. Good luck with packing, and be sure to leave a comment or send me a message on Twitter if you have any questions about your packing process!