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Top 10 Moving Tips for College Students in New York City

Moving to New York City for college is an exciting adventure and it comes with its fair share of challenges. From finding a place to live on or off campus, to ensuring your belongings arrive safely in the city, you have plenty of things to do before the school year starts.

We’re here to help you navigate this transition smoothly, which is why we compiled the top 10 things every college student moving to New York City needs to know. These tips include everything from planning your move to making sure you follow your building’s moving-in guidelines.

By following these guidelines, you can make your move to the Big Apple a memorable and stress-free journey.

  1. Plan your move in advance. From hiring a moving company to making sure you’ve prepared a box of essential items, there are at least a dozen things you need to tick off of your checklist before moving day comes around. Without a checklist, you’re more likely to miss important details, adding unnecessary stress to your moving plans. To create your own checklist, you can start by reviewing The Padded Wagon’s moving checklist. This is a good starting point that will give you an idea of what to prepare for in the weeks leading up to your move.
  2. Find out how much space is available for you in your dorm room or estimates that the average college or university dorm is about 228 square feet, and you may be sharing that space with a roommate. So whether you’re living on campus, or in an apartment nearby, you need to know how much living space is available for you. If your space is going to be small, don’t fret. There are many ways to maximize a small space including choosing furniture that are multifunctional and easy to stow when not in use.
  3. Determine which items to bring to your dorm or apartment.Downsizing and decluttering are crucial tasks when you’re moving to a smaller place. By choosing items that serve a purpose and bring you joy, you will be creating an intentional environment in your dorm or apartment. Another way of approaching this step is by taking only the essentials with you, then bringing additional items as you discover what other items you will need — and will fit — in your new living space.
  4. Set a budget for your move. Moving costs will depend on the distance of your move, the amount of stuff you’re moving, and whether you need add-on services. Other costs to consider include travel and accommodation, storage, packing materials, and insurance. Again, these costs vary. Most moving companies offer basic carrier liability insurance. You can purchase additional insurance if you have valuable or priceless items. Once you’ve set a budget, aim to stick with it. Hire the services that will give you a lot of value in exchange for your cost.
  5. Research and book movers in advance.  Moving companies offer a variety of services ranging from self-service to white-glove moving. You have many options to choose from based on your needs and budget. For example, you can do everything yourself except drive the van to your college dorm. Or you can hire movers to do everything from packing to unpacking. We wrote a comprehensive guide showing you how to choose a moving company to get the best value for your money, so make sure to check it out before hiring movers.
  6. Prioritize safety when packing your boxes. There are good practices to follow when packing your items, and dozens of ways to pack them the wrong way. For example, you can use a newspaper to fill in the gaps between breakables so they don’t move inside the box. But we don’t advise using acid paper (like the one used in newspapers) when packing collectible comics or magazines. Flammables shouldn’t be placed inside a moving truck. But the tricky thing is some flammables are not so easy to recognize — for example, nail polish and polish remover. To make sure you’re moving safely, we wrote several guides on the topics of packing for an interstate move and how to handle fragile items that you can refer to for more information.
  7. Label boxes according to the room they belong to, and the items contained inside. 
  8. Properly labeled boxes will make it easier for your movers to decide where to unload the boxes. It will keep your move organized and help you unpack your boxes efficiently.  Without labels, you are more likely to misplace boxes or spend more time directing your movers on what to do with each box. If the items in the box are breakable, add labels like ‘‘Fragile” and “This Side Up”. Your movers need to be aware of any breakables so they’ll know how to handle the item correctly.
  9. Pack a box containing items you will need when you arrive at your new dorm or apartment. 
  10. An essentials box will save you the hassle of wading through a dozen boxes just to find a pillow or slipper pair. To prepare an essentials box, think of everything you need during your first night or first few days in a new home. A change of clothes, toiletries, bedding, towels, and kitchen utensils are just some of the things you should consider packing. The essentials box can also be a suitcase which you should carry with you while you travel. It should not be kept inside the moving van.
  11. Pack a separate bag for important documents and valuables. 
  12. Keep your passport, identification, important paperwork, and valuable items like jewelry or electronics in a bag that you’ll carry with you at all times. This way, you won’t risk losing them during the move or having them get mixed up with other belongings.
  13. Check your dorm or apartment’s rules for moving in. If you’re moving with a truck, reserve a parking spot in advance to avoid fines or towing. Most buildings will allow you to move in only during certain hours or days. This is in place to make sure there are no disruptions to the current residents, and to make sure you can use a service elevator, if one is available.Moving to New York City as a college student is a significant step in your academic journey, and it’s essential to make the process as seamless as possible. By planning ahead, assessing your space, decluttering, budgeting wisely, and choosing reliable movers, you can achieve a smooth transition.With these top 10 moving tips, you’ll be well-prepared to embrace the exciting opportunities and adventures that await you in New York City.

Hire The Padded Wagon to Move You To New York City

Moving to a new city is never an easy task. But it can be enjoyable and stress-free when you hire reliable and experienced movers. For over 60 years, The Padded Wagon has been moving New Yorkers to their dream homes, dorms, and rental apartments. Get in touch with us today at 212-222-4880, or book online at