Waterloo, ON: It’s that special time of year when youngsters and their parents crowd the roadways in University towns and cities. Their large vehicles are jam-packed with personal possessions such that you can’t help but think of a cruel game of Tetris as they putter down the road. It’s that time when mom and dad shed tears for their beloved children as they leave their nests and brave the big world. It’s that time when they pretend to be sad, but then bath in the serenity of an emptier home, whispering, “Thank God for move-in day.”
I myself just moved into a new apartment with three other people. It’s very modest (small) and I require three separate keys just to get into my bedroom. The landlords use a three-key system so that they can charge lots of money to replace a missing key, and I’m certain they’ll be running a business off of my carelessness. For all others who have a set of keys, I highly recommend a key ring attached to a neck strap that you can hang on your doorknob. This way your keys are kept together and you won’t forget them when you leave. Key advice aside (no pun intended), I thought I would share some other move-in tips from my personal experience, having done it twice, for the benefit of other budding University/College students.
I’ll number my tips from one to ten, but don’t assume there is a hierarchy to my advice (unless you really like hierarchies, then you can pretend that some of these are more important tips than others):
1) Blinds. Get some for your window. They work great for saving the casual pedestrian from your nudity.
2) Make a damn list. Don’t be lazy – do it well before you move in. If you have trouble remembering things like me then you’ll definitely want to plan out everything you’re going to take well ahead of time. You will forget to put lots of things on your list, so the benefit of making one early is that you can just keep adding to it until you’ve written down everything you can think of.
3) Compare your list with your roommates. I didn’t think it was going to be an issue, but me and my roommates accumulated an excess of kitchen supplies like mugs, cutlery, measuring cups, and electric kettles (random, yes). In a society where the local Walmart is a short drive away, it’s easy to stockpile lots of crap that won’t even be used. Make sure you and your roommates nail down the necessities and have someone in charge for each item and compare lists so that you don’t have too little or too much of anything.
4) Ensure there’s enough space in your vehicle to transport your belongings. If your dad is like my dad then he’ll have a zealous determination to pack a bed, a dresser, two chairs, a massive teacher’s desk, some boxes of kitchen supplies, bags of clothing, textbooks, and whatever the hell else into a Toyota Sienna. It’s not as easy to do as it seems, at least not without disassembling EVERYTHING into its basic elements and causing some minor structural damage to the furniture along the way. When in doubt, rent a box truck or plan for two trips.
5) Don’t take anything for granted. You’ll suddenly be missing mom’s corn broom and dish soap when you’re tip-toing around the kitchen on grungy floors and maneuvering around piles of dishes festered with rotting food. Most people who move into a place have to start from scratch – everything that you have at home that usually goes unnoticed can often be overlooked when packing. Again, writing a list well ahead of time can help you remember to pack commonplace items like a toilet bowl brush and toilet paper (although most parents will buy you enough bathroom tissue to mummify all your friends).
6) Plan and organize with your roommates. They’re either with you or against you; if they’re with you, you’ll decide as a group where everything goes in shared living spaces and then create a schedule of chores to keep the place clean and tidy. If they’re against you, they’ll either refuse or be apathetic about sharing household tasks in which case you need to subtly enact revenge on them through small but increasingly frustrating acts of vandalism (if they’re female, leave the toilet seat up).
7) Bring the booze with you (but not if you’re underage! That means you, froshie). You probably won’t have time to go to the liquor store amidst the move-in chaos, and there’s nothing better than a stiff drink after a long day of packing, loading, unloading and unpacking. If you’re feeling classy, then warm up those freshly unpacked wine glasses with some vino; I suggest an Argentinian Malbec, which seems to give a lot of “bang” for a poor student budget.
8) Get to know the area, preferably before you get drunk off of your alcoholic provisions and then decide to go running through the streets looking for the convenience store (because you really want Sweet Chili Heat Doritos) and then get lost in a drunken stupor. Some good places to map out are the local food mart, laundry mat, and general supply store. It also might be worthwhile to figure out how to get to school in case you plan on going to class.
9) Food. Get some. Try to convince your parents to buy you groceries before they leave you to your own methods. Use this argument if they’re a little squeamish about it: “Mom/Dad, could you please buy me some food? Food is good because I can eat it and then not be hungry. It is also one of the necessities for staying alive along with water and shelter.”
10) Buy second-hand. You’ll be amazed at how many things are for sale dirt cheap on Kijiji since a lot of upper-year students are moving out as you’re moving in. Look for garage sales and even free stuff dumped at the edge of the curb – you’ll save yourself a lot of money and will be helping to reduce the amount of waste entering our landfills.
With all these tips in mind, I wish you, reader, a successful move-in day. And if you’re already moved in, then you now have this wonderful blog post as a resource for next time (aren’t I modest?).