Tips for shipping your belongings cross-country
As you head to college in the fall, you're going to want to take a lot of the comforts of home with you: books and CDs you love, your oversized teddy bear, your favorite lamp. Here's how to get all your stuff to your dorm quickly and inexpensively with minimum stress.
First off, pack well
Follow the guide that your college has sent you. If they say you need extra long twin sheets, pack those. If they say that they provide a mini-fridge, don't bother dragging your parent's spare one along. Label everything well and be as organized as possible so that when your things arrive you will be able to access what you need quickly. Consider making a list of what stuff is in what box so you know if anything's been lost. Lastly, buy what you can once you get to school if it will be more cost-effective.
Movers may not be necessary
Get estimates from movers and compare them to what shipping companies charge. Unless you have very large furniture items, a moving company might not be the best option. If your dorm room is already fairly well stocked, a shipping company for boxes will be your best bet.
Remember the roommate
If you will be getting a roommate, find out in advance how big your room will be and then cut it in half. Compare that to the amount of stuff you're shipping. Be critical about what you're shipping. If you never use it at home, you probably won't use it at school either.
Consider shipping ground
For things that you will not need right away, many shipping services have a "ground" (versus "air") option that may take a few weeks longer to arrive. Bring what can get you through the first week or so with you, ship what you may need in the near future the traditional way, and everything else can go ground.
Keep tabs on your items
When you ship your goods, make sure that you get a receipt with a tracking number. Most companies will provide a website and/or a phone number for you to use to follow the shipment as it makes its way to you.
Time it right
Figure out when you want your things to arrive. If you plan to have your things arrive with you, arrange this with your college. They may have a standard procedure with what they do with packages that arrive at college before students do.
Pick the right shipping company
Shop around at different shipping companies to see which ones will work best for you. Price is important but so are additional features some companies offer, like those that offer to pick up goods at your home as opposed to making you drop them off at a center.