How To Master MIT Move-in Day

Move-in day is one big logistics nightmare. Most likely, you’ll have to deal with renting a truck, understanding parking regulations, buying and selling furniture, forwarding your mail from your previous address, turning on utilities, scheduling installation dates, filling up your fridge, packing and unpacking, and a slew of other tasks that will pop up.

During my move-in this week, I learned a lot of insider tips about moving in at MIT, some of which may help you, my fellow Beaver, in your upcoming move. Come close and listen up.

Visit the MIT Furniture Exchange

MIT Furniture Exchange
The MIT Furniture Exchange is a bargain shopper’s paradise.

If you’re in need of basic furniture and household supplies, such as dishes or floor lamps, look no further than the MIT Furniture Exchange, a service project of the MIT Women’s League since 1958 that sells all kinds of used furniture and household goods at bargain prices. The store is open to the MIT, Harvard, Suffolk, and Boston University students, all of which much bring their student IDs. If you don’t have your ID yet, you can also bring an acceptance letter. Make sure to have your student ID number on hand, though, as they need that information for your purchase receipt.

On my trip to the Furniture Exchange, I scored a floor lamp and large area rug for $25 total. Floor lamps tend to run around $10, which seems to be the Craigslist market rate as well. IKEA rugs are $15. Couches start at around $100 and don’t go up too much from there.

It’s a budget student’s heaven. Go get your bargain shopping on, friends.

Craigslist It Up

I furnished my living room for under $700 using mostly Craigslist.

If you already have a rental truck on hand, Craigslist could be your furniture savior. It features a range of dingy to high-end used furniture, of which you can typically find some amazing digs.

I purchased a couch, chair, ottoman, wine fridge, bar stools, some floor lamps, patio furniture, and even a bamboo plant, all from Craigslist, totaling me less than $700 total. The wine fridge alone is valued at nearly $1,000, so I got some major bargains from my day of Craigslist mania.

My strategy was to contact every seller I was interested in en masse, telling them that I had a moving truck for the entire day on Saturday (I contacted them Friday night and Saturday morning). I asked them all to text their responses as to whether their furniture was still available, since I’d be driving around, and then I set out for the day.

At sunset, I had most of the goods I needed, and I headed home to set up shop. It’s looking pretty good!

Check Out Building Bulletin Boards

Buildings highly populated with students are likely to have a few move-out sales going on during your move-in.

While moving in and picking up goods from nearby MIT dorms, I noticed the plethora of bulletin board flyers announcing moving sales. Above is a look at a flyer that just popped up next to the elevator in my building, 100 Memorial, which is located on the MIT campus.

Students or tenants who are moving are amazingly enterprising with these flyers, listing all kinds of goods, from furniture and shelving to books, decorations, and accessories. Keep an eye out for flyers on move-in day — you may find yourself a deal on something you were planning to pick up anyway!

Lean on Alums

Graduating MIT students who are moving away are more than happy to lend a hand and sell what they’re not taking with them.

The MIT community, I am finding, is amazing supportive through everything you’re going through, not just academics — and this includes your move-in woes.

Current students and alums have been through the pains of moving in, and they’re here to help, especially those who are moving out and have mutual interests in making a smooth transition.

Check out the various Google Groups and Facebook Groups you may be a part of. You’ll find postings from recently graduated MIT students who are moving out, selling their course packs and books, as well as furniture and other items.

I recently met recent Sloan graduate Enrique Bay and his wife, Daniela, who are moving to Mexico this month, through Enrique’s moving sale post to the MIT Sloan Class of 2015 Google Group. Attached to his post was an intricate Google Spreadsheet with all of the items he was selling, including a computer monitor, which I was in need of. I visited their home in the Eastgate family housing community, and when I left, I not only had a new monitor, but I also had some decorative pillows, a tool kit, a desk organizer, a charging station, a beautiful palm tree, and two new friends who helped me carry everything back to my apartment — even the palm, which got a ride on a hand truck!

Prior to and during your move-in, make sure you’re reaching out to alumni and current students to help you out! They’re more than happy to lend a hand, and you’ll usually find something in common — the least of which is that you’re both MITers.

Amazon Prime the Basics

You’ve already got a massive pile of boxes — why not add more to the mix?!

Keep in mind that your move-in is going to be hectic, and you’re going to need to eat, sleep, shower, and so on. Make sure you’ve got food, toiletries, toilet paper, light bulbs, and other necessities on hand.

I highly recommend using Amazon Prime — which enables free two-day shipping on most items you’ll ever need and a number of student deals — to order all of your basics a day or two before your move-in, so that they arrive when you get there. This includes hand soap, body wash, shampoo, conditioner, toilet paper, dish washing liquid, a shower curtain and hooks, and anything else you may be missing and need during the first few days while you’re unpacking and getting settled in.

Beyond these basics, I also recommend just going all out and Amazing Priming a ton of other goods: Paper towels, vitamins, a tension pole shower caddy, office equipment, pillows, a vacuum cleaner, laundry detergent, you name it!

And because you’re now a student, you’re eligible for 50% off of Amazon Prime, so it’s a no-brainer!

Final Tips

Had I known all of this upon my move-in, I would have been much more prepared that I already was. So, I hope these tips will make your transition a bit smoother. My last tip, good friend, is to contact your building and ask whether or not they have hand trucks, shopping carts, or trolleys on hand to lend. As you can see from the photo above, a cart can be extremely useful for maximizing your time when moving in. Had I not had one of these pallet-like carts, I would have made five or six times the trips I made back and forth from my rental truck to my apartment.

Good luck, mate!!

Erica Swallow

Erica Swallow is a technology writer, startup entrepreneur, and status quo wrecker. She is currently an MBA candidate at the MIT Sloan School of Management and her thoughts have been published in a number of esteemed outlets, including Forbes, Entrepreneur, The Wall Street Journal, and The Huffington Post, among others.

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1 Comment

  1. Tips worth reading! My first move required a lot of preparation and research and hopefully things fell into place quickly. What I see here is something new – I see collaboration! There are a lot of useful apps and forums and people, etc, that are glad to lend you a hand and make your moving-in day stress-free. I have a first night box packed with essentials – toiletries, coffee, mugs, etc, because I didn’t want to go through umpteen boxes to find basics, and now you order your things earlier in order to be there on time – awesome! Wish all of you stress-free moving-in days!

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