Sustainable Move-In Checklist

Move-in Day is just around the corner: You may have seen our End of Semester To-Do list, and wished you had a similar guide for the beginning of the year. Whether you’re gearing up for first days or moving in for the last time, these tips will help you to move in more sustainably.

  • Bring only what you need: Remember, every single item you bring into your dorm room has to be taken out again at the end of the year. And it’ll all weigh twice as much. (First years, there will be no Eph Movers to help you out in May!) The fewer items you don’t need, the less you’ll end up throwing away.
  • Get Thrifty: Stuff in a dorm room is often broken or lost, so why buy everything new? Bring items you already use at home and/or buy secondhand when you arrive. Williamstown’s First Congregational Church Tag Sale (September 8th 2018, 8:30am-4pm) is the best place to find secondhand items. Floor lamps, hangers, vacuums, storage bins, and school supplies are just a few of the things commonly found at this tag sale. There are also plenty of year-round thrift stores in the Williamstown area, including MAC Treasures, that may have what you need.
  • Wait until you arrive to buy things: Take it from an alum: it’s always easier to determine what you need after arriving to campus. For example, if the kitchen in your dorm has a huge fridge, you might not need a minifridge. If you’ve got a four-poster bed, you won’t need bed risers. You get the idea. Most other appliances can be purchased at the North Adams Walmart or secondhand, as mentioned above.
  • Pack Sustainably: Use cardboard boxes instead of plastic garbage bags to pack your stuff. Plastic bags often rip after a single use, but cardboard is durable and recyclable. You can pick some up for free at your local supermarket or bookstore (Just ask the staff!). A few reusable plastic bins are also handy as they can be used for storage later.
  • Don’t pack with styrofoam because it can’t be recycled on campus!
  • Save your Boxes and Bags for moving out: A few minutes of breaking down the cardboard boxes you use to move in and storing them under your bed will save you lots of sweat, money and stress at the end of the year. If they are ripped, be sure to recycle them in your dorm.
  • Sporks aren’t just for WOOLF: A reusable set of dishes is more sustainable than disposable ones. Multi-use utensils like sporks mean you will also have less to wash and lose (and you’re never too old to write your name on things!)
  • Buy green: Power strips, drying racks, CFL or LED bulbs for lamps, and a reusable water bottle* are all useful investments that will help save energy and water. The Zilkha Center sells reusable bottles for $10. Check out our article on Sustainable Dorm Tips for more information.
  • Look for the Energy Star logo when buying appliances, because they use less energy.
  • Travel Green: Bring your bike (and a helmet!) for grocery shopping or exploring campus. If you don’t own a bike or live far away, the Purple Bike Coalition (PBC) rents out bikes for free during the year.  You can access the rental form here.

*Because all new Ephs receive a free reusable water bottle during First Days, you won’t need buy one before arriving on campus.

For general move-in information, please visit the Office of Student Life (OSL) website. Additional move-in guidelines specific to first years are available at

Sarah Ritzmann ’17 is a Sustainable Writing Intern with the Zilkha Center for Environmental Initiatives