August 14 and 15: Off-Campus Moving Days
Every year on August 14 and 15, thousands of students move in and out of apartments and houses throughout downtown Madison. This is an exciting time, especially for those students who are moving off campus for the first time. Below are some ideas on how to help the process go smoothly, including ways you can be supportive of your student during this important transition.
Students should develop a plan
- Students currently residing in Madison may want to consider moving the bulk of their possessions out early to make move-out day easier. They can donate usable, unwanted items at Goodwill and St. Vincent de Paul Society satellite donation centers strategically placed in the downtown area. Students should correctly dispose of recyclables and trash following City of Madison policies.
- If a moving truck is needed, reserve it well in advance. Some students choose to pool resources and split the cost of a larger truck and/or share personal or family vehicles.
- Have all paperwork and payments for their property owner or management company taken care of ahead of time to make move-in day check-in go more smoothly.
- Set up any utilities in advance to help ensure that they are available at move in.
- Consider coordinating move-in times with roommates and/or plan a move for off hours—if possible, avoid first thing in the morning and noon time, as they tend to be the busiest.
- Encourage your student to discuss shared responsibilities and their approach to keeping their new home safe and secure with his or her roommates. The Tenant Resource Center offers a roommate agreement form that students can complete and sign.
- Students are strongly encouraged to have their personal property insured. If property cannot be insured under your policy and you are not able to add them as a rider to extend coverage to them, students are encouraged to take out a renter’s insurance policy. Students may also want to consider renting or buying a closet safe so that they can secure their valuables.
- Students should talk with their property owner or management company if they find themselves with 12 to 24 hours between when they need to move out of one apartment/house and into their new one. Sometimes they are able to negotiate the move-in or move-out time.
Advice to parents on moving day
Students appreciate the help of friends and family during this hectic time period. Offer to provide a vehicle, storage, and/or lend a helping hand. This is a great opportunity to involve siblings!
Be patient and work cooperatively with everyone you encounter, including property owner and management company staff as well as future neighbors to help the process go as smoothly as possible. Anticipate that unexpected things will arise.
Stay positive about your student’s housing decision. Expect that your student’s new home may not be perfect—Downtown Madison properties range from one to 150 years of age. In addition, the previous resident may have just moved out, and may not have left the property in the condition you would hope for. Students should keep cleaning supplies handy when moving in.
Allow enough time for loading and unloading. There are a number of ongoing road and building construction projects happening in the downtown area that may affect moving day. For current information, visit the City of Madison Traffic Alerts Web site and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation highway construction projects Web site.
Encourage your student to keep property safe and secure by not propping open doors or leaving valuables unattended.
Finding a place to park and unload can be difficult. If long-term parking is needed, check posted signs; some offer on-street parking while others are more restrictive. Your student’s property owner or management company may be able to help.
Encourage your student to thoroughly complete a check-in form upon move-in and keep a copy for his or her records. Students should take photos of areas of concern. If the property owner or management company does not provide this form, your student can download one from the Tenant Resource Center Web site. Students should promptly notify property owners of issues with outdoor lighting, smoke detectors, and locks.
For more information about the overall move-in process and the resources listed above, contact the Parent Program.