At the beginning of each school year, hundreds of thousands of college students descend upon cities and towns all around the country.
Let’s Talk College Move-In Day
These kids and their shell-shocked parents carry and drag carton upon carton of “stuff” with which to make their dorm rooms feel like home.
And very often, at the end of each school year, these same students make their mass exodus, leaving behind the sad remnants of what just months before were considered to be “college essentials.”
These are things that were never really needed in the first place, and have now been relegated to the “free for the taking” piles scattered all over campuses and in front of dorms.
It is for that reason, when it comes to a dorm room list, our philosophy is “less is more.” As much as you want to create an environment for your child that will make them feel comforted and nurtured, remember that you can always fill in later.
But, it’s much more prudent (and less expensive) to streamline the list from the get-go.
Lord knows that Move-In Day will be dripping with enough emotional baggage for all of you.
The one thing you don’t need will be more reasons to stress and throw your back out. So,
What’s Really Important to Bring for College Move-In Day
Bedding: Most dorm beds are Twin XL. Just the basics here. Fancy throw pillows are nice, but they’re called “throw” pillows for a reason. Pass on those. Fluffy, the stuffed dog your child has had since preschool will always be welcome.
Bath Supplies: Towels, soap, shampoo, conditioner, shower cap. A shower caddy to transport it all to and from, and a pair of flip flops (showers get scummy).
Techie Stuff: Laptop/computer, phone charger, power strip, task/desk lamp, headphones (roomies can get noisy).
Clothing: Be very discriminating when it comes to this category. Storage in dorm rooms is at a bare minimum. If your child will be in a cold climate, buy a heavy jacket. Sweaters and sweatshirts can double for that if they’re not going to the Tundra. Clothing from home can always be switched out during visits home. And don’t forget the detergent and laundry bag (yes, you can use a pillow case).
Miscellaneous: First-aid kit, snacks, photos of the family (and the pets).
In addition to those things that will be all boxed up when you get there, there are a number of essentials that the parents in our Paying For College 101 Facebook group have recommended you keep on hand even before you start unpacking the bulk of your student’s things.
Helpful Things You’ll Need for Move-In Day
Folding Dolly: Most schools have a group of student volunteers who will be at the ready to help you and your family move in. And even if they do, a dolly will facilitate things, and they will love you for it.
A Fan: It gets really hot in those dorm rooms, and it will seem even hotter because emotions will be high. Knowing exactly where the fan is packed (right on top, hopefully), and taking it out from the get-go will cool off the room, and whatever tempers are on alert.
Toolkit: You will invariably need at least something from that toolkit, and even if it’s just a tape measure or one nail, not having to run to a local Home Depot will add a lot of value to the kit.
Keep it handy, because you know someone else from down the hall will need it as well.
And, it’s a good way for your kid to make friends!
Box of Kleenex: This is for YOU. Keep a box in the car or a package in your purse. We’re sorry to say that you will probably need it once you leave your baby at the dorm.
No one ever said that Move-In Day would be easy. It’s certainly not easy on the heart or your emotions, but with proper planning, there are things you can do that will definitely make it easier on your back and your kid.
Good Luck! You can do this!
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