You are so proud of your child. He got into a great college! And now, it’s that time of year when he needs to pack up for the semester. It is a stressful time for sure, especially if your child is going away from home for the first time. While your emotions are running high, you do not need the added stress of being disorganized and not knowing what to take.
As with a lot of organizing projects, the best way to start is by making a list. Please do not make the mistake of waiting too long – start right away so you have plenty of time. Many colleges offer lists for what your child will need for their education, but as far as clothing, accessories, grooming supplies and supplemental storage containers, you may be on your own. Or, if you are like our household, you are bombarded with ideas of what to buy for your dorm room from local and online retail stores. No dorm room could hold much of what is advertised as “must haves.”
One way to start the list is to divide it into what your child will take from home and what he will need to buy once he gets to school. Write everything down as you think of it.
You need to keep in mind that dorm rooms are not the most spacious places. You may need belt or tie racks and hangers that hold multiple articles of clothing. Bedding will be necessary and double check to see if XL sheet sets and comforters are needed. Maybe throw in a favorite quilt or blanket that reminds the child of home. Photos or other decorations will also add a touch of home to stave off homesickness. A tote to carry grooming supplies to and from the bathroom shower, and grooming supplies themselves, are other necessary purchases
Office supplies like a stapler, paper, pens, etc. can be purchased prior to leaving home, but are readily available on any campus. No college student can survive without a laptop and/or tablet these days. Don’t forget a couple power strips. With all of the electronics, the student will need at least one.
Bookends, a lap desk and a drawer organizer will come in handy. A tiny, clip-on book lamp is great for studying when the room is dark. These can be purchased ahead of time or on campus, depending upon your preference.
Roommates can pool their money to buy or rent things like a mini-fridge. Back in the day, we took a television to college. Most college students use their computers to watch TV today. Alarm clocks are also something from the past. Cell phones have handy alarms on them.
Your child will have to start doing his own laundry. A laundry bag or basket, detergent, stain remover, dryer sheets and a lint roller will be some of the supplies that can be purchased once the move has been made. A container to carry the supplies will be appreciated. In some schools, the laundry machines are computerized and linked to your student debit card, so quarters aren’t necessary.
Think about what the weather will be like for the fall semester. Try not to over pack because there might not be enough space. Once you see your child’s dorm room, additional shelving or other storage supplies may be needed. That is something you might not be able to do in advance unless you have already seen the room. The majority of winter clothes might be able to stay at home and then brought to school after your child comes home for Thanksgiving (and he can bring the summer clothes home at that time).
Depending on the size of the campus, your child could take a bicycle with him to college. Most colleges have bike racks around campus since biking is a popular mode of transportation. A bike lock is a must!
Odds and ends you might think about are a sewing kit, basic cleaning supplies and food storage containers. Lastly, consider nearby hotels if your child is going far away to school. Prices can vary, so find one in your price range for your next visit.
Make going off to college a good experience for the whole family. Leave your stress behind by planning ahead and getting a jump on your packing list.