Packing for college should be fun, not stressful. You and your student can be organized and efficient — here’s how!
Hangers, comforters, mattress pads, printer paper, and even toiletries are great candidates. Worried that something might not be in stock? Order ahead for in-store pickup in your student’s university town. (Check our our complete “Bring or Buy?” list here.)
Remind your student that space is extremely limited in freshman dorms. She should start with enough clothes for about two weeks. Two towels are plenty for most students. It’s fine to bring a few favorite books, DVDs, or games; she can also exchange with friends, check things out from the residence hall, or go to the school or local library. (More items not to bring here.)
Having a hard time convincing your student she doesn’t need 40 books or two closets worth of clothes? Suggest that she pick a few items to bring now and grab others next time she’s home. This lets her feel that she’s not really leaving things behind, and gives her some time at school to see if she truly needs them (or if they’ll even fit in her room). This makes sense for seasonal items, too — she can bring one warmer jacket and leave the heavy-duty winter clothes at home until Thanksgiving.
If tensions start to rise, take time out and do something fun together. You’ll be more productive when you return to packing, and it’s a chance to make a few more memories with your student before the school year starts.
Make sure to pack the items that you will need as well. Bring a folder with any move-in day/parking information the university sent, along with a campus map. Take a camera, snacks, a water bottle, and comfortable shoes. You’ll want a family photo to leave in your student’s dorm room, and perhaps a little extra cash. Include a notebook for recording contact information for your student’s roommate and family, your student’s mailbox number, and a shopping list or “ship-from-home” items that you discover throughout the day. (Our Guide to Supporting your Student’s Freshman Year is available on Amazon and includes note-taking space along with great move-in tips.) Don’t forget the tissues!
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