Seven Tips for Moving to College

Moving your son or daughter to college usually means trying to fit an active, dynamic life into a shared space that’s the size of most students’ single bedrooms at home. And while the process may sound daunting, if you think back to your college days you’ll soon realize that it really will be fine. It’s a rite of passage and an incredible leap forward toward adulthood. It’s also the perfect time for your young student to start learning that sometimes less really is more.

That said, you don’t want to leave your son or daughter without the necessities that a modern college experience requires – like a fully functional wardrobe, a computer and an organized space that feels more or less like home. So to help you help your student along the way, consider these seven tips:

  • Durable under-the-bed storage boxes are a sound investment. Most college dorms have very limited closet/storage space, so a couple of under-the-bed storage boxes can go a long way toward giving him or her the space needed for clothes, bedding and towels.
  • When packing clothes, especially, but really anything – challenge your son or daughter to think about who they are and who they want to be. College is a time of growth and reinvention – and there’s no better time for them to let go of their past than now. This should help them focus, pare down and pack the things they love most, use most or mean “home” to them.
  • Find out what furniture will be in the dorm room, the size of the room and how the space is configured before they move in. That way, if they need to buy a desk, bed, shelving or even bed linens, they’ll know exactly what they’re up against.
  • If your student will be within a couple hours’ drive of home or will be back to visit a few times each season, you might encourage him or her to only pack clothes and shoes that make sense for the season, and/or will transition well from one season to the next. When they come home, they can always bring back what they don’t need and grab more of what they do.
  • Give your son or daughter a small tool kit featuring flat- and Phillips-head screwdrivers, a hammer, tape measure, nails, screws, duct tape and a box cutter. That way, when decorating or when repairs need to be made, your student will have the things he or she needs to get the job done.
  • Buy plenty of ultra-thin hangers. They might be the stuff of infomercials and home shopping networks, but ultra-thin hangers really do save space and make it easy to store more clothes in the closet. Plus, they keep things organized – an added bonus for any student.
  • When it’s finally time to pack, try to pack in large plastic bins and hard sided boxes (you can even pull your holiday decorations out and use them for the trek). It will make things not only easier to stack and move, but also easier to carry. And don’t forget – if you need packing supplies, your local moving company might offer discounts to students, so be sure to check. You’ll just need to stop by the movers’ shop with your student – and make sure he or she has a college ID available.

Finally, if you can – try to help your student make the move mid-week. That way, you can avoid the weekend crush of parents, students and boxes all headed in the same direction. Plus, it might just give your son or daughter a couple of days to settle in before getting a roommate.


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