Well, here we are folks! Welcome to the start of August! It’s that time of year again: parents starting prepping their college students for “The Big Move” back to dorms or apartments. Over at Maple Creek, we’re getting ready to push the last two chicks out of the nest (LOL!) as they embark on their next adventure at Baylor.
This is round three for us, and I’d like to think that I’ve learned a few things from my first two experiences. It wasn’t always pretty – or peaceful! – but we got everyone settled in and set up for their first semester away. For my fellow college-student mommas, I thought I’d share some tips and tricks that helped make move-in day a huge success. The goal is to keep the process as stress-free as possible from start to finish!
My NUMBER ONE recommendation is….
When you get that first college essentials list, it’s tempting to rattle through the whole thing in an attempt to be AS PREPARED AS POSSIBLE, which tends to mean more bags, more packing, and more mess.
I’ve found that you can wait on buying many on these “essentials” until you arrive at the dorms and start to get settled. Make a list of things that you think you may need (or know your kids can’t live without, like favorite shoes, or a blanket or comforter from home) and compare lists when you get there.
It’s definitely a different generation from when us mommas went to college, and with the touch of a button most major retailers can have what you need in a day or two. When my oldest moved in I made the mistake of purchasing everything but the kitchen sink. Lots of the stuff, he never even used! So be cautious when packing up the car. If you, like us, have a one- or two-day car trip ahead of you, a lighter packed car can be helpful!
Photo by Erol Ahemd on Unsplash
Unless you’re flying, there’s no real need to buy a ton of suitcases for clothes…because, as we found out the hard way, where do you store them once they’re empty?!
Large heavy-duty garbage bags work great to put clothes in. For nicer garments, you can keep the hangers on and pull white garbage bags up from the bottom to tie at the top. Voila! Cheap, inexpensive garment bags that can be recycled and reused.
Photo by Erda Estremera on Unsplash
Yup, that’s right…make sure your student has their very own first aid kit! Not the coolest accessory on the block, but definitely one that will come in handy.
Fill with band-aids and the usual supplies, PLUS extra goodies like Emergen-C, cold medicine, multivitamins, scissors, a tiny sewing kit (for those at-the-worst-moment loose buttons) and even different kinds of tape. The essentials are up to you!
Just make sure you have a well-rounded kit that’s ready to face down any emergency.
Photo by Jesse Ramirez on Unsplash
This is a big one! Make sure you check the college’s website for all move-in day policies & procedures.
At Baylor, where my children attend, they have teams of students waiting curbside to help unpack cars and direct students to check-in.
The website will also have schedules for parents, things that might be banned from dorms (such as blenders, coffee makers, etc.), parking information and directions to your child’s dorm.
Putting my crew to work!
It sounds simple, but we forgot it in a big way the first time around. Moving in is a lot of work!
It tends to be hot in August, no matter what part of the country you’re in, so bring a small cooler with ice, drinks and snacks to help provide a little pick-me-up during the long day.
If at all possible, bring a small tool kit for hanging things and putting containers and shelving units together.
Figuring out efficient storage can be a little chaotic, so it helps to have at least a hammer and screwdriver.
You can even leave it with your college students so they have it for future use (or if any of that DIY furniture falls apart!).
Photo by Liana Mikah on Unsplash
…and make the bed last. Use the bed as a docking station to put bags and cases.
Once everything is organized and put away, then make the bed. It’s an easy final touch to the dorm room and helps to pull everything together.
Congratulations! You’re almost there! This time next year, you’ll be offering up your own tips & tricks like a pro. If I can gently remind you of one thing – that I constantly, constantly remind myself – it would be to be PATIENT.
This is a huge transition for you and your student, and it isn’t easy on anyone. While this time of growth can be challenging, it’s incredibly rewarding to help set your student up for success as they step into this next chapter of their lives.
Photo by Anton Darius on Unsplash
Friends, do you feel MORE PREPARED for this year? Let me know in the comments if any of these tips helped! Be sure to tag me on Instagram if you try them! @maplecreekmarket ! What’s your college move-in essential? Your favorite moving day memory?
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Have a blessed week, and thanks for reading!