It’s go time! Time to move the kids back into their dorms/apartments. We’ve had a great summer but it’s time to go back to school soon. My oldest daughter is a rising senior and my youngest is a rising sophomore, so I’ve done this a few times with varying degrees of success. If you are driving your kid to college, this should be easier. If you are flying, you will need to do a bit more prep. Here are some things to keep in mind:
If you are driving, pack as much as possible directly into the storage bins that you plan on leaving at school. Make sure the empty storage bins will fit under their bed, so you can leave the storage bins there.
If you are flying, don’t bring hard shell luggage. I like the biggest Patagonia rolling duffle bags (expensive) and the IKEA bags (cheap). Also, bring a carry-on sized duffel bag that they can use for short holidays like Thanksgiving. That way they don’t have to check a bag for shorter trips.
If you are driving, leave clothes on the hanger. Zip-tie or rubber band the top of the hangers together and pull a trash bag over them. Take them directly off the closet rod, transport them to college, and then hang them right back up when you get to the dorm. Use the thin velvet hangers, not the thicker plastic ones, to save space.
Label boxes and bags with your kid’s name, dorm, and room number. This way, you can leave your stuff unattended while you find parking, sign in, get lunch, etc. and hopefully no one will mess with it.
Buy the best, thickest mattress pad/topper you can find. The dorm mattresses are hard and thin, and the kids hang out and study in their beds, so you’ll want it to be comfortable. I would definitely spend my money on a good mattress topper over a mini fridge or microwave.
I haven’t done this, but I’ve heard of it and I plan to try it this year. Buy a pool noodle and long zip-ties. Before you set up anything else in the room, attach the pool noodle to the mattress frame on the side against the wall, then move the bed into place up against the wall. This will prevent the phone, the charger, the homework, etc. from falling down between the bed and the wall.
I also didn’t do this because my kids would be mortified but you might want to get a bed rail. I have a friend whose kid fell out of their lofted bed on their first night. Kids have had major brain injuries from falls. Sounds unlikely but if they are overtired (or drunk) they might fall out of bed.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) protects the privacy of medical records. As soon as your child turns 18, you no longer have access to their medical information even if they’re still covered by your health insurance. This means that if there is an accident or health emergency and your kid is hospitalized, medical personnel will not be able to consult with you without your kid’s consent. Contact your attorney before your kid leaves for college to make sure they sign a HIPAA authorization (and a POA - both health and financial).
Lofted beds are hard to get into, so bring or buy a step stool. Just one of those cheap little plastic ones works fine. I got one from IKEA but anything will do. And their friends can sit on it when they come visit your kid’s dorm room.
Bring command hooks - they don’t let you nail anything into the walls. Get the ones that are strong enough to hang a full length mirror and others that are small enough to hang wall decor.
Bring a power strip or two. And a fan. And a small broom and dustpan or a small vacuum and maybe a steam iron. The students are responsible for cleaning their own dorm rooms, so some Lysol wipes and trash bags are a good idea. And a desk mirror and/or a full length wall mirror. And a laundry basket. And laundry detergent. And a shower caddy and shower shoes.
Have your kid pack way less clothes than they think they’ll need. You can always mail stuff if they need it.
Buy toiletries there unless you are driving. Some people from no sales tax states buy toiletries at home if their kid is going to school in a state with sales tax. Note that in small college towns, the Targets run out of stuff like mattress toppers during move-in day, so you might need to order that online or bring it with you, but they should have plenty of shampoo and toothpaste.
Bring a screwdriver and an allen wrench set to loft the bed. The RA might be able to lend you one, but I wouldn’t count on it.
Don’t forget that the dorm room beds are all Twin XLs, so make sure to buy the XL sized sheets.
Most colleges have a service where you can buy a dorm set (sheets, blanket, pillow, and towels). We did this one time. The quality was pretty low, but it was convenient. Same with moving out at the end of the year - most colleges have a service where they provide boxes and labels, and they pick up your stuff and store it all summer. Again, we did this once and found it over priced but convenient.
Dress comfortably for move in day, but remember this might be the one and only time you meet your kid’s roommate’s parents in person, so you might at least want to do your hair.
Facebook friend your kid’s roommate’s parents. This may seem a bit socially aggressive since you just met, but it is an easy way to stay in touch.
Don’t forget, before you start cleaning, unpacking or setting anything up, take a video walk through of the room and note any pre-exiting damage to the room. You will be assessed damage fees at move-out and if you can't prove that it wasn't caused by your student, you will pay.
Good luck! Have fun and take lots of pics. And try not to cry too much! ❤️
Empty Nest Obsessed 🐾
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