For most parents, college move-in day comes too soon. Helping our kids move into their college dorm is an emotional time but it does not have to be stressful.
Our babies grow up too fast, it seems. On one hand we are thrilled to see them start a new chapter in their lives. At the same time, we realize we have to come to terms that it’s time to let them fly on their own. It truly is bittersweet.
Before I dropped off my son at college, I cried. A lot. The night before move in day I stared at him while he slept. I know it sounds creepy but I kept remembering him as a baby and silent tears ran down my cheeks. The next day I expected an ugly cry. However, I was so happy to see him where he wants to be, that all I could feel was joy. True love means feeling happiness when your loved one is finally living their dream.
Tips for college move-in day
The weeks leading up to college move-in day were hectic, especially because we were right in the midst of covid. Even though my son’s original move in was postponed from September to January, I still went over my list to make sure I didn’t forget anything. That’s when I also created this college dorm checklist in case it helps you.
Here are my top tips to make the college dorm move-in process easier (may include affiliate links):
- Make a list of what you really need and what you already have at home. It really isn’t necessary to buy new towels or a new toiletry case if you already have one.
- Check online blueprints or pictures of your child’s dorm room. Write down the measurements if possible and figure out how to make the most out of the space. What your teen might want for the room might simply not fit.
- Ask what is included in your child’s dorm room. For example, my son’s dorm had a desk, a chair, drawers, a wardrobe and wastebasket, so we didn’t need furniture.
- Review all college rules. Don’t assume coffeemakers or microwaves are allowed; they are forbidden at many dorms due to fire safety concerns. Other schools don’t allow rising beds or lofting.
- Set a budget. That way everybody’s on the same page. Keep a track of expenses using apps, a spreadsheet or a notepad.
- Check online deals. Bed Bath and Beyond has online coupons and allows you to pick up everything at a local store. Target offers a 5% discount on all purchases using their credit card and has special offers on its app. Amazon Prime has a 50% off membership offer just for college students. Sign up for Amazon Prime Student here! Every cent you save adds up.
- Pack thinking how you will organize everything. For example, these blue bags are super practical and allow you to take clothes already in hangers. They are easy to store and will prove very useful when move out time comes. You might want to use travel or nylon cubes to classify different types of clothing so they can easily be put away in a chest of drawers.
- If you will be flying, try to buy as much as possible at your destination. That way you can avoid baggage fees for extra or overweight luggage. For example, we bought toiletries, laundry and cleaning supplies at a Target superstore close to campus.
- Bring adhesive labels, a Sharpie, scissors, and foldable bins on move in day. If you set up a system on day one, it will be easier for your teen to keep everything organized. The scissors are to help with any packaging. It was the one thing I forgot and totally regretted it.
- Keep goodbyes short and sweet. Your teen will probably be eager to start meeting new friends and exploring their new home, but at the same time might be feeling anxious about all the changes in store for them. Reassure them, give them a huge hug and then part ways.