Thursday, August 2, 2012

College Packing

I've taken a few weeks off from blogging to simply enjoy and savor the summer with my family because in just a few weeks our daughters will be returning to college for their Senior year.  Getting ready for their move back has changed a lot over these past three years.  Let's just say that packing has become simpler and much more pared down from Freshman year!  With this in mind, I thought I'd try to help those of you who are new to this so you can maybe avoid some of the pitfalls.  

Rule Number One:  Just because YOU think they'll need it/use it, doesn't mean THEY will!  Many of the things I sent with my son the first time around, and then again with my daughters thinking surely THEY will use it, are still in original boxes/wrapping in my basement.  When our twin daughters went off to college, we rented a cargo van and removed all but one row of seats.  In the picture below, we still had things to put inside.  This year, they're taking Amtrak back with a suitcase.  Hubby and I will drive our Camry down with the rest of their things a few days later once they're settled into their apartment.

Keep in mind, this was a CARGO van and when we finished loading, it was full from top to bottom to sides.

Rule Number Two:  If they were "neat" at home, they probably won't be at school and in the same vein, if they were "sloppy" at home, they'll probably be even more sloppy at school.  Therefore, don't spend a lot of money on really expensive, cool, cute linens, furniture and accessories.  Wait.  Observe on that first Parent Weekend.  Then decide if you want to invest in those things.  Most dorm rooms will start out looking like this . . .
and end up like this anyway . . .
Rule Number Three:  Don't waste precious packing space with tons of extra towels, sheets and blankets.  You'll be lucky if they change the sheets once a semester, let alone once a week.  And cute matching hand towels -- forget them.  A few towels, a few washcloths -- they don't even know what a hand towel is used for.  

Rule Number Four:  Learn to close your eyes and your nose when you visit them for the first time.  You don't have to live there (thank goodness!), they do.

Now granted, these may not apply to YOUR kid but having talked with lots of other parents, these seem to be fairly universal and apply to both boys and girls.  All of this being said, here are a few things that we discovered WERE helpful to have. While of course there are other things they'll need like sheets, shampoo, school supplies, these are things we discovered SHOULD be taken:

Laptop (don't bother with a printer - almost every college provides free printing services throughout the campus)
Digital camera
Extension cords (long ones) and surge protector
Desk Lamp
Laundry Bag and supplies (just detergent and fab. softener -- they probably won't use anything else!)
Paper plates, cups and plastic silverware
Mattress Pad
Fan (much to my surprise, most dorm rooms are NOT air conditioned)
Shower caddy
(Girls) Flip flops for showering in (dorm showers are gross)
Small med. kit that you put together with things your kid will actually use
Command hooks and Sticky Tack
Nail clippers
Febreeze (eventually they DO get tired of the smell in the room)
Rolls of quarters for laundry
Broom & dustpan (eventually they WILL have to sweep)
Trash can (eventually they WILL put things in it)

And let me just say that if you thought the first twelve years of school flew by . . . you ain't seen nothin' yet!


  1. I have four sons....need I say more? heehee! All four of mine went to college for more than four years...each one. They lived in dorms and even shared an apartment with each other. There really is no time in their schedules for worrying about 'house work'. They don't even eat or sleep as much as they should. Enjoy the next few days! Sweet hugs!

  2. I so agree with how fast those college years go by....way to fast for this mom. I just got home from moving my daughter from a condo that she has been in for the last two years to another one. We will moving her out of this one in December...oh yes...graduation month and mom and dad get a raise:) My SUV is still full of stuff that she sent back with me.


  3. You brought back memories of taking our son to college. A friend loaned us his Suburban with the license plate - Godzila. We had that thing packed to the limit. It was pre-laptop days so the computer and printer were huge. And, you are right about it going by so fast. Have fun sending them off.

  4. Hi Lauren~
    I hope you enjoyed your vacation!!
    They grow up too fast! My large one is in 11th grade this year, so I am memorizing your tips! And I will be crying with you next summer!!
    Love the new hair color!

  5. SOOOOOO helpful. Taking son to college first time in a few weeks!

  6. welcome bcd from your blogging break.
    my 2 college kids are packing their stuff now...


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