Packing for college–what you need to know for smooth sailing on move-in day

Moving into the dorm room is one of your child’s first fleeting steps into collegiate life. What can you, as a parent, do to help make this transition a smooth one? Follow the 3 BEs!

Here are some tried and true tips for smooth sailing on move-in day taken from Out to Sea: A Parents’ Survival Guide to the Freshman Voyage.

BE Organized 

When you arrive on campus for move-in day, it will be chaos. The more you can organize ahead of time, the easier it will be to unpack when you get there. Rooms and hallways are crowded and hot, so anything you can do to make it a smooth move will be in your favor. And while you (and every other college family) will no doubt require a Target run on move-in day, getting organized now will save you trips then, when you’d rather be bonding with your student. 

  • Prewash all bedding and towels at home before the move. 
  • Leave hanging items on their hangers, and simply cover them in tall garbage bags. Yes, a garbage-garment bag does the trick. It saves a ton of time, takes up less space, and requires no extra suitcases. 
  • Pack under-the-bed storage containers with items your student will store in them during the school year. 
  • Pack like items together. For example, pack toiletries in one tote and food items in another for faster unpacking. 
  • Label each box and bag with your child’s name, build- ing, and room number in case something gets misplaced upon arrival. 

BE Realistic

Dorm rooms are more likely to resemble Gilligan’s quarters on the S.S. Minnow than the ballroom of the Titanic. Remember how small the dorm room was when you toured it? Rest assured—it didn’t grow. Keep this in mind as you pack, and remind your child of it before you decide to rent a U-Haul to bring his or her stuff to school. 

Click HERE to watch a short video with more information about packing smart!

BE Smart

Read through the residence hall rules prior to packing. There’s no need to purchase (and haul) a coffeemaker or toaster if fire codes or university policies prohibit them. Also, have your student discuss larger items (futon, fridge, TV) with roommates ahead of time so you don’t lug a futon up four flights of stairs only to find out the roommate already has one there.

Lastly, if your student forgets something, don’t sweat it. Unless your child is heading to college in Siberia, there’s probably a CVS or Target just around the corner for forgotten odds and ends. Anything else can be ordered later online and delivered to the residence hall.

Parents, you can do this! For more information—and detailed lists—on what to pack (and NOT pack), pick up your own copy of award-winning Out to Sea: A Parents’ Survival Guide to the Freshman Voyage. It has detailed lists of what to pack and what to leave at home along with real, practical advice for surviving the freshman year. It will be YOUR survival guide for the college years!

Available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million or at your favorite independent bookseller.

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