Tips on moving your kid to a dorm

It’s hard for a parent to help their child move away. Even if it’s moving to college, to start a bright future. On one hand you are going through many emotions. And on the other hand, there’s the usual stress related to any move. Luckily, our team of experts is here to assist you with moving your kid to college. 

When moving your kid to college, restrain from crying.
Control your emotions and focus on your child’s needs.

Get your emotions in check

First things first. What you need to do is control your emotions. We understand it’s hard to watch your child leave home, especially if it’s your firstborn we’re talking about. Nevertheless, don’t make this event about yourself. It’s your kid’s special day, not yours. So restrain yourself from crying or embarrassing them in front of their new social circle. Give them most of the valuable life advice while you are still in the privacy of your home and not in the middle of the dorm hallway.

Check the paperwork before moving your kid

Before moving day, your kid will get numerous emails about specific set of dorm rules. These rules vary greatly from dorm to dorm, so you can’t just assume that the same rules that applied to your older kid’s dorm will apply to your younger kid’s one. Encourage your child to read through those newsletters and to tell you which items are allowed and which are not. Also, these newsletters will have information on check-in times, locations and procedures. Knowing where you can park and unload is valuable info you will want to have. And letting your child acquire it and then pass it on to you will prepare your child for getting by without your help. You should take this very seriously if you are dealing with international relocation.

Be realistic when packing

Bear in mind that dorm rooms are small. Your daughter simply won’t have enough room for her entire wardrobe. Nor for all her knick-knacks. Packing before moving your kid into a dorm is a great time to declutter. Go together through your kids clothes, books and other belongings make a list of what things they will take with them, a list of things that will stay at home, and a list of things you will donate to charity.

What to pack

When moving your kid to college, pack lightly. Pack only the things you are absolutely sure your kid is going to need, like:

  • bed sheets – no dorm provides these. So don’t forget them!
  • towels – pack a few bigger ones and a few smaller ones. It’s good if they are easily recognizable. They can have a unique pattern or be embroidered with your child’s initials.
  • toiletries – include a pair of flip-flops in the set. You don’t want your child to be stepping on wet shower floor.
  • seasonal clothes – there’s no need to bring coats and boots if your kid is moving to college in August. You can always ship them winter clothes later. Or you can drop it off yourself – it’s a great excuse to visit your kid. Either way, it just doesn’t fit in the dorm room.

It’s always good to coordinate with your child’s roommate. Most dorms allow microwaves and mini-fridges in the rooms. So contact the parent of your kid’s roommate and agree on what you should buy and what they should bring. This way you will minimize your costs and maximize the space in the dorm room.

How to pack

Forget about suitcases, unless your child is flying to their new college. There isn’t enough space for them in crammed dorm rooms. In case you are driving, you can use plastic storage bins for packing. Once you arrive you can just slide them under bed. If you pack wisely in storage bins, you will save time when unpacking. An alternative to plastic totes are banker boxes. They get the job done, plus you can fold them when you are not using them, freeing up space. Both of these packing/storage solutions are easily available in your local store or online and are affordable. If you child’s things don’t fit in the back of an average size car – it means they have packed too much. Leave something behind right away. It’s easier to do it while you are still at home, than in a hectic dorm during the moving day.

Use plastic bins to move your kid to a dorm
Plastic bins or banker boxes – the choice is yours!

Chose a late move-in time

If you want to have a stress free moving day, book a late move-in time. Most of the stressed out parents will schedule an early time. So to avoid them and their drama, go for an afternoon time slot. Besides avoiding pushy parents, you will also have the luxury of time. Moving your kid in last means they won’t have to do it in a hurry.

Expect many flights of stairs

Even though there is a chance your kid will get a room on the first floor, that isn’t always the case. Be mentally prepared to walk up to the fourth floor loaded with your child’s belongings. It’s smart to pack an extra t-shirt you can change into, because you are bound to get sweaty from all that activity. You don’t want to be the cause of embarrassment to your kid on that important day.  And if you are looking to help you kid make some friends the first day – then bring some refreshments. You won’t be lonely in all that running up and down the stairs. So if your child offers someone a fresh lemonade or an iced coffee, they’ll be off to a good start to make some friends.

Helping your kid to move will involve going up and down the stairs.
Expect many flights of stairs.

Pack a toolbox

You never know in what state will be the dorm room you are moving your kid into. So, come prepared. You will probably want to readjust the height of the bed so you can fit the plastic totes under. Duct tape can be used in most smaller repairs so pack it too.

And our last piece of advice – leave once your kid gives you a cue or openly tells you to do it. Don’t linger on too long. Go cry in your car knowing that you’ve done a great job!

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