6 Tips for Packing and Moving Your Child to College

Blog title superimposed over a photo of a minivan packed full of college essentials
Moving your child to college is a project to say the least. Everything from de-junking and organizing, selecting the right containers for packing, to coordinating and sharing with thier roommates will help to make this process easier.

De-junk and Conquer

First thing your child should do weeks before moving day is go through their things and eliminate whatever they don’t need or won’t be using anymore. I mean everything. As they go through their possessions, they can set aside the things they will take with them to college. Carefully determining what will and will not be making the trip is imperative to packing. You only have so much room in the car or if they are flying to school, they can only carry so much luggage.

Rubbermaid for Moving

What they pack everything in is dependent on how they are getting to college. If they are taking a flight to school, then the obvious answer is suitcases and shipping boxes. But don’t ship everything ahead of time as they may find that they don’t need some items after they get there. If they do need something from home you can ship it to them later.

However, if they will be taking a road trip, you have a couple more options for packing containers. My favorite being Rubbermaid storage drawers. I had stackable drawers that fit two high under my bed, which was on stilts, and I had one drawer set that was just the right height to serve as a nightstand next to my tall bed. The real beauty of this was that moving was super easy. Everything, aside from my clothes were already contained in my storage container drawers and all I had to do was put some tape on the front to keep them from opening while we transported them.

Rubbermaid containers

Your child may have a situation where their apartment provides adequate storage space, in the form of captain’s beds, and lots of closet space. In that case I recommend storage tubs because if their belongings has to go into storage when they come home for the summer it will be safe from potential water damage. Take your pick of what works best for your child’s situation.

Coordinate with Roommates

Remember that some items can be shared between roommates. Your student will likely get a list of the people they will be living with for the school year. Advise your child to contact their future roommates and discuss what each of them are bringing and are willing to share such as a blender, toaster, TV, sound system, etc. It’s unlikely they will need more than one of these kinds of items, and if the roommates are willing to share then that will save everyone money and packing space if they coordinate beforehand.

Prepare to Share

Don’t send your child to college with super nice things. By nice I mean precious or unnecessarily expensive. Inevitably, things get broken, borrowed and not returned, lost or stolen. Help them select what they really need for college and what is wise to invest in. One example of what not to bring to school is any kitchenware they really like and don’t’ want ruined. Sharing a living space with other people is detrimental to kitchenware to say the least. Because it’s a space that has to be shared, ultimately kitchen items will be shared as well.

Plastic kitchenware

Because of the difference in the ways we are raised, little things like washing a Teflon pot in a dishwasher is the reason bringing expensive kitchenware to school is not a good idea. Yeah, they could just say their dishes and pans are off-limits, but the fact is there is only so much space in an apartment and sharing can make things simpler. Try unloading a dishwasher when everyone’s pots pans and silverware are completely segregated—and you thought it was a chore at home.

Make the Bed

One thing I am so glad my mom taught me when she took me to college was to make the bed first thing when I move into a new apartment. A bed that has my sheets and pillows on it looks like my bed and really helped me feel better about moving into an unfamiliar space. Don’t forget a really good mattress cover. They will be sleeping on a mattress someone else used and a mattress cover helps make it less scary.

Small room with small, blue bed

Final tip

Pack a box a tissues, the kid is probably going to need them. In fact, get two boxes because you are going to need them as well, so you can drive home. Just do yourself and your new college student a favor and don’t let them see you cry. It makes it tougher for both of you.

That’s about all I have for moving tips. If you have any pointers on moving to college I would love to hear about them. Please put your ideas in the comments below or on our Facebook page. Also, follow us on Pinterest for more ideas to get your college student ready for school. Look out for next weeks post about how to decorate a dorm or college apartment and not upset the landlord.