ORLANDO, Fla. - It's almost time for those college freshmen to head off to school, which probably means between crying their eyes out, parents are probably panicking about how to make move-in day as easy as possible.
Calm down, we have some tips to help make it all a bit easier for you and your student.
Check if early move-in is possible
Some schools allow for early move-in. There are some pros and cons to this: You won't necessarily be battling everyone for prime parking or elevator space, but you may have some extra room fees tacked onto your bill. You'll have to weigh what's more important to you. Plus, if your school does offer this option, there's probably a cutoff where you need to sign up ahead of time, so you'll want to check that pronto.
Check for procedures and banned items
Your teen was probably mailed some sort of paperwork that clearly outlines the procedures for moving day: Check-ins, where you can and can't park, what moving equipment you can bring, if you can use the elevator, etc. It also probably tells you if things like hot plates or other items are prohibited from student housing. Parents, in the event you didn't get to review this material or your teen is insisting they never got it, we highly suggest you get to scouring the school's website. We promise it will save you some aggravation on moving day.
Bring cleaning supplies-- and tools
Let's be real, mom. Someone probably cleaned up the dorm room before move-in day, but most likely, it won't be up to your standards. Bring the Clorox wipes, glass cleaner, toilet bowl cleaner, brush -- all the good stuff -- and give the room a once-over while you send your teen and other family members to wrestle their belongings. That way you don't have to feel guilty, and both you and Junior can feel really good about pretending they'll continue to use those cleaning supplies once you've left. Oh, and the tools will be helpful if you need to boost the bed up for storage, if you're allowed to hang stuff on the walls, or, of course, when anything breaks. You don't need anything fancy here. They sell basic tool kits at most box stores, and that should suffice.
If your kid's school is in an unfamiliar area, it's probably a good idea to check ahead of time where the local Target or Walmart, grocery stores, pharmacies, restaurants, etc. are. Inevitably, you're going to realize you're missing something extremely important, or if you miraculously had everything you needed, you'll be super tired and hungry at the end of the day, and you'll already know exactly where you're going.
Don't bring a lot of luggage
Depending on the room, there's not likely to be a ton of extra storage space, and most luggage isn't great for being stacked. Instead, we recommend using those plastic storage totes. Everything fits in the car much easier, things stay clean and dry and you can more easily stack them in the room. You can also use garbage bags around hangers in place of garment bags and then reuse them as actual garbage bags.
Don't bring everyone you know -- or everything you own
Extra help is always great when lugging items up stairs, but trying to fit everyone in the room while putting stuff away with lack of seating -- significantly less fun. Same thing goes for packing; you probably don't need your parka in August. Just pack what you need for now. You can always ship things or buy new ones later if you absolutely need them. And you can always FaceTime your seven sisters and all their friends.
Bring some photos and mementos from home
A new place can feel pretty lonely, so a few items to make your new room feel like home are definitely a good idea. Some good suggestions are photos of loved ones and maybe your favorite blankie -- we won't tell.
Make your bed last
A lot of people love a freshly made bed, and it's true, it can make you feel accomplished, but we always end up stacking stuff on the bed while we're putting stuff away, and it can get filthy. Wait until the end and then you don't have to worry about doing it twice -- or falling into a dirty bed when you're bone tired.
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