You’ve survived 18 years of sports practices, after-school activities and homework help; 18 years of advice, learning and growth; 18 years of birthdays, holidays and other milestones.
But you’ve still got one more first — helping your child move into their first home away from home, the college dorm or apartment.
And, that can seem like a monumental task. After all, your son or daughter will be packing up their entire lives and moving it over miles — even hundreds or thousands of miles — away. So, how do you even prepare?
Our Kinetic by Windstream team is here to help with our college move-in day checklist and our guide on how to shop for college!
1. Nail down the logistics.
Before you even buy anything, you’ll want to figure out how you’re going to transport all these things from your house to the college dorm or apartment. Will you drive? And, if so, will you rent a trailer or a moving truck? If the university is too far, consider flying and buying items — particularly the larger ones — there. This will also help reduce costs in terms of extra baggage and may be easier than trying to lug, say, five huge suitcases around the airport. It’ll be good to know, too, that some larger retailers — including Bed, Bath and Beyond, Target and The Container Store — allow for online shopping and free pickup, so you won’t have to worry about a store not carrying the item that you need.
2. Coordinate with your child’s roommate(s).
Reach out to your child’s roommates and their parents — if you can — and divvy up some of the necessities. This will help ensure that you won’t have two area rugs and no microwave and can help you save a few bucks by not having to purchase every single thing all at once. This will prove even more true if your teen is living off campus.
3. Put together a college move-in day checklist.
College dorms aren’t exactly cookie cutters anymore. Some dorms are more apartment-style. Others may still have the traditional two-bed and shared bathroom setup. So, before you get that checklist started, you’ll want to know room dimensions, what’s provided by the college and what is forbidden.
From there, you can start the dreaded checklist. First, let’s start with the living essentials. For a college dorm, you’ll need:
- A mattress pad — Find out if the bed is a standard twin size or extra long twin size.
- Bedding — pillows and two sets of comforters and sheets (The extras will come in handy when your teen washes the first set.)
- Clothes, including shoes. (Flip flops are a must for some, who may not want to step into a shared shower barefoot.)
- Towels — You may want a few sets here, too.
- Towel hooks
- Shower caddy or tote — This will help your teen lug shower accessories, including shampoo and body wash, back and forth from his or her dorm room to the bathroom.
- A robe — Here’s another accessory that will prove useful for those late night or early morning bathroom breaks.
- Laundry hamper
- Lamp, if it’s not already provided
- Under-the-bed storage, if there’s room
- Appliances — microwave, coffeemaker, mini fridge and more, as long as it’s not forbidden
- Disposable dishes and utensils
And, for all things tech and more, you’ll need:
- Smartphone — phone charger, wireless chargers, car charger
- Computer accessories — mouse, keyboard, monitor, laptop case, backpack, headphones, USB flash drives, laptop charger and dongles or any other adapters
- Printing accessories — paper, black ink cartridge, colored ink cartridge, stapler, staples, staple remover, paper clips
- Surge protectors and extension cords
- Television accessories — HDMI cables, gaming/entertainment consoles, streaming device, sound bar
- Miscellaneous tech accessories — Bluetooth/smart speakers, electronics cleaners
You can also download this tech list here so you can check off as you go.
Remember, too, that if you’re moving your son or daughter into off-campus housing, you’ll want to look into a few other things, including high-speed Internet.
4. Figure out how to pack for college move-in day.
Let’s face it. Packing is a chore. The key here is to stay organized. And to do so, the easiest thing is to pack all like things together. You could cut a few corners, too. As an example, leave your clothes on the hanger and bag them up, so you can carry them all at once.
You’ll also want to pack some essentials for the actual day. This may include things that you’ll use right away, like cleaners or tools for any assembly, along with sustenance — snacks, water and other food or drink that can tide you over until you can actually sit down and eat a meal. Don’t forget either to stow away files or important documents that your teen might need for school or to apply for a job, along with any important medications.
If your son or daughter will be living off campus, take a look at our five tips to prepare for moving day.
5. Square away college move-in day details.
It’ll help to ensure you know a few things before move-in day. For example, where can you park your car or a moving truck? Do the parking spots have time limits? Does your teen have access to the dorm building? If not, where can he or she get that? Will you need any help moving things in? Will anyone be on hand to help? Will there be any moving equipment, such as a dolly, to help transport heavier items? Getting these answers ahead of time can quickly put you at ease.
6. Go the extra mile.
This will likely be the last time you’ll see your teen until a fall or winter break — unless, of course, the university is fairly close. Take the time to relish the moment. Bring some extra sustenance, so your child can easily meet some new friends. Carve out some time either before or afterward to spend with just family. When you’re done unpacking, explore the campus and surrounding areas and find the best coffee and restaurants.
7. It’s not goodbye.
It may seem like your teen is eager to get rid of you, but don’t be fooled. He or she is probably just as nervous to see you go. Don’t draw out your “see you later” by imparting some last-minute advice. That’s best for before you even get to the school. Instead, try scheduling out what time you plan to leave — and sticking to it. It needn’t be a cold departure. Feel free to express your feelings and give a good bear hug!
Use these college move-in day tips to ensure the easiest transition for your college-bound child! And, if they’re moving off campus for the first time, don’t forget utilities and the high-speed Internet that allows your child to turn in assignments, get class materials and even access textbooks. Kinetic by Windstream offers college-ready Kinetic Internet in college towns across the country. See if it’s available in your area today!