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Organizing for College

Make the most of dorm closets!

Do you have a college-bound freshman? If so, it may seem like the summer is flying by and you still have a million things to do before move-in day.  A little preparation now will save a ton of time, stress and effort on move-in day so you and your freshman can relax and enjoy the beginning of their college experience.


Take advantage of the resources available

Many colleges provide shopping lists, room layouts, lists of what is provided and suggested shopping lists for dorm living students.  Build off this information to finalize your own shopping lists. Understand the college move-in procedure and take advantage of all the support provided on move-day. Colleges do a wonderful job of supporting students in the first crazy days of campus living, and it will help you and your student to understand the key dates, times and information such as parking and shipping arrangements. It’s also a good idea to review what’s not allowed in the dorm rooms (candles are often banned).


Save time and room in the car

It’s not ideal to pack a room’s worth of stuff in a car on what will probably be the warmest day of the year.  You’ll be even more limited if traveling to college by plane. Most ‘big-box’ stores allow you to shop online and pick up at any store in the country.  Many stores such as Bed, Bath, and Beyond and Target have college registries allowing you and your future college student to pick out everything needed at a local store.  The order will be pulled and ready for pick up at your designated destination.  Some colleges have arrangements with shippers such as UPS and FEDEX to ship items ahead of time.


Get creative with space

Dorms rooms are getting nicer all the time but it’s still tough to fit nine months of stuff in a room and leave room for the roommate. Quick ways to add storage:

  • Raise the bed to make space for underbed drawers for bulky items like sweaters, extra linens or out-of-season clothes.
  • Command strip hooks are great for key lanyards, charging cords, belts, necklaces and scarves.
  • Hanging shoe bags are always great for shoes but can also be put to work to store items such as snacks or toiletries.
  • Over the door racks are great solutions for holding towels, purses, jackets & coats.
  • Use the bed frame: there are trays, shelves, caddies and hooks made to hang on college beds to provide space where it’s needed most.
  • Turn fabric storage cubes on their side to keep items visible and organized on high shelves.


Don’t forget the books and paper

Hopefully, there will be some studying done in that dorm room.  Create space for deep work with an open top file box for papers and group office supplies in a tray or basket to keep the desk area neat. Storage ottomans are great for bulky textbooks and will double for extra seating for guests.


Prepare for emergencies

Your child’s first illness away from home is going to be tough for the child and the parents!  Fill a container with basic cold/fever/stomach remedies, a thermometer, emergency chicken soup/crackers and an understanding of health resources on campus and nearby.  Not all campus clinics are open 24/7, so be sure they know the location of a backup clinic and have access to medical records and health insurance cards.  For your own peace of mind, talk to your attorney about a Power of Attorney for health care and property.  Navigating legal barriers in a crisis will be extra stress in an already stressful situation.


Bonus tip!

Prepare for move-out.  This school year will fly-by and resources are often limited in a college town during peak weekends. Make hotel and travel reservations as soon as possible and look into storage and shipping arrangements now.