Preparing for College

Moving-to-College Tips

I was looking through some old photographs the other day and came upon one that made me laugh out loud. We were moving our daughter to college for her first year and after we had finished loading up the old '85 Honda Accord, I took a picture of the car. It was ridiculous. Not only was the inside crammed to the point where there was barely enough room for Mom, Dad, and daughter, but the massive cargo on the roof was lucky to be able to pass beneath Interstate overpasses. In fact, things were stacked so high that I called the state police and asked them if there was a height restriction for piles of stuff atop car roofs.

Always one to add a wry comment to any seemingly weird situation, our son, five years younger than our daughter, surveyed the huge, green-tarp-covered pile lashed down on top of the smallish car and pointed to the large area at the front of the tarp, just above the windshield. "Hey, Dad," he said. "You should put a This Space for Rent sign up there." Well, we all howled at that and appreciated the break from the stress of the moment.

Anyway, regardless of how high you and your family will be piling stuff on your car for your transition to college, it will pay to think about how to prep for your move. I found a fun article that addresses both the packing and the move itself. Good stuff.

Here, from the article, are 10 tips to help you with your move.

This Isn't How Your Parents Moved to College

Mayflower Transit Offers Modern-Day Tips for College Packing and Moving

Just like your parents, and theirs before, heading off to college is an exciting and life-changing experience. But one thing has dramatically changed over the years – how and what to pack for the move ...

Top 10 College Moving Tips

1. Be realistic and clutter-free: Let the size of the space you are moving into, not your emotions, determine what to bring.

2. Think ahead, buy green: Most of the new stuff you buy before school will be thrown out when you move out in May. Purchase green items such as organic sheets and natural material furniture to reduce your carbon footprint. Donate your used items to local nonprofits.

3. Roommate basics: Coordinate with your roommates before the move. Share decorating ideas and plan what items each roommate should bring, so you don't waste money and end up with duplicates.

4. Priority packing: Organize your belongings in boxes by priority. The most important items, such as medicines, toiletries, valuable jewelry and paperwork, etc., should be packed clearly marked boxes.

5. Survival kit: Pack a clearly marked “essential trip kit" that includes items that you will need for the first night in case you arrive late or are too tired to unpack. This will save you from rifling through boxes to find your toothbrush or pajamas.

6. Wrapping: Save time by NOT using newspaper for wrapping like your parents did. The ink can rub off and damage or dirty your valuables. Use clean, white newsprint which you can get from moving companies or at office supply stores.

7. Label it: Whether you move into a dorm room, apartment or house, label boxes by location, so you know where each box should go.

8. Decorating essentials: Pack a small toolkit with items like a screwdriver removable adhesive strips to hang pictures and decorate your new place without damaging the walls.

9. Function first: Personalizing a new space is important, but make sure furniture is moved before unpacking personal items.

10. Take a break: Take short breaks throughout moving day to avoid burnout. Meals and sightseeing on campus are great ways to stay refreshed throughout the day.


Great list, eh? I'll add one more:

11. Keep the pile on the roof of your car low enough to clear all Interstate overpasses and gas station canopies. You don't want to lose that priceless Justin Bieber poster. :-)


Be sure to check out all my admissions-related articles and book reviews at College Confidential.