Do you have a child headed off to college for the first time this fall? Use this summer to plan so that they are able to balance what they need to bring with what they want to have along.
The majority of dorm rooms are smaller than most kids’ bedrooms at home. Add in a roommate, and new college freshmen have less than half the space they’re used to having. There is no possible way every item of clothing, pair of shoes, knickknack, stuffed animal, wall hanging, and cosmetic could possibly fit in the dorm room and have enough space to breathe. Therefore, packing your child off to college will require significant downsizing and careful selection of what to take.
Tips to Downsizing to a Dorm
- Think versatile. What items can double for other items. Coffee mug is also a soup bowl. Laundry basket is also a tote or storage space.
- Think smaller. A smaller version of everything is helpful. Small wastebasket, small coffee maker, mini-microwave.
- Think less. While buying in bulk is a great savings, dorm rooms don’t have space for two for the price of one deodorants, bulk cereal, a case of tissues, etc. If you get great bulk deals, try leaving a portion of the items at home and restocking on breaks or via care packages.
- Think care package. Whether you send a care package in the mail, send one with someone headed toward the college where you child is, or compile a package to send back after an upcoming visit, plan to add needed items to a designated box or bin to replenish supplies as needed. Reassure your child you’ll happily help get them what they need if/when they discover they need it, rather than packing for absolutely every scenario.
- Send stuff home. Encourage your child to bring home any items they thought they needed but aren’t using, especially items of clothing that are out of season.
- Checklists. Most colleges provide dorm packing lists. Be sure to check sizes of things needed like bed sheets. Many dorm beds are twin xl, which is different than a standard twin size. You can avoid packing bedding you can’t/won’t use.
If you have any tips to share to help with transitioning and downsizing to a dorm room, please post on our Facebook page.