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10 Steps to Move Your Child Into Their Dorm Room

Student moving to dorm room for college move-in
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Having your child go off to college is hard. It might seem like just yesterday you were sending them off to their first day of Kindergarten and now here you are. Empty nest syndrome can be tough, but going to college is a great experience that opens the door to new opportunities. Many parents find that they actually become closer with their kids during this time of transition.

With so many different emotions happening at once, the last thing you want to be is stressed. Why not make it as simple as possible for yourselves?

Here are 10 steps you can take to make the move easier:

  1. Plan ahead.

    Most universities are extremely crowded during move-in weekend and some even have timed limits on how long you can park in front of the dormitory. You want to be as fast and efficient as possible once you’re there. Research the room online to find out the dimensions and what is already provided (desk, closet, sink, mini fridge, etc.). This will give you an idea how to arrange the room and how much space you’ll have to work with. Once you figure that out, you will have a better understanding of what to bring and what to leave at home. Check the university website to see if there is a list of prohibited items that are not allowed in the dorm room. These items usually include flammable items such as candles, space heaters and toasters.


  1. Get to know the roommates ahead of time. 

    It is important for your child to acquaint themselves with their roommate(s) before move-in for a number of reasons. Not only do you want them to start to get comfortable with each other, but knowing ahead of time what furnishings and electronics each roommate is bringing will help you save space and money. For example, one brings the TV while the other brings the futon.


  1. Buy online.

    There are plenty of stores with dorm room sections that include futons, storage ottomans, tapestries, school supplies and more. Most of these items are usually picked over towards the end of summer or maybe even earlier. Ordering online will provide plenty of more options for you and your child without the hassle of ever leaving your home. It’s also easier to compare prices and find the best deals (we know how expensive college is so saving money is crucial).


  1. Pack for the season. 

    Since move-in is in August, your child won’t be needing their winter coats, hats, scarves, etc. Only have them bring some summer and fall clothing. When they come home for Thanksgiving break, they can bring their shorts and sandals then take back their sweaters and boots. This exchange not only allows more room for move-in but makes it easier to move-out as well. If they keep bringing more and more items without bringing any back, the clutter will easily build up. For the parents that are moving their child out-of-state, you might want to consider renting a storage unit near their college campus. This way your child can still keep their room clutter-free and can switch out their clothes whenever it's needed. Many storage facilities offer reasonably priced student storage. Depending on where you rent storage, some facilities even offer a free move-in truck!


  1. Be sure to sort. 

    In order to speed up the move-in process, you’ll want to sort everything out while you pack. Food, toiletries, books and anything else should be with their own similar items to make unpacking easier. If everything is mixed up, it makes putting things away stressful and disorganized.


  1. Don’t be afraid to bring too much. 

    You and your child should decide ahead of time what to bring and what to leave at home. However, there’s bound to be items you’re unsure of or don’t agree on. Whatever you are debating on bringing, take it. Take advantage of however much stuff can comfortably fit into your vehicle. Once you see the dorm, you can easily distinguish what should stay and what should go. If you find that something is not necessary, you can always keep it in your car and bring it back home. Having more than you need instead of not enough, will also save you money by not having to buy things there that you already have.


  1. Only buy what you need. 

    After moving in all of their stuff, you will find that you either forgot something or have a new idea for what else to get. For example, if there is more room under the bed than expected, you can buy some cheap storage bins to slide under it to create more storage space. There is most likely a local superstore to easily buy and transport these items. However, don’t forget that this won’t be your first time visiting so if you have this stuff at home you can always bring it at a later date.


  1. Get creative. 

    Some items could be used for multiple purposes to fit your needs within the space. If the bed is raised too high in order to fit things underneath, a (sturdy) storage ottoman could also be used as a stepping stool. A nightstand could also be placed next to the desk as extra drawers for books and school supplies. If the closet is too small, clothes can be folded into tote bins and stored on the bottom or under the bed. Hooks can be added on closet walls for coats, backpacks, purses or more. You want to try to store away as much as you can to declutter the already tight space.


  1.  Decorate. Decorate. Decorate.

    Brightening up a dorm room is easier than it sounds. Since it is a small area, having a theme throughout is a piece of cake. You want to make sure that you don’t bring in extra things just for decoration that have no other use because then it’s just a waste of space. Hanging up lights are popular because dorm rooms can look dark and dull plus it adds an interesting flare. The best way to keep a theme is to base it off of the design on a comforter or tapestry since those are most likely the largest pieces. Keep those in mind if you are buying new items and want to follow a specific color scheme. You don’t necessarily need to buy things in order to decorate either. Your child can personalize their space by putting up pictures with family and friends. Decorating is another aspect that can be talked about with the roommate beforehand if they’re interested in matching themes. Your child will be spending a lot of time here so you want them to be as comfortable as possible and make it their own.


  1. Have fun!

    You obviously want your child to enjoy college and have a good time. Don’t make their first experience of moving in stressful or talk about how small of a space they’re about to be living in. Cherish these moments you have together before you have to say your goodbyes. Make it fun for them by helping organize and decorate to make the space their own.


After the school year is over, you might realize that all of their stuff doesn’t fit back into their bedroom at home. STORExpress has plenty of self-storage units and lockers for college students to store all of their belongings in one place! The month-to-month contracts allow for seasonal storage since they might just need it between semesters. For more information about renting a space, visit today!

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