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27 Jul 2021 8:03 PM | Cara Marks

It’s that time again… or maybe the first time in preparing your newly graduated high school student to get ready to go away to college.  Such an exciting time in their lives when they get to go live away from home.  With that, though, is also the “everything” that must go with them to make their new dwelling feel a little bit like home! 

It can be overwhelming but if you break it down into categories it makes it more manageable.  The main categories are clothes, school supplies, bedding/décor, toiletries, cleaning, and food/kitchen. Oh, and maybe an extra category would be if they participate in a sport or extracurricular activity.  Plan to make a list, adding and subtracting to it from year to year – it’s a great way for those procrastinating young adults to gather all their things efficiently at the last minute and for a quick grocery trip before leaving town.

Colleges usually have a list of all the amenities that are provided that would help in the determination of some larger items that need to be brought along (i.e., fan, microwave).  It is also helpful if roommates plan ahead to determine shared items like the microwave, mini fridge, air purifier, rug and similar items that really do not need to be duplicated.

Being an organizer and having experienced packing up for these mini moves, these are my top 5 favorite dorm room picks and tricks to help with the move and keep the dorm room tidy:

Zipties – These are very multifunctional for keeping electrical cords tidy as they are typically used for.  For a dorm room though, zipties can be used for strapping headboards to beds or even grounded multi-plug strip extension cords to bed railings. Additionally, zipties can be useful to hang pictures, flags, Christmas lights and anything else that can hang from hooks that are typically in dorm rooms.

Grounded Multi-Plug Strip Extension Cords – A segway into the next item.  A dorm room will probably be limited to the number of outlets for the multitude of chargers one student might have.  My suggestion is to get at least one long one that can go the length of the bed and a shorter one for the desk area or tabletop where their computer or TV may go.

Square Box Seat/Ottoman (Poppin) – This is the best thing ever!  It can be folded flat but still be strong enough to be a stepstool to climb onto a semi-lofted bed.  It is multi-functional as the stepstool, storage for shoes/socks, and an extra seat for friends.

Large Ziploc Plastic Cubes (have to give credit to Ellen Limes of Organized By L for recommending these for my son’s first move) – These are so roomy on the inside for packing literally everything but especially items on hangers.  These have built-in handle holes that make them so easy to carry too.  Another added bonus to these cubes – they stack!  Four cubes can be bungyed to a folding hand truck and taken in one trip (less trips the better I say). These zippered cubes are great to fold up inside each other and store somewhere in the dorm room so when it is time to pack the dorm items back up again, the cubes are there and ready to go.

Multi-Purpose Bin from Container Store – This bin comes in four different sizes and looks like it would just hold magazines, but it is multi-functional in keeping notebooks, extra toiletries, dishes and cups, extra chargers and electrical cords, cleaning supplies (that you hope get used), and extra sheets (and maybe even for storing the Ziploc cubes).  These inexpensive bins hold items vertically and are great space savers while keeping like items contained.

BONUS TRICK – Small Stretch Wrap – This is by far my favorite thing, and it is very helpful in any move.  This stretch wrap is readily available but the one to look for has a handle that lets the stretch wrap unwind freely without twisting your wrist.  For any item that you are moving that is awkward to handle because it has a lid that comes loose or a drawer that slides out or anything where the contents would spill out, the stretch wrap can be wrapped around the bin, dresser or chest and the stretch wrap keeps the lids on and the drawers closed because the stretch wrap sticks to itself just like that plastic wrap in your kitchen.  Another example of its awesomeness, the computer monitor or TV can be wrapped in the comforter from the bed and then shrink wrapped with the stretch wrap to protect it from getting damaged when transporting.

BONUS TIP – Label every packed cube/box with the student’s name and room number. Volunteers may be there to help on move-in day, and it ensures that the boxes get to where they are supposed to go.

This is an exciting time but just as in any move there is chaos before the calm.  A lot of students moving in at the same time, parking spaces are at a premium, there may be volunteers taking items up to the room for you and there may be a time crunch to get all the items up to the room, unpacked, set-up, so the car can be moved.  Planning and organizing ahead of time will create a smooth move-in where most importantly, you are creating a nest for your little bird to get ready to fly and enjoying time together before saying good-bye!

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NAPO Ohio is a legal entity separate and distinct from NAPO, Inc. (the National Assoc of Productivity & Organizing Profs) and is not entitled to act on behalf of or to bind NAPO, Inc. contractually or otherwise.  NAPO Ohio Chapter Members are a legal entity separate and distinct from NAPO Ohio and are not entitled to act on behalf of or to bind NAPO Ohio, contractually or otherwise.

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