15 Tips for Moving Your College Freshman

by | Aug 1, 2019 | LIfestyle | 9 comments

I can’t believe it is almost time to move our oldest daughter to college.  Almost every day, I find myself wondering where the time went? Where did the summer go?  All with a lump in my throat but pride in my heart.  As I begin to help her pack, I know there will be numerous emotions and memories that come with sending your child to college. 

While the tears can often be unpredictable these days, I knew I could help make move-in day predictable by asking so many of you for your best “move-in” tips and hacks. Your suggestions have been wonderful and I couldn’t be more appreciative. 

Because there were so many good ideas, I decided to put together a practical list to share with those experiencing this rite of passage with one of your kids.  So here you go!  15 Tips for Moving your College Freshman!

Tip #1: Ikea Frakta Zipper Bags – These top recommended bags fit just about anything and are sturdy enough not to fall apart on you while moving in. They are also great when it comes time to pack things up once summer arrives. Store them under their bed so that they are there already!

Tip #2: Hanging Clothes Tip: Several sent this great tip.  Pack hanging clothes in unscented or scented trash bags. All you need to do is poke a hole at the bottom of the trash bag and with the hangers-on pull the trash bag over the hanging clothes. This will keep your clothes clean and protected and also makes it easy to hang in your closet. Fewer wrinkles and faster set up.  We are packing on these slimline hangers to make more room in the closet and then folding in half in duffles to check on the plane. Everyone in our house uses these well-priced hangers from Amazon.  You can’t beat $20 for 50 of these hangers!

Tip #3: Tool box – You may think you won’t need it but over the next four years it will get more use than any other item you purchase for them. Even the simplest things sometimes require a hammer or a screwdriver.  I know we’ll need it for this Elfa Compact Fridge Cart.

Tip #4: Personalized First Aid Kit – Be sure to create a personalized First Aid kit specifically made for your daughter or sons needs. This could include medications, ointments, creams, Band-Aids, and more. I’m doing this only for allergy medication that she takes often. Reinforce that these medications are for THEIR USE ONLY!  Remember to bring a small safe for any prescription medications.  Many universities have VERY strict policies on medications and have NO tolerance policies for prescriptions that get into the wrong hands for any reason.  This means over-the-counter as well as Rx medications.   

Tip #5: Invest in an Air Purifier and/or dehumidifier – If your child suffers from bad allergies or even just likes clean air this product is a major must buy. The dorms are not the most updated and clean and having an air purifier will help them adjust to their new living environment easier. An air purifier can efficiently purify indoor air by getting rid of harmful pollutants, such as dust, pollen, smoke, odor, mold spores, and pet dander.

Tip #6: Fan or Air Circulator – Many schools don’t have well regulated heating and cooling systems and having a fan will keep their room at the temperature they want.  We chose this one.

Tip #7: Ship all you can – Ship direct to their college address, a college storage facility or a local UPS Store and you can pick up once you arrive to town.  In order to not be fighting lines at central receiving on move in day, I found a company that stores college dorm and apartment items during the summer and receives item as well.  They will deliver to her dorm room the day before move in day!! We had both The Container Store and Not Just Dorms as well as all Target and Amazon orders shipped to College Storage Services in California.  There are tons of them if you Google College Storage.  They will also store dorm items that you don’t want to haul home for the summer and bring back. If you know of others, let me know in the comments and I’ll add them here.

Tip #8: Sharpie for Labeling –  You may want to label everything you had shipped directly. If your college offers laundry service this is a must!  It will also help keeping things sorted with their roommate or suitemates.

Tip #9: Secure a Medical Power of Attorney – This simple yet often overlooked piece of advice is one to really think about. Remember, if your child is 18 or older, and been injured or in an accident, the hospital or doctors will be unable to speak to you unless you have this document.

Tip #10: Consider using an auto transport service – If your child is venturing far from home, like mine, you may want to consider using a reliable transport service to deliver their car. After much research, we are using Number 1 Auto Transport.  They can ship cars anywhere in the country and are so great to deal with.  They are helping organize a full truck of cars to California for us and other families.

Tip #11: Get an Early Move in Spot On move-in day, sign up for the earlier time slots because the weather will be cooler and the wait time and crowd will be much smaller.  Some schools won’t have specific times so just plan to go early.

Tip #12: Pack your car in reverse – If you are driving, consider packing your car in the reverse order of the things you will need to load in.  Of course, this advice may go “out the window” if your college has an enthusiastic group of current students that descends upon your car and graciously helps you unload! Remember to have labeled the bags or boxes with what is inside.

Tip #13: Cleaning supplies – Things like Clorox wipes are great to give everything a quick wipe down before you start unpacking.  Most of the rooms will have been thoroughly cleaned but may be a bit dusty. Also include paper towels, a few trash bags and a room deodorizer.

Tip #14: Folding Dolly – This will help you keep from making so many trips to and from the car.  One reader said they have used this in every move since freshman year and around the house as well!

Tip #15: Saying “See you later!” – Plan a time together before you leave, like eating a meal at a local restaurant or grabbing a Starbucks on campus. Remember, it’s not really goodbye, rather “see you later”! It may be helpful to pick a specific time to “officially” make your way off campus. Our school has a mandatory orientation for all students, which will make leaving a bit easier. For a little something extra, consider placing a note in their drawer wishing them luck on their new adventure! 

I know once we’ve done this ourselves I’ll have more to add!  You can see how we decorated her dorm room and all of the organizational items we ordered plus a discount in those posts.  

If you are doing this process for the first time, please send me your thoughts after move-in and I’ll add them, too.  Best Wishes to all for a successful move whether you are headed across town or across the country!



PS – Remember to leave comments on posts to be eligible for by monthly Beauty and Gift Boxes!  I’ll be mailing them for July when I get back. Also, when you subscribe to the newsletter you receive the password to download my three FREE eBooks including the newest just released this month, Easy Summer Entertaining that has tips and recipes.

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Meet Alicia

AliciaWoodLifestyle.com is a lifestyle destination for everyday living written by Alicia Wood. Alicia's goal is create a timeless, fresh way to approach fashion, entertaining, beauty, design and travel.

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  1. Ashley

    I am currently in the throws of getting my first born ready for college and your list was wonderful! Thank you!

  2. Susan

    Hey Alicia
    I subscribe to ur letter but somehow can’t find code for ur ebooks!
    Sorry to bother u with this
    I loved ur recent pics! Great clothes! And beautiful location!
    Friend from North Carolina

  3. Barbara

    I think you did a good job of preparing your daughter for college. Another tip would be to purchase all their airline tickets for visits home during the holidays. The first year we could not get reservations and my son found a ride home but I really didn’t want him on the road during the holidays. I immediately booked all the airline tickets for the rest of the year. I know times have changed, but my kids could not have a car their freshman year. This was a school rule.

  4. Michelle

    I’m a year away from this, but i’m already tearing up just reading this!! These are GREAT tips – thank you!

  5. Kelley

    Great post! I also prepared separate envelopes and labeled them with things like …..”when you are feeling lonely” and put a bible verse in it, “when you are broke” with a $20 bill in it, “when you are studying” with a Starbucks gift card, etc. Both of my girls loved these envelopes and it gave me something fun to do and give them right before we left!

  6. Linda Owens

    Wishing you an easy move and wishing your daughter a wonderful freshman year.
    Please post pictures of her dorm room after it is set up.

  7. Paige

    Thank you so much for the tips as I will be moving my son to North Carolina next week. This is a first for me too & it is a very emotional time.

  8. Holliday "Holly" Johnson

    This is full of so much great information, Alicia! Especially, the medical power of attorney! Gonna get on that right away. We are taking our oldest to his freshman year as well in a few weeks, so I totally get the feelings. Can’t wait to see your daughter’s dorm room set-up. Setting up a boy’s dorm room is not nearly as fun as it will be for my daughter!! XO

Meet Alicia

AliciaWoodLifestyle.com is a lifestyle destination for everyday living written by Alicia Wood. Alicia's goal is create a timeless, fresh way to approach fashion, entertaining, beauty, design and travel.

Read More

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