Move-in day for college freshmen and their parents doesn’t have to be stressful. However bittersweet the experience of your child moving away from home, with some planning, it can be a rewarding experience for all as they start their new lives.
Before arriving on-campus, it’s crucial to make a list of what will be needed for your student to bring.
Deciding what to bring to college depends on your teen’s needs and the dorm’s requirements. Some college dorms offer apartment-style living, where each student has their own room and may need to bring dorm furniture. Others may be fully furnished. Regardless of the dorm style, there are several dorm room necessities you should put on their packing list for college.
First off, your freshman should check with roommate(s) to decide who will bring which items to narrow down the list. Before packing, a helpful guideline is to put everything you want to bring with you in the middle of your room. Then, put half back and start weeding out half of what’s left.
As you make your list of necessities for dorm life, here are some items to consider adding (you can find a complete list at https://www.keene.edu/office/reslife/housing-info/what-to-bring/):
Bed sheets (be sure to check the bed size first; some are twin XL and require longer sheets)
Towels and washcloths
Washable comforter or blanket
Eye mask and sound machine for sleeping
Personal items (soap, shampoo, toothpaste, condoms, medicines, etc.)
Shower caddy and shower shoes
Depending on space a rolling laundry basket or a laundry bag
Laundry basket or laundry bag (rolling versions if space is available)
Under-bed storage boxes
Collapsible grocery cart
Cups, bowls, dishes, coffee mugs (microwaveable ones are a good choice), and silverware
Dishwashing liquid and sponge, dish rack, can opener
Food storage containers
Desk supplies (pens, pencils, paper, paperclips, et cetera)
Memo/white board for outside of door
Picture-hanging strips (because nails and screws can’t be hammered into walls)
Non-perishable snack foods
IDs and paperwork (including car registration, medical insurance cards, et cetera)
List of emergency contacts
Over-the-counter medications (e.g., cold and flu meds, menstrual-relief products, cough drops, antacids, et cetera)
Prescription medications and copies of prescriptions
Games (they are great ice breakers with new roommates)
Pictures from home
Parents should note that electrical appliances (coffee pot, tea kettle, hot pot et cetera) and anything else that plugs into a wall socket (fan, surge protector, et cetera) must be UL listed (meaning it meets safety standards).
You can normally bring a mini-fridge; some schools like Keene State College have a MicroFridge program where you can rent a unit with a refrigerator/freezer and microwave.
Items you can definitely leave behind:
Extension cords consisting of less than 14-gauge wire or multi-outlet plugs that are not surge protected and are not clearly marked “relocatable power tap”
Extra furniture, including futons and mattresses; inflatable, stuffed or upholstered furniture; foam couches; beanbag chairs (these items are prohibited due to their being fire safety hazards)
Tapestries or fabric wall hangings of any kind
Large trunks or bulky luggage
Candles or incense
Indoor or outdoor grills
Those who need to bring special furniture due to a medical condition or ADA accommodation can contact the college’s disability services office to have those needs addressed.
Parents of freshmen play an important role on move-in day in many ways.
Beforehand, you may want to have your college student practice doing laundry (with their new bed sheets if you choose). You can also remove packaging from new items to save luggage space and time while unpacking at the dorm.
It’s a good idea to offer your heartfelt goodbyes before arriving so leaving is easier when the time comes. Arrive on campus early to avoid the rush, and check your student in. Once there, inspect the dorm room for damage or potential issues; and bring along cleaning supplies to use before moving in. Make the bed to get mattress pads, pillows, and blankets out of the way. Once your student is all moved in (be sure they are part of the move-in process and make decisions), fill in the gaps and head to the nearest retail store to buy things you may have overlooked or some room decor items (be sure to bring a pair of scissors or box cutter to open it all). It’s also a good idea to help familiarize your student with campus and nearby essential spots at this time, like the closest pharmacy, hair salon and dentist’s office.