Articles College

Adventures of a First-Time Dorm Mother

After having three children move into college dorms, I have learned a few tips of the trade that may make life a little bit less stressful for all you fretting mamas and easier for those college freshman moving away from home for the first time.

by Cala Pence | Contributor

First and foremost – LESS IS MORE!  My daughter moved her clothes home after her first year at college and 40% of them were still bundled together from moving in 9 months earlier.  That being said, if you will be driving your child to college, purchase the “car clothes bar” (containerstore.com $19.99). Bundle clothes on hangers in groups of 5-7 items, and rubber band the top of the hangers together. Put a trash bag around each bundle, and hang them on your new car clothes bar.  You’ll thank yourself a million times over! PS:  Thin profile, non-slip, flocked-finish hangers are widely available and allow many more hangers to fit in a closet.

Most dorms do not allow you to put ANY holes in the walls. So Command Strips, poster putty, and double-stick foam tape are your friends. You might consider purchasing these supplies BEFORE you leave home because you’re not the only one who will be shopping for these necessities once you hit the college town.

Dorm beds are usually twin extra-long. Since most kids move off campus after a year or so and will move to a bigger bed, I would suggest purchasing a queen sized comforter and blanket.

Lighting is notoriously bad in dorm rooms. Clip-on lamps, desk lamps, bedside lamps, etc. are very useful.

Mallory Pence, from McKinney, in her swanky dorm at Texas A & M.
Mallory Pence, from McKinney, in her swanky dorm at Texas A & M.

A standing coat rack takes up very little floor space and is very handy for hanging purses, backpacks, coats, scarves, umbrellas, etc.

Remember to think vertically. Dorm rooms are tight and floor space is at a premium.  If the dorm room desk doesn’t have shelving, consider some table-top shelving for books, printers, photos, etc.

Space bags fit neatly under the bed and take up minimal space.

Kids have friends come visit from other campuses, other dorms or from just down the hall to spend the night so be sure your student has a sleeping bag.

Living on a college campus means lots of walking, many times in the rain.  Be sure to send an umbrella and rain boots.

Girls like this idea: purchase an INEXPENSIVE full-length mirror (they are very light weight), and foam-tape it to the wall horizontally alongside the bed.  They can sit on the bed and put on make-up, do hair, etc.

Some schools allow students to move in a day early for a nominal fee – worth every penny.  Also, don’t forget that college town hotels book up really quickly, so make your reservation NOW!

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