Moving Into a Dorm Room Can Be a Breeze

Wow! 5 years ago I wrote this blog about moving my daughter into her dorm room. How time does fly! Thought I'd share it once more - a little revamped - since I first posted it on my Wordpress site.

About a month ago I sat down to write a blog on how to organize your child’s dorm room, since I was in the midst of doing that very thing for my daughter. I don’t know why, but I just couldn’t get my thoughts on paper. Sure, I could have written down the usual list of things to pack, but somehow wanted to relay a different message. In the end the blog never got written. Now I am thinking that I had writers block because I was meant to write about my experience after I had moved my daughter into her dorm room.

Thinking back about the past couple of months and all the things we’ve accomplished in preparation for her move makes me smile. A lot of work went into this, but it was well worth it. I mean, the first time your child leaves for college is surely a time that you both will always remember.

I will definitely remember leaving for our 5 hour ride home waving one last time while our daughter was swallowed up by a group of freshmen, ready to start out on an adventure that she had been looking forward to for several months now.

Another thing I won’t forget is the time leading up to her departure that was spent planning out every last detail making list after list. We didn’t want to feel rushed, so we started out several weeks ahead of time picking up some of the items she needed along the way. It gave us great moments to spend together and gave her a feeling of relief, knowing that she would have everything she needed in plenty of time.

Being a professional organizer I can’t help to constantly stress the importance of being organized and going through this process I was once again reminded of how much easier it really does make our lives. I must confess that I felt confident that move-in day should be fairly easy. I was not prepared however, how quickly and effortlessly we pulled it off. Walking past the open dorm rooms of other students, who were struggling to contain their belongings and seeing parents who looked overwhelmed at the mountain of “stuff” that needed to find a home, I had to fight the urge to offer advice (and embarrass my daughter in the process).

So here are some of the things that we did at home to make the move-in process a breeze:

1. Hanging all clothing on slimline hangers, grouped by style (sweatshirts, short-sleeved shirts/blouses, long-sleeved shirts/blouses, pants, dresses, etc). We covered each group of clothing with a large garbage bag (poking a hole to allow the top of the hangers to fit over the rod then tied the bottom). We also used a hanging shoe organizer, which we filled with her shoes, then rolled up the organizer and stored it in a large garbage bag. Once we got to the room we simply hung the groups of bags into the closet and removed the garbage bags. Done! The clothes and shoes were neatly hung in order side by side.

2. We filled items to be stored in under-bed storage ahead of time and simply slipped them under the bed. The same principle applied to anything else we stored in the room. We used cubbies with individual drawers that hold her nail care items, a first aid kit, personal hygiene items, etc.

3. Items to be stored in the dresser were packed in neat piles by groups; like shorts, tanks, jeans, etc. Once in the room they just needed to be transferred to the dresser drawers. I lined the dresser drawers with non stick liner just to make sure that nothing got snagged or dirty.

4. We used collapsible drawers, like this one from Lowes, for socks and underwear, which fit nicely into the deep dresser drawers and will act as dividers.

5. Next we filled her desk with her school supplies (the smaller items had been sorted into little organizers ahead of time as well).

6. All that was left was to make up the bed, unroll the rug, hang a few posters and we were done. I really think that it took us longer to carry her belongings in from the car than to organize them into her room.

Moving away from home and into a strange place can bring with it a range of emotions for both parent and child – I was glad that I could lessen the stress and anxiety of the day for all of us and make her feel a little more at home knowing she had everything she needed.

If anyone has questions as to some of the products and storage solutions we used please feel free to e-mail me at or leave a comment below. I will be happy to help.

#planningahead #overwhelmingtask #reducingstress


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