Packing for College ~ How to Organize for a Downsize

Packing for College ~ How to Organize for a Downsize

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Packing for college with a downsize in mind is not what most parents might think.  But moving to campus is a major life event that demands thoughtful organization. In this case involves both partnering with your student and staying focused on strategies to organize for a downsize.  Not only are you working with the logistics of packing, moving, and unpacking your student’s new life,  you are downsizing their possessions and limiting the extras in their life that they are accustomed to.  Even for the most organized Mom, taking time to edit possessions introduces a stress of it’s own.  That lack of time can often can be the road block that stops any successful organizing project in it’s tracks. Full of emotions, its easier to simply box  it all up. But in this case you simply don’t have that option. With limited space and even more limited storage, you’ve got to choose wisely and be prepared.  So to help you and your college student get ready for this downsize, I’ve got some tips for the organizing process to point you both in the right direction. Check it out!


Downsize Clothes

Dedicate one day for your student, not you, to tackle going through each and every piece of clothing, pair of shoes, accessory, and outerwear that they own.  Seriously. EVERYTHING.  If there was ever a time that they needed to know what they own so they can determine what they don’t need, don’t wear, and will need now is it.  This isn’t about cleaning out to go shopping because it’s quite likely they already have everything they need to pack up for school, they just don’t realize it.  This is about your student becoming fully aware of everything they so they can decide what they want to take to school in limited quantities. The storage simply isn’t there to bring more than they will honestly wear. Of course you are welcome to buy as many pairs of underwear and socks as you need to because that’s what Moms do!

Donate and Trash the Excess

Because it’s inevitable your student will have a pile of items to donate or hand down to younger siblings along with a pile of items not worthy to pass on, make sure you provide them with 2 boxes to catch the excess.  This way when the process is all done, you’ll know exactly what needs to be delivered where and you can swiftly get these items out of the house to make room for all the new non-clothing related items your student will need to be in charge of.

Downsize with Storage

With a simple three drawer dresser and small closet available to handle your student’s clothing, real estate for personal possessions is at a premium so you’ll need to carefully consider what additional storage products you might need before you get there.  Consult the campus housing website for room diagrams that might offer dimensions and evaluate your ability to bring additional storage units that require floor space, what you can hang over the door or on the wall, the ability to use under bed storage, and if you can raise the bed in the event that you need more, as well as the dimensions of the closet to determine what closet storage products will actually fit.  Because the both the dorm room floor space and closet can often be shared, any pre-planning your student can do directly with their new roommate is a good thing.

Pack Efficiently

Dorm room move-in is a fast and furious process, giving all students an assigned hour to have their packed up car in the loading zone and get it entirely emptied and out of the way before the next shift of kids comes in. Not only are there tons of people unloading at the dock, they are all vying for the same elevators and stairwells to get dorm room supplies delivered before they have to move the car.  That means that long before you even leave home, you need to pack up everything your student will be taking into related categories so you can easily find them.  Labeled plastic storage boxes make both transport on a dolly (bring one from home if you have it) and stacking those boxes up in the limited room space easy. Once you are unloaded with the car parked, you’re unpacking process will be a breeze.

Bring Joy

Encourage your student to bring a few cherished items from home that will bring them joy while away.  While space is limited for keepsakes and most students are ready to leave childhood behind and make room for their exciting future, a few cherished pictures of family and friends or special momentos that represent love and happiness can go a very long way for those more challenging and hopefully not too lonely days any student may face.  Anything you can hang on the wall with removable hooks or set on a small shelf, desk, or dresser top is a good thing.
Getting our oldest ready to go off to college this year has been all kinds of organized fun, sparking new ideas at every turn for how to streamline his organized life so he can focus on what matters most  ~ studying and making new friends as he explores the world and plans his future through his own lens.  Its the ultimate passing of the organized torch, making sure that he has full ownership of both his possessions and how he lives with them.  And I’d have to say I’m pretty thrilled with the outcome ~ but I’m his Mom, so you’d expect that!  Tell me…
Are you packing up a student for college this fall?  What is your best downsizing tip?

If you love to pin, we’ve got a great College Pinterest Board full of fun ideas for all things college related.  I’m looking forward to adding many more pins in the coming months as we begin this awesome journey with our son this fall. Look for more College Planning posts all month long and thanks so much for stopping by ~ we’ll see you next time!


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