It’s almost time to pack up the car or hop a plane and take your kid to college and/or boarding school. While this is an exciting time, move-in day is also very hectic – especially if this your first time at the dance. Here are a few tips that can help make things a little easier:
Know the process
Most colleges and universities have a set schedule when it's time for your student to move in. Make sure you know the day's timelines to avoid any confusion. Are they distributing keys at the dorm, or do you need to pick them up from someplace else? If it's at another destination, the plan should be to get there early and get the keys FIRST. This is a great time for tag-team cooperation. If there are two people, one can start unloading while the other goes to get the keys.
If you flew in and your items are waiting at the stores, try and get there a day early to examine your items and have a game plan in place. You may be among a number of parents who had the same idea and the stores will probably be full.
Try and find out where you can park and how far it will be from your destination. Is there a drop-off area? If so, what are the rules? How long can you park there and do you need a pass or something to do so.
Wear comfortable clothes and shoes
This is not the time to wear those clothes that you don't want getting dirty. You’re going to be doing work – seriously. Depending on where the room is located, you may be lugging things in places you never thought you would have to. Find out beforehand if there is an elevator or whether or not you will have to walk up a series of stairs.
Bring a push cart (or two)
Although there are student helpers, there may not be enough to go around. Be prepared to do it all with the team you have. Push carts are the quickest way to get everything to the room without you losing steam along the way. Your student will probably need it again for a couple more years, so this is definitely a worthwhile investment.
Bring snacks and water
Moving is hard work, and this will probably be a very hectic day. Be prepared to take quick water and snack breaks to keep your energy levels high. With so many people around, it may be a very hot day. Many dorms have people walking around with water and snacks, but with so many people, you don't want to chance it.
Bring your own supplies
Make sure you bring a door stop to keep the door open, your cleaning supplies (you will need them) including a broom, dustpan and Swiffer or mop. Even though they say the rooms are clean, you want to go over it a second time just to make sure. You should also have your command strips on hand, a small tool kit, scissors and trash bags. Be prepared to take the trash with you.
Go grocery shopping
This is a perfect time to wind down with your student and explore a little bit. You’ll be able to drive around and show them where the nearest grocery store, drugstore and other amenities are. They’ll be able to stock up on what they need for their refrigerator and those other last-minute items they may have forgotten.
Plan for extra time
Make sure you have extra time in your schedule just in case you need to visit one of the campus offices to ensure all paperwork is in order. Make sure you have their correct mailing address (for their subscription box delivery, of course), and their student account information is up-to-date.
Move-in days are not events for the entire family. Bring the essential people and leave everyone else at home. It will be chaotic - you want to tackle the situation and get it done. Be mindful of the traffic (because there WILL be traffic) and make reservations at an eatery ahead of time. Finally, take pictures or a video before you move things in and after you're done. You and your student can look back at these memories one day with a smile.