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Monday, July 30, 2007

Packing for College

Yesterday I helped one of my foster daughters pack for college. Since she is going to be around for another month, this was the first round - it took us about 3 1/2 hours with three of us working. I asked her questions about each item, she and I sorted them into categories, and we had another person who folded clothes and later packed sorted items. We sorted into several categories - toss, give, store, will take but don't need it until then, and will take but will use between now and then.

Those things she tossed and gave away were cleared out of the room as we filled bags - it gave us more space to work. We packed in clear plastic 70 qt. continers and slipped a sign down the side of each container listing the contents. This allows you to see the list as well as what is inside.

We packed clothes and shoes she didn't need now in a couple of containers. Winter clothes can be packed separately since they won't be used for a couple of months. We put school supplies in a container by itself. Another container holds extra shampoos, mouthwash, toothpaste, toilet paper (I can't believe her school doesn't provide it!!!), etc. Towels and other miscellaneous belongings went in another, and so on.

We also organized stacking drawers she will take for her dorm room - one for electronic things - camera, ipod, wires, batteries, etc. One for important papers. One for daily cosmetics/hygiene stuff. And a set of smaller drawers for little items. She'll pack her remaining items in her suitcases when it's time to go off to college.

By doing the initial packing ahead of time, she was able to get rid of a big job and have peace of mind that it's done. She could take inventory to see if there are things she still needs to get and have enough time to do it without being rushed. Her room now contains only what she will pack up to take to college, or leave behind.

If you have a child going off to college for the first time, make sure to look at the list the school sends you. Work ahead to purchase the things your child needs and to do an initial packing of his/her room. This will provide a pleasant memory for your child as he/she prepares to leave home, rather than a hectic, last-minute scramble. Going away to college is scary enough without having additional stress.