Countdown to College – Sending Your Kid Off to University Life

In three weeks my ( teenage! ) daughter starts out on her first real-life journey away from home, so we are on a Countdown to College! I’m focusing on spending this emotionally charged time with her, tying up the loose ends, and hopefully sending her off with excitement and joy for both of us! We are shopping for the dorm room necessities, packing up her belongings, and finalizing the details. Here are some ideas for you to get your student’s college experience off to a great start!

Practical Dorm Room Purchases – This is a fun thing for me, so I can easily go overboard! Remember when you are shopping to keep it practical! Your student will most-likely be living in a 15 x 15 ft room with a roomate in college, therefore, have your student coordinate with that roomate if possible. Encourage them to decide on a color scheme, decorating, larger purchases, and other living details. Here is my list of essentials:

  • Dorm RoomMy daughter’s room provides a refrigerator – be sure to check on this before buying.
  • A microwave,
  • Coffee maker – My daughter and her roomate chose a KEURIG ( single serving coffee maker).
  • Bedding – Mattress cover and feather topper, 2 sets of sheets, a blanket, comforter, pillows, and because she chose a white comforter, a large colorful blanket to toss on the bed when her friends visit.
  • Towels – A large bath sheet, 2 bath towels, 2 hand towels, and 2 washcloths.
  • Shower Caddy – Stocked with shampoo, conditioner, body wash, lotion, a razor, shaving gel, as well as shower flip-flops.
  • Cleaning Caddy – Non-toxic cleaner in a spray bottle, 2 rags, SWIFFER duster, dish soap and soap wand. For laundry, include detergent and softener sheets, laundry spot spray, and a roll of quarters. You also might want to purchase extra hangers, and a laundry tote or basket.
  • First Aide Kit – Antibiotic cream, bandaids, tweezers, ibuprophen, cough drops, Vitamin C powder, TUMS, NYQUIL.
  • Dishes – 1 each – plate, bowl, drinking glass and coffee cup, as well as one set of silverware, a few large spoons, paper plates and napkins, 2 plastic containers for food, a can opener, a box of ZIPLOC bags, and a roll of paper towel, all in a plastic bin with a snap-lock cover.
  • Storage Containers – Aside from the caddys, wait on this. Measure when you get there and shop accordingly.

Packing – Dorm Room 2I’m a firm believer that the ‘Less-is-More’ approach is the way to go off to college, so I’m working on conveying that to her!  I am also promoting independence, so she is in charge of the clothes shopping list. She is making piles on her floor of what she’s taking. I am, however, going through it with her to make the final decisions. Although she will be in a cold climate, she is not packing her boots, winter jacket, and other winter-wear. She’ll get that when she comes home for the weekend in October. Remember the toiletries, and maybe a box of food.  When packing remember there will be limited space, therefore pare down anywhere you can! If you still feel stuck, check out this article: Smart Girls Guide to Packing for College .

Finalizing the Details – Be sure to cover these things before taking her to school:

  • Make sure she can do her laundry! It may dampen the college experience if she turns all her clothes pink in her first week away!
  • If she’s taking her car, make sure she can check the oil and handle a flat tire. Consider AAA – best investment ever!
  • Will your ( still teenage! ) son or daughter be on a budget? Go over spending rules, also, food plan spending etc.
  • Have a folder for college papers, insurance information, and important phone numbers, along with any other important documents that she will need to take along.
  • Tuck in a reminder of Mom! I’m sending a 4×6 family photo 🙂 You might add letters or pictures from siblings.

Your student is setting out on one grand adventure! With a little planning and prep work, your shopping, packing and last minute details will go smoothly, so, all you will need is a box of kleenex for your goodbyes.


Dorm Room Photo credit: <a href=””>Running Wolves</a> via <a href=””>Visualhunt</a> / <a href=””>CC BY-NC-ND</a>

Dorm Room 2 Photo credit: <a href=””>Gary Lerude</a> via <a href=””>Visual hunt</a> / <a href=””>CC BY-NC-SA</a>

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