Get ready – ready for your local Target store to be sold out of the most basic of items, because it is almost that time of year! Not just time for kids to go back to school, but time for kids to go off to college and move into dorms. In a Black Friday-esque stampede, moms rush the stores in an attempt to get everything their babies will need to survive away from home…and maybe some things they don’t need.
If you’re one of those moms this year, let me help you out. Though my own kids still have a couple years before they flee the nest, I have moved my fair share of friends and family members into dorms and there is definitely a strategy to survive and be successful amidst the chaos.
First word of advice: If you can get the bed lofted, do it! Dorm rooms are tiny, tiny places, and your kid is going to need all of the storage space he or she can get. Lofting the bed increases the amount of storage space tenfold. Unless your kid sleep walks, I promise they are old enough to not roll off the bed and hurt themselves. As I’m sure you’ve heard many times before “stop being so overprotective, mom!”
Another important piece of information: If your kid is going to school in another city or state, Bed, Bath and Beyond runs a service where you can go to your home store ahead of time, pick out the things you want to buy for the dorm, and they will have it all ready for you to pick up at a store in the city to which your child is moving on their specified move-in day. It makes the process much easier, so you don’t have to participate in the day-of shopping craziness. You will undoubtedly be making a trip to the store to get the last minute things you forgot anyways. Trust me, that one run will be enough to put your sanity in check.
The most underrated necessity of dorm rooms: Hooks. Buy all of the hooks! You might not use them all, but it’s okay to have extras. The temporary hooks that peel off without damaging the wall’s paint are great for dorm rooms. Your kid is going to have things to hang (i.e. towels, coats, etc.). If they do not have the hooks, those items are going to end up thrown on the floor or shoved in the closet. The general rule of thumb is, if everything has a place to go, it is a lot easier for everything to stay organized. Make sure every item has a designated home.
The dorm room cannot replace home, but I assure you, your kid is going to be fine. Make it homey and cozy with a rug, a nice bed spread, and a picture or two of you. Deep breath. You’ve prepared them as much as you can. They are ready, even if you’re not. It’s time to let go.