How to Prepare and Pack Your Child for College

It’s finally here-after years of preparation, extra-curricular activities, and last-minute projects, your son or daughter is ready to go to college.

Unfortunately, the stress isn’t over quite yet-moving your child from a home to an apartment can be quite the ordeal.

Use this guide to minimize the stress.

Consider the Living Arrangement college student moving company

What your child needs to pack will largely depend on his or her living arrangements. Living in a dorm with a community bathroom requires fewer items than living alone.

Regardless of the apartment style or roommate situation, contact the property manager to determine what the apartment provides and what your child will need to bring. Also ask about any restrictions. For example, some apartments allow candles and others don’t. Some dorms permit mini-fridges or microwaves, and others don’t.

Apartment with Roommates

Apartments with roommates typically range from 1-4 bedrooms-some rooms are private and others shared.

Before your child moves in, contact their roommates, if possible. Compare packing notes to avoid extra appliances-the apartment doesn’t need six toasters and three blenders.

Regardless, your child will likely need to bring his or her own bedding, place settings, and bathroom supplies.

Living Alone

Privacy is a plus, but if your child chooses to live alone, you’ll need to do a lot more shopping than you might with a dorm-style apartment or an apartment with roommates. He or she will have to bring everything from personal towels to cleaning supplies.

Before packing, make sure you know whether the apartment comes furnished. Ask about appliances, furniture, etc.

Dorm-Style Apartment

Dorms typically consist of a room with two beds, cabinets or closets, and desks. Each floor typically shares one or two bathrooms. Many apartments also have community rooms with microwaves, though you’ll want to check with the property manager before your child moves.

If your child selected a dorm-style apartment, he or she won’t need kitchen supplies or bathroom supplies other than personal items. Check the dimensions of the room before bringing large items such as a television or gaming system.

As with any other shared apartment, compare packing lists of major items, like a TV or mini-fridge, with your child’s roommate.

Shop Smart

Unless you can find a good deal back home that you can’t get near campus, hold off on buying some items until you get to town. You can purchase school supplies anywhere, so you can save valuable packing space by buying these items for later. Items to buy in town include, but aren’t limited to:


School supplies


Decorating supplies (nails, hooks, tape, etc.)

Drawer organizers


Water filter

Avoid shopping at the store nearest college housing. Chances are likely that hundreds of freshmen and their parents will be shopping in the same place, so stock may run out. Instead, drive a few miles down the road-you’ll find stores that others have yet to pick through. You can also check with the University, some have order forms where you can purchase linens and blankets and a reduced cost.

Organize Your Packing and Shopping List by Room

Never-ending packing and shopping lists can feel insurmountable. Break your lists into manageable sections organized by room. Use the following tips to simplify your packing and shopping processes.


Don’t pack your child’s entire closet full of clothes, as this can take up valuable space. If he or she hasn’t worn an item in six months and it isn’t seasonal, don’t pack it.

If your child’s new home gets cold, make sure to pack appropriate clothing.

Find out the housing’s policy on nails, tape, etc. Consider investing in removable hooks to hang simple item like towels and robes.

Pack an alarm clock, even if your child uses a phone. An extra alarm on test days is always useful.

Bring two sets of sheets and extra blankets.

Pack ear plugs-your child’s roommate may keep different waking hours than your child does. Bring storage containers that fit underneath your child’s bed.


If your child has to share a bathroom with three other people in the apartment, he or she may have to downsize personal supplies.

Pack a small first-aid kit to keep in the bathroom or bedroom.

Don’t forget cleaning tools.

Bring toilet paper. Your child will start on a good note with his or her roommates.

If your new student will live in a dorm or a shared apartment, don’t forget a shower caddy.


Your child doesn’t need 12 sets of dishes; 3-5 full sets should suffice.

Don’t forget a bottle opener and a can opener.

After you test the water, you might want to invest in a water filter.

Buy small appliances-your college student doesn’t need a toaster that can handle eight slices of bread at once.


Bring a few surge protectors and extension cords. In older apartments, outlets may be few and far between.

Pack extra batteries.

Drop by a bank and pick up a few rolls of quarters for laundry.

Make sure your child has a small tool kit that can handle minor repairs. Invest in a small step ladder for hard-to-reach places.

Use this guide to ensure a stress-free move from home to campus. If you worry about fitting all of your child’s stuff in the family car, consider using a Austin moving service. Whether your child moves a few cities away or across the country, you can rest easy knowing his or her belongings are in good hands.

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