|The calm before the...DORM!|
I know some of you may have been putting off the gathering of items your young adult needs for college (notice I didn't say "child," even though I wanted to), because it makes it all too real that she/he is leaving home. But, the amount of things they need to make their tiny rooms feel like home for the next year take a lot of time to find at a reasonable price and in the style they want. So, my first tip...start early! We literally starting picking things up off our list after graduation in June (which I have attached for your printing pleasure!) Spreading it out over the whole summer makes the cost easier to swallow and allows you to avoid the last minute feeling of panic we all get when we're unorganized for an important event.
Side note...We started with the general color scheme of course, which was decided by my daughter and her roommate. They decided to get matching white comforter sets, but wanted to show their individual style through artwork and throw pillows. Speaking of pillows, now they can get expensive! But, they make the bed look so much more inviting when there's a generous pile of them. So, again, shop early. Every time we were somewhere like HomeGoods, JoAnn or Marshall's, we would check out the pillow section. We scored some great clearance deals this way, and I know they're going to have that great "collected" look when laid on her bed.
Back to organizing! When you've got a lot of puffy things, like the afore mentioned pillows, you're going to want space saver bags. Luckily, Dollar Tree has them because the real Space Bags are spend-y. Granted, they only come in one size at Dollar Tree, but I was able to fit all her towels/hand towels/washcloths in one so they're not that small. Another one was used for her set of sheets. Another for her blanket. Her regular bed pillows got the vacuum treatment as well. Anyway, you get the idea. They're a great space saver, and I was then able to easily stack the plastic blocks they became into large Ikea shopping bags (Only .99¢ each!) for portability. I used these same bags to also gather together practical items like a fan, mini-vacuum, and a lap desk for studying in bed. They're a great size, so I recommend picking up a bunch (this is an unpaid endorsement!)
A couple of the other organizing ideas we stole from our Pinterest surfing. Like leaving the clothes on the hangers, and using garbage bags as garment bags. We took it one step further by numbering the bags so that when she removes the bags her clothes will be organized by type and color. A little obsessive, probably, but if she can start college with a little feeling of order and control it can't be bad! The two exceptions to this method were her jeans/yoga pants which we folded and stashed in her hamper, and her coats/dresses which were put in traditional garment bags because of their bulk. After bagging and labeling her clothes, we folded them in half and stacked them into some more of the Ikea shopping bags. I must say, I like these better for clothes than plastic bins because we can fold them down and store them in her dorm for the move-out next June and they have long handles we can swing over our shoulders for carrying.
Speaking of plastic bins, yes, we did use them. We dedicated one bin for each area of her dorm room. One for bath/toiletries, one for kitchen/snack type items, and one for school/desk supplies. As we purchased items over the summer we could just toss it in the appropriate bin. And, bonus, this way when we unpack the items everything is in one place and easy to find.
Another idea we picked-up from the web was to pack small drawer units ahead of time, and just tape the drawers shut. We can then simply slide them under the bed, remove the tape, and she's ready to go! A narrow set of drawers holds undies, bras, and socks. The wider set, t-shirts, sweatshirts and pajamas. We also opted to purchase the opaque drawers for little extra for privacy, and the cute basketweave pattern. We just used a little craft glue to paint the handles gold to match all her other gold accessories.
Lastly, we packed a small bag (pictured on the bed) with cleaning supplies (Clorox Wipes & Swiffer Set) and commonly used tools, like screwdrivers and duct tape. We wanted to be prepared for the unknown, and it just seemed practical. Why would we move all her beautiful new things onto dusty old furniture? We wouldn't, so we can give everything the quick wipe down before unpacking!
Phew! That's it for now...I better go start loading this mass of things now just to make sure it fits in the ol' Ford. I'll be sure to post a few pictures of the finished dorm room, because I swear there are like two pictures of Oregon State dorm rooms on the entire web. Oh! And, here's the pretty little packing list I compiled from a bunch of others I'd seen. Hope it comes in handy and gives you a little sense of calm in the storm of dorm move-in day with your daughter! (Btw, it doesn't include clothes, 'cause honestly what girl would forget those!!)