Sending your kids off to school requires planning and organization; assessing the challenges and being ready doesn’t always happen in time for move-in day. You’ve made it through the first hurdle, but now that you’ve seen how much space they really have (or don’t’), you can fine tune and maximize their space and their experience.
Limited square footage: Dorm rooms are small and our young adults have a lot of stuff. Drawer dividers, closet organizers, bedside caddies, underbed storage, over-the-door shoe organizers all enable you to fit more into small spaces and create a semblance of organization. Light, portable accent pieces like a multi-drawer rolling side table, storage cubes, poufs, and bean bag chairs afford some flexibility.
Sharing bathrooms: Unless your fledgling has a private room, s/he will be sharing dorm bathrooms, or sharing a bathroom with a roommate or two. A mesh, mildew-resistant shower caddy or shower tote bag with multiple pockets made from a quick-drying material is essential to avoiding confusion and mold, and shower shoes and antibacterial wipes make a lot of sense, too.
Decor without destruction: People need inspiration from their surroundings, and tapestry-style wall hangings or stringing lights are a great way to add color and creativity in one fell swoop, but nail holes are always forbidden. If the walls are brick, you can buy brick clips. If not, 3M Command hooks that leave no mark are ideal… or you can try poster putty or even steel straight pins – they hold a lot more weight than you’d think and leave almost no mark when removed.
First aid: Midnight runs to the 24-hour pharmacy should be avoided whenever possible. Make sure your student has a first aid kit including meds for pain, stomach distress, colds and allergies; antibacterial ointment, tweezers, bandaids, peroxide, a thermometer, and an Ace bandage are also good to have on hand. You just never know…
Quick fixes: Presentations, interviews for internships, speed networking events and other business-dress activities are among the rare occasions student are required to look presentable. We all know planning ahead is not their strong suit. Help them be ready with a lint brush, Tide stick, mini sewing kit and a small travel iron or steamer tucked into their survival kit. You’ll get an eye roll at first, and a thank you later.
Embrace technology: While at times it feels like we are being overtaken by the Dark Empire, Amazon can help our kids (and us) make it through school. Amazon Echo Dot makes it easy for them to set an alarm or a reminder, call an Uber, check the weather, and listen to a book – practically at the same time. And Amazon Prime Student means that whatever they have forgotten, lost, or suddenly realized they needed can be acquired in just a day or two.
College is a learning experience, both in the classroom and out. You can’t anticipate every challenge and prepare them for it, but you have made a very good start. You can use these opportunities for fine tuning to drop in and drop off a new item, or to send a “We’re thinking of you” package now and then. After that, don’t worry. If you’re reading this blog, odds are they know the most important lesson of all – you expect them to begin “adulting,” but when they really need you, you will be there…and Echo Dot can get you on the phone.