Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Getting your Child Ready for College Part I-What to pack?

Here are some things to sending your kids off to college with that my kids and I have found you need.
What to pack:
    • XL Twin Sheets- One set for boys- they really will never change them so don't waste your money on two sets. If you think they'll change them get 2. This is the week to buy this size sheet. I've seen them in TJ Maxx, Target, Marshalls and a couple of other store in the last 2 weeks. Get them now because they go fast.  
    • A big thick mattress pad or foam topper. The mattresses are pretty hard and uncomfortable. Also find out if their campus has had a problem with bed bugs which are becoming epidemic. If they have had problems in the past, invest in Mattress and Box Spring Encasements. Get the cotton ones. They completely zip shut and prevent mites and bed bugs from escaping. 
    • Extra pillows. They'll use their bed not only to sleep, but to sit and hang out on so make sure there have extra pillows to lean against while studying.
    • Towels- They will need 3 or 4 towels- Again- they don't do laundry that often and you don't want them smelling like sour towels. 
    • A shower caddy to carry all their stuff back and forth to the bathrooms (if they aren't in a suite) 
    • For girls- one of those bath towel wraps is really handy and far easier than a bathrobe to wear from the bathroom to their dorm room. Like this one from Walmart. Make sure it has straps so that it stays up easily.

    • Make an office supply box. Take a plastic shoe box and pack: tape, scissors, a stapler, staples, a hole punch, reinforcer stickers for papers, notecards, post it notes, white out, rubber bands, paperclips, super glue, glue sticks and a roll of duct tape. You can fix anything with duct tape. 
    • Make a First Aid Kit. Take a plastic shoe box and pack: a digital thermometer, ibuprofen, band aids of assorted sizes, cortizone cream for bug bites or rashes, neosporin for cuts and scrapes, an antacid for upset stomachs, and some throat lozenges and cough drops. Pack some Imodium-anti- diarrheal- NOT Pepto Bismol®, or Kaopectate® because of there is a risk of Reye's syndrome if taken for a virus. Pack some day and night cold tablets but make sure to go over how to take them and to not go over the recommended dosages. 
I actually make these first aid kits and give them as graduation gifts. They sure get funny looks on their face when they see what it is but every single kid has thanked me and told me what a life saver it was. When they got sick they had everything they needed without having to run to a store while they were feeling yucky.
    •  Power strips with surge protectors on them. Outlets are scarce and many dorms don't allow regular extension cords.
    • If they are bringing their laptop to college, make sure that they have some sort of lock for it so that it is safe in their rooms. Talk to them about small electronics and ideas of where to hide them so that they are not right out in sight. 
    • If they are bringing a printer make sure to pack extra print cartridges and paper. 
    • Removable hooks and adhesives to put up posters and things on their walls. You can't put holes or damage paint in dorms. 
    • An over the door hanger with a row of hooks on it for wet towels and or coats.
    • Laundry items: A self standing laundry bag with straps to carry it.
      I still recommend sending them off with Purex Laundry Sheets I tested them last year and they work great, and are perfect for college kids. Nothing to spill, no bottles to leak, no guessing about how much detergent to add plus they won't have to carry down detergent and softener and dryer sheets. One sheet is all you need for an entire load. They are convenient, compact and idiot proof. While not the least expensive option out there, they are worth every penny for the ease of use and convenience. You throw one sheet into the washer with your clothes and the detergent and softener washes out. The sheet then goes straight into the dryer and the heat releases the anti-static. Easy enough for a college kids to do all by themselves. Maybe this way they won't bring all their dirty clothes home for you to wash at break! 
    • Also pack a box of Shout Color Catchers You throw one sheet in the wash with your load of clothes and it helps catch dye that leaches out into the water from staining other clothes. That way they might not end up with a load of blue or pink clothes. They really do help. I wouldn't throw one in and expect it to catch all the dye from a brand new red sweatshirt but it will help with their regular "Mixed" Loads. 
Tomorrow I'll have Part II  of Getting Your Child Ready for College and talk about the emotions you both may be feeling as they get ready to go. 


    Nikke Brown said...

    Great tips Margaret!
    I have a few cousins going off to college this fall and their parents could use these tips.
    I'm going to pass them on to them!

    Beth said...

    Girl, you are so organized! Thank God my kids are still years away from college. lol. I'm a new follower from MBC and I would love for you to come visit me at :)