When You Care More About Packing For College Than Your Kid

If you are the mother of a college freshman (or father, but in my experience, moms do the lion’s share of the college packing checklists), you might be nervously eyeing the calendar. After all, the Fourth of July is over, so shouldn’t we be kicking our college freshman move in checklist into high gear? 

You might be facing a “reluctant” freshman who doesn’t have the same, shall we say, “urge” to get that packing list under control and start checking off some boxes. 


Getting a start on college freshman life

If your kid is unenthusiastic about ticking off things on the very long list of items every college freshman needs, you might find yourself in for a tense summer. Especially if you are a list-making, type-A parent (*raises her own hand). 

When you are watching the days flow by, growing closer and closer to move-in day, and the piles of “going to college” stuff aren’t getting any bigger or, gasp, haven’t even started yet, you likely are feeling stressed. 

I get it. I mean, don’t they know that the secret to success starts with not only knowing what to bring as a freshman in college, but actually accumulating it? Hello???!?! These twin XL bed sheets aren’t going to buy and pack themselves!

Worst case scenario for the reluctant packer

When my kids are worried about something, I often encourage them to think it through and determine what is the worst that could happen. For example, when my oldest was worried about not getting her first choice dorm sophomore year. What’s the worst that could happen, I asked her? You may not get your favored dorm but you’ll still be at your college of choice, loving your major, loving your friends and having a terrific year. Not too shabby.

I apply a similar mental run-through when we travel. I am on vacation as I write this post (in Miami where we got chased off of the beach by a pretty ferocious storm, complete with beach umbrellas blowing past us a la the classic movie, Twister). 

As we backed out of the driveway at 4:15 am to catch our flight (I’ll do anything for a direct flight), I confirmed with everyone:

  • Phone?
  • Charger? Remember you’re not using mine if you forget yours.
  • ID?

If I get an affirmative to each of these items, we’re good. Everything else we can live without or, in a pinch, get while we’re away. The point is, it is time for vacation and I try not to sweat the small stuff.

So, what's the worst case scenario if your reluctant packer takes it all the way?


Will he end up staring at an empty dorm room? Will his freshman year be ruined before it even starts? Will her failure to pack mark you as a bad parent?

Of course not!

So, as much as you may want your freshman to get it together and get packing, don’t sweat it if it is not happening as quickly as you like.

After all, you have bigger things to worry about, like what size of twinkle light strings to get for that dorm room. 😉 

Pro tip: despite all of my “it will be okay” protestations, one thing that was difficult to find last minute was the legendary IKEA “big blue bag.” Don’t wait too long for those babies!

Heading to an out of state college?

If your freshman is leaving the state come August, you have some additional packing and moving considerations. In addition to that out of state tuition premium, you have to figure out how to get all of that stuff to college.

A great option for out-of-staters is Stuff2College.com.  

This company was founded when Michelle, a mom who owns a logistics company, noticed her friends struggling with the logistics (see what I did there?) of moving their kids to college out of state.  All of her friends were renting trucks and driving to the destination, which was more than 500 miles away. Not fun! 

So, Michelle picked up the boxes, transported them to her logistics facility, consolidated them into one big pallet, and moved them to the college town. Simple, right? The parents then were able to fly in with their freshman, grab their rental car, pick up the boxes, and move in when ready. Sweet setup. 

My daughter stayed in state for college (Go Buckeyes!) but if she hadn’t, I would definitely be using Stuff2College. Why hassle with anything else (ahem, uHaul), when you can take advantage of this simple, convenient and affordable option? 

As a special offer, Stuff2College is offering a 10% discount to SummerBeforeCollege readers. You can enter promo code SB4C to take advantage of the deal. Check it out!

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