Preparing for Moving Out of the Dorms

dorm move in

Moving out of the dorm for the summer can be just as much of a production as moving in. While you can’t control the way your student’s possessions have scattered and multiplied over the year, you can help him prepare for the hectic process of gathering and storing it all. And preparation is key — many universities only give students 24 hours after their last final exam to check out of the dorm!

Find out from your student when he needs to move out. In most cases, the move-out date is linked to the final exam schedule. Then discuss his storage options. These may include:

  • Renting space in a storage facility (local companies may offer door-to-door pick up and delivery)
  • Transferring possessions to a new apartment
  • Using storage space at the school (possibly in next year’s dorm if he’s staying on campus)
  • Bringing everything home

How will you help?

Discuss how you can help your student with move out. Do you plan to go to the university in person? How will you travel, and how much stuff can you transport? When will you arrive? Make sure to include your student in every decision, and yield to his preferences.

Identify the local businesses you plan to use ahead of time. If you will fly or drive to bring your student home, reserve rental cars and hotel rooms (if needed) well in advance.

Encourage your student to prepare little by little

Taking steps now will help your student avoid stress later. He can start by de-cluttering. As he goes about his day-to-day routine, suggest he begin throwing away, recycling or donating unneeded items. Nobody wants to pay to store or ship home things that will just be tossed later. Now is also the time to loan or sell any textbooks he won’t be using again.

Another consideration: what will he need over the summer and what can be stored? Is he taking classes? Working? Students should always bring home small valuables such as electronics or jewelry. If he’s flying, he should decide how many bags he will check and/or carry on, and keep weight restrictions in mind. Books needed for summer classes can be shipped separately.

When you get there

If you go to campus to help your student move, keep in mind that this is a hectic, emotional time. Move out comes right on the heels of final exams, along with all of the other end-of-year events. Add the stress of packing and saying goodbye to friends, and it’s understandable that your student may not be at his best. A few ways to support him:

  • Build in extra time, and be patient. He may not be well organized, and even if he is, inevitably the process will take longer than you’d hoped. Offer help where you feel it is appropriate.
  • Take short breaks. If tension begins to bubble up, go grab a quick bite or take a short walk.
  • Give your student space and time to say goodbye to friends. Plan a meal with other parents or a short sightseeing excursion so your student can have a last hour or two on campus.