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Inspired @ Home

Making the College Prep Process Less Stressful with Barbara Reich

By: Staff Published: July 20, 2018

Written by guest blogger and professional organizing consultant Barbara Reich.

Eighteen and a half years ago, we became an instant family the day my twins were born. Now, the reverse is inevitable as the empty nest looms ahead.

In August, my twins will start college, and while this time is bittersweet for us, it’s also a time where strategic planning can remove some of the stress and help us enjoy a special milestone. Since I am a first-timer, I’ve gathered some helpful tips on easing the process from friends and family who have made this journey before me.

  1. Book flights and hotels for move-in day and family weekends when you’re notified of the dates. The closer the hotel is to campus, the sooner it gets sold out.
  2. Ship as much to campus as possible, but if there’s a big box store (Walmart, Target) nearby, know that you can buy storage containers, rugs and larger items when you determine what’s needed.
  3. If your child will be coming home for school vacations, pack seasonally. If s/he comes home for Thanksgiving, for example, warm weather clothing can be swapped for cold weather clothing.
  4. small closet

    Make a wardrobe switch when your college kid comes home for fall break.

  5. Do your homework: be equipped with your child’s dorm address, move-in date and time, forbidden items and room dimensions, if available.
  6. For dorms with an open closet, use an adjustable tension rod and curtain to cover the space.
  7. Closet Maximizer

    A Closet Maximizer can create even more storage space in a small closet.

  8. Make the bed last. It’s the most convenient area to use as a loading dock and staging area, and you don’t want it to be filthy.
  9. Be prepared with cleaning wipes, snacks and basic tools.
  10. Discuss budget and finances prior to your child arriving on campus. You may want to set up a bank account or have your child get a credit card if they don’t have one already.
  11. Have your child sign a healthcare proxy. In the unfortunate event there’s a medical emergency, you’ll be able to make decisions and get information. Your child should also have a health insurance card and know his/her medical record for walk-in urgent care when sick.
  12. Prepare for a quick goodbye and save your tears for when you’re out of sight.

For more information and organization tips, visit

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