Organizing a student’s move to university or college

Learning at college or university has a variety of meanings especially this year.  Some first-year students will be used to virtually learning and not be used to timetables and in-person classroom learning. More social interaction on-campus or off-campus may seem like a welcome change from their isolation of the last 18 months.  It may also be overwhelming.  Help organize your student’s move away from home by taking the right amount of stuff and organizing it in a way that suits their personality and new lifestyle.

Organize the right amount of stuff to take.

Panic may be starting to set in.  This is the time of year for back to school.  Some of you may be moving a student to a school close to home, some may have a long drive to the new school and others may have to fly.  Whether you may be able to make multiple trips to your student’s school or if you have one chance to get it right,  Anne Wynter’s    How to Cut College Clutter  shares many tips in this lovely blog post about:

  1. Clothes
  2. Documents
  3. Mini Kits
  4. Sentimental Items
Having an overabundance of possessions in your dorm room or apartment can contribute to poor time management and a constant feeling of being overwhelmed, Click To Tweet

Make your move a successful, low stress enjoyable event.

dorm room organizing

How much should I take?

Organize your employment

Once your student is settled at college they may need a job.  Finding suitable work may be easier than you think.  This article,  Ways to make money in college from Aaron Whitman of Careful Cents has many employment opportunities to suit any timetable.  Whether your student chooses to work a little or a lot any income helps to reduce the overall debt that they might incur at the end of their education. Plan ahead with your finances. In addition, balancing work and school also teaches time management skills.

There are many things your student needs to learn about moving to college or university.  Teach them the skills a little at a time.  Don’t overwhelm them.  Start with packing, arriving and setting up the space.  All teenagers can figure out how to get food. lol.

Now I’d like to hear from you.  What tip are you going to use from the post?  Or maybe I didn’t mention the thing that is most important in your family when someone moves out.  Let me know in the comments.

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, virtually. She has been working with clients since 2006 to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She uses her love of physical activity to reduce clutter, in your home and office. She guides and supports you to manage your time. If you’re in a difficult transition Julie can coach you to break-free of emotional clutter constraining you from living life on your terms. Online courses are available to help instruct, coach and support your organizing projects. Get started by downloading Tips for Reorganizing 9 Rooms.

Contact her at

Click here to learn more about her online course Create an Organized Home.

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  1. Aaron on August 22, 2019 at 8:40 am

    Love the article, and it is packed with great tips and resources. Thanks for writing.

    • Julie Stobbe on September 8, 2019 at 1:58 pm

      I hope your student has a great year at school.

  2. Seana Turner on August 30, 2021 at 9:55 am

    I found with my girls that dorm success was largely about bringing less. The spaces are tiny, and there is just only so much you can do with a tiny space. I always laugh because the girls are planning for months, coordinating bedspreads with their roommates, while the boys are more like, “Oh, I move tomorrow. Better start packing!” LOL!

    • Julie Stobbe on August 30, 2021 at 7:34 pm

      Yes bringing less and adding as needed is the best solution. There is a lot of peer pressure. If you have less you can add “the right stuff”. It is sad to have to say this but if it helps some students make their move easier and feel less bullied I am here to help.

  3. Sabrina Quairoli on August 30, 2021 at 10:33 am

    Great tips! It’s important to have the child determine if they can handle the stress of working and going to school. When my kids were freshmen in college, I told them to wait until their second semester before getting a job. It allowed them to understand and set up effective study systems to help them be successful when they have to incorporate a job into their week.

    • Julie Stobbe on August 30, 2021 at 7:32 pm

      That is good advise. It also depends if they are used to working when they were in highschool. My kids were used to going to classes 6 hours a day (30 hours a week), working 4-6 hours a week and doing sports 12 hours a week. When they got to university with 15 hours of classes. Filling the time was an experience for them.

  4. Linda Samuels on August 30, 2021 at 12:36 pm

    This brings back so many wonderful (and emotional) memories of sending our daughters off to college. We worked as a team to make lists, figure out what they wanted/needed to bring, and pack things in a way that made sense for them. Both of them attended colleges within driving distance, so we also were able to help them set up.

    But I remember for both of them, at a point, they wanted some help but then were ready to do the finishing touches themselves. They were ready to be independent, and we knew it was time to leave.

    So my advice to parents is to respect their kids’ needs. It’s an emotional time, and it can be so hard to say goodbye and let go. But remember. You raised them to be independent. Now is the time to let them fly. You’ll be there if they need you, but let them drive that.

    • Julie Stobbe on August 30, 2021 at 7:29 pm

      That is lovely advice. I like that you figured out what they needed together so it made sense to them. We do raise them to be independent and successful but they only learn from their mistakes. Let them make mistakes and be there when they need you. I sent both kids with small tool kits, cluthe screwdriver, hammer, nails, adjustable wrench. They got to know everyone in the dorm because they were the only ones with tools and everyone learned to come to borrow from them. I had no idea it would be a good way to make friends.

  5. Diane N Quintana on August 31, 2021 at 11:39 am

    Both my sons took the bare minimum to University. Both were moving out of state. We lived in Connecticut at the time. One went to Nashville, the other to California. Neither were particularly concerned with decorations. It’s interesting reading the posts of those with daughters!

    • Julie Stobbe on September 3, 2021 at 6:59 am

      I agree that there can be a gender difference in what is important as well as family values and parenting style. I think as parents we want them to have “everything they need” according to us. In reality, they can live with much less.

  6. Julie Bestry on September 6, 2021 at 12:36 am

    “All teenagers can figure out how to get food.” That’s the truth!

    My college-bound experience was more organized than it had a right to be. Both of my parents had lived at home when they went to college, and my sister, who went to college 11 years before I did (in the free-wheeling 70s) wanted to do it all on her own (and could just take a ten-minute drive home if she needed anything). I went away to school, and only involved my mother in the “let’s go shopping” portion of the experience, and except for her assertion that I needed an electric kettle sort of thing that doesn’t even exist 35 years later, her packing guidance was spot-on. (I handled all of the scheduling on my own, and I didn’t take anything to decorate, buying posters on campus. All these years later, I still have no flare for decor!) Nowadays, there’s so much advice in books and on the web, but all we had was Seventeen Magazine!

    • Julie Stobbe on September 8, 2021 at 6:59 am

      I love your comment, it makes me smile. Parents who didn’t go to university didn’t have experience to pass down and students needed to figure it out. Then dorm rooms got bigger and residences got fancier and students needed to have all the comforts of home with them. Realizing that living in community shared spaces is different than having all your own space is a good lesson to learn. University is different than being at home embrace it and enjoy it.

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