3 Tips to organize a student’s move back home

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Moving back for the summer?

Moving back for the summer?

It is that time of year when college and university students are moving back home for 4 months.  If their things are packed in an organized way it will take some of the work out of moving back to school in September.

1. Buy bins that stack inside each other when they are not in use.

Stacking bins are easy to store.   Most of us like to cut costs and use boxes to move students.  Since moving is an ongoing process for the next number of years buy some bins.  They will stack nicely in a truck/van and in a closet or storage area at home.  They will only need to be purchased once whereas boxes are usually recycled and you need to find more every time. Bins are waterproof.Blue Rubbermaid storage bin with lid

2.  Before the student begins packing, make a list of items they need at home.  

Make sure the items that are needed at home are packed together in a bin.  Label those bins, bedroom.  Other items that they need only for school can be left in the bins to be moved back to school in September.  Label them basement, closet where ever they will be kept.  They may need a bin or two labelled laundry.  Some items may need to be washed before they are stored away for the summer, bedding, blankets, winter coats etc. This makes unloading quick and easy. If your student is moving across the country, arrange to have their school stuff stored with a friend or a storage unit. Save the shipping fees. Keep the list they made to move home to use in September.  When it is time to go back to school look at the list and repack the items that were used during the summer.When you're packing up at college or university, pack the things you need at home separately in one bin and everything else you'll bring back to school in other bins. Click To Tweet

3.  At home, designate an area where the bins will be stored over the summer.

Clean out the designated area before your student arrives home.    If everything is kept close together or in a limited number of areas when September arrives, it is easy to know where everything is.

A little planning can make the move quick and easy.  The second part of moving home is talking to your student about the living arrangements at home.  Set up a quick concise contract and life will be easy and enjoyable.

Moving to university

Don’t forget anything

What have you done to make moving your student back home easier?  Share a comment below.

A blue and white striped tunnel in the background with Julie Stobbe in the foreground wearing a white blouse.Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and 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 julie@mindoverclutter.ca

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

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  1. Donald Reed on May 21, 2016 at 2:07 am

    Impressive post appreciated.

    • Julie Stobbe on May 23, 2016 at 7:24 pm

      I am glad you enjoyed it. Parents and caregivers can get really overwhelmed by continuously moving students to college and home for years on end.

  2. Sabrina Quairoli on April 16, 2018 at 12:37 pm

    Great post, Julie! I was telling my husband the other day that we will need a spot for all my son’s stuff when he returns from school next year. I’m going to bookmark this post. Thank you.

    I love the make a list of the items he is taking with him tip you mentioned above. I didn’t even think of that.

    • Julie Stobbe on April 22, 2018 at 3:00 pm

      The years when students are moving in and out of your home and between different apartments makes for a lot of items being needed sometime, not other times and then again. Deciding where to store the transitional stuff keeps your own home from becoming cluttered. It also makes it easier to find the items they need.

  3. Seana Turner on April 16, 2018 at 3:17 pm

    I’m having a flashback to the year my daughter got home from school on a Friday night and we headed out for vacation on Saturday. I’m vaguely remembering carrying a ton of stuff up three flights of stairs to the attic. That was what I call a “learning year.” I was better prepared after that. It is definitely worth thinking this through before your child comes home!

    • Julie Stobbe on April 22, 2018 at 3:03 pm

      Live and learn, thankfully you found an easier way the next year. I had to teach my kids over and over that laundry baskets are not consider packing containers, you can’t stack them. Things fall out of them. It took a while but now they use boxes and bins.

  4. Diane N. Quintana on April 15, 2019 at 7:31 am

    These are wonderful tips, Julie , for people whose children bring things home with them. My son went to college quite a distance (an airplane) flight away from home. The first year, I went to campus and helped him store some things with his friends in a public storage unit. After that, he followed the same routine – although, I’m reasonably confident he did not make sure things were clean etc. before storing them!

    • Julie Stobbe on April 15, 2019 at 11:29 am

      Things need more planning when students live quite a distance away. You only get one chance to try to have everything they need. Using a store unit is a great solution for the summer months. Probably more economical than moving their things twice each year.

  5. Nancy Haworth on April 15, 2019 at 8:14 am

    These are great tips, Julie. Using bins instead of cardboard boxes will certainly make it easier to move to and from college each year. You’re right, those bins need to have a place to be stored over the summer.

    • Julie Stobbe on April 15, 2019 at 11:26 am

      They are also great to use at college to store stuff too.

  6. Sabrina Quairoli on April 15, 2019 at 12:18 pm

    I will be doing this at the beginning of May. We will be encountering issues of storing these items soon enough. I did buy bins that are durable and easy to reuse.

    My son will be taking summer classes on campus so we will be streamlining what he brings back for the summer. I can see a blog post on the topic coming in the future months on my blog. lol

    • Julie Stobbe on April 15, 2019 at 6:56 pm

      I’ll be interested in reading your tips

  7. Janet Schiesl on April 16, 2019 at 6:58 am

    Great tips. If you are not organized for this it can create chaos for the summer. We always designated a space in our basement for their college stuff.

    • Julie Stobbe on April 16, 2019 at 7:11 am

      Those years of students moving to and from school can cause chaos. It can also cause clutter when some things are no longer needed at school and start to pile up at home or students start collecting more and more things at school.

  8. Denver moving services (D.M.S) on January 29, 2021 at 8:41 pm

    Impressive post appreciated.

    • Julie Stobbe on February 1, 2021 at 2:26 pm

      It will be nice when more students can live on-campus or off-campus again.

  9. Linda Samuels on April 11, 2022 at 5:51 pm

    You brought back memories from the days when our kids were in college and there was a lot of movement back and forth. Stacking bins are great. We also loved the collapsible zipper bin/bags. They have structure like a big bin, but they fold up completely flat and small when not in use. Great for linens, clothes, and shoes.

    It also was helpful to go through their belongings BEFORE they left for college- clothing, memorabilia, books, etc… That helped to clear space in their rooms so when they returned, they had space and only kept things they wanted.

    • Julie Stobbe on April 16, 2022 at 1:56 pm

      Thanks for those great tips. I’ll look for the bags you mentioned. Having your student declutter the room when they leave for college for the first time is a good idea. There is usually so much stuff in their room from childhood, high school and activities that they don’t want anymore. Setting up their room for the next stage of their life helps to encourage them to grow into adulthood and the person they want to become.

  10. Julie Bestry on April 11, 2022 at 11:49 pm

    Great advice. I don’t have kids, but this was the exact plan I followed when I went back and forth to college. I lived in the same international dorm all four years, and we were allowed to store things over the summer, so the few things I knew I’d never need at home (box fan, room decor) were packed in Rubbermaid tubs and kept in a basement “cage” locked away. Everything else came home, bedding got laundered and put in nylon zipper bags, clothes got evaluated, and all those packed tubs lived in the basement until the day I returned to school. Everything was a turn-key operation, to the point that in later years, when I had a car, I was able to do it all myself — great preparation for the post-college years!

    • Julie Stobbe on April 16, 2022 at 2:00 pm

      I agree that university and college years are a learning/preparation time for the future. They gain knowledge from books and courses. Teaching them skills of survival are just as important during those years. Packing, moving, budgeting, making friends, and time management skills come from adults teaching them.

  11. Katherine Macey on April 13, 2022 at 10:19 pm

    Stacking bins are the best! Especially the clear ones. Being able to see everything inside makes finding what they need much easier.

    Great post!

    • Julie Stobbe on April 16, 2022 at 2:01 pm

      Clear bins are great for students. Much of time they don’t need everything that is in the bin so it makes it easy to get what they need.

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