Here are a few items not often at the top of the list.

For some of you, your freshman may be leaving for college in less than a month. I’m not trying to freak you out, just letting you know it’s time to go shopping and start packing.

The college has let you know about the XL (extra long) sheets, and maybe has sent a checklist of what to bring along. But the first time around we discovered a bunch of stuff we’d forgotten or didn’t realize our daughter would need. We made a mad dash, along with all the other families, to the closest discount department store.

If you’re in need of a checklist, take a look at these from Target, Bed Bath & Beyond and the Container Store, which are pretty comprehensive and can be used at similar stores. Also, if space is limited in your vehicle or you’ll be flying your child to college, you can order the items online and pick them up at a store closest to your school. This saves on shipping costs, too.

This is the first of three posts to help you and your student decide what to pack for college. The second post shares advice from other parents, and the third from current students and recent college grads. Here’s a start on often forgotten items.

Bed risers These were new to me—plastic footings you can put under the legs of the bed (that’s not bunked or lofted) to give more room underneath for storage—that’s key.

Egg crate foam­ or padded mattress cover Some schools don’t allow the foam because of fire regulations, but your teen will need something to make them comfortable on that well-worn bed.

3M Command Hooks They come in every size and can hold items both heavy and light. Their advantage over other hooks is that they stick to the walls, so your student can avoid creating damaging holes. They also work well on cement block walls. My daughter says the sturdy ones are great for behind a door to hang wet towels and winter or wet jackets.

Dry erase board for the door It doesn’t have to be big, but it allows new friends to leave notes for your teen when they’re out. Don’t forget a dry erase marker, too.

IMG_0917Laundry detergent and dryer sheets This seems obvious, but parents often forget to pack these because they’ve filled the laundry basket with other items.

Fan The college dorm rooms without air-conditioning are usually in the freshmen residence halls. A small room or window fan does the trick. It’s also handy in overheated rooms in winter or a hot day in early spring.

Microwaveable plate, bowl, mug with lid, plus eating utensils and a drinking cup Just like at home, they’ll be snacking in-between meals and late at night, and sometimes reheating leftovers. A bowl for the microwave popcorn will help, too.

Underbed storage containers with lids College dorm rooms are small and closet space scarce, so things like sheets, towels, blankets, etc. are best stowed below the bed. Non-perishable food stores well here, too along with out-of-season clothing. A lidded container keeps the dust out.

Hangers Most colleges don’t supply them.

Fun Tak You might already be familiar with this one. Better than tape because it doesn’t remove wall paint.

Desk or room lamp The fluorescent tube light over the desk is often unappealing, and may be the only light in the room. So pick up a table lamp for the desk or a pole lamp for the room.

Lock box The safest place to store jewelry, the checkbook, credit cards and other valuables. If it’s a combination lock, make sure you keep a copy of the combination at home because your teen will forget it at least once.

This is just a start. I’ll share suggestions from other parents in the next post.

Feel free to share your suggestions for packing for freshman year in the comments section below. 

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