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College Transition Checklists + Links

Your child or loved one leaving for college can feel like an 18-year hike up a mountain. You can not see the forest through the trees, and then suddenly, you're standing on the summit together.

Common Challenges

  • What do they need? What should they take?

  • How to maximize usable real estate in small spaces?

  • How to maintain and keep up with items in the small space, especially when sharing the space with others?

  • How to manage your time and keep yourself accountable for all that needs to be done?

We have put together some resources to help prepare you for this benchmark and point you in the direction of some products you didn’t know you needed. It's the last leg of an amazing journey, and we want to help you get there!

The “Last” Summer

It's a special moment in time to celebrate a chapter that has just ended. Invigorated with a new sense of freedom, our high school grads are at the pool, the movies, and every friend's house doing their rounds of the long goodbye.

However, a move-in date is set, and you want to help make a smooth transition for them to thrive comfortably in a new environment, where they will be tasked to do the laundry, cook the meals, and manage the everyday routines-- both new and old for themselves.

Making A Plan

#Lists are your friend.

With the pressure to feel prepared for everything, sit down with your grad and make a plan for the summer. This is a great opportunity to spend time together and have fun. You can schedule these discussions over time.

The Container Store has a great shopping list, as well as amazing products and categories to choose from.

  • Dormify

  • Small Space Living

  • Storage and Organization

  • Laundry and Bath

  • Study Zone

  • Kitchen Essentials

25% off at The Container Store

All summer long, the Container Store is offering 25% off college products. They have also curated some wonderful bundles to make it more convenient for you. See their Shopping List: TCS Shopping List

See some of our favorite finds:





We have our own lists for you too. You can get most things at the Container Store, but you also need to account for other items they may not carry. Our list is to help you plan, shop, pack, and unpack. It's kind of our thing.

Take Inventory

In order to know what you need, you need to know what you already have. Schedule a time with your grad to edit clothes and items, and plan a shopping trip from this step. It could be for clothes, electronics, or dorm essentials.

Here are our Lists in 9 categories to help get your organization started.

Tips from Alumni:

  • Storage spaces are limited. Plan for the variations of weather and bring everything you need. Maximize where you can but remember there are breaks in the school year to rotate closets and bring more for the next semester.

  • In small spaces, organization is paramount. This is tiny living, and maximizing the function of what is there is the name of the game. Good organization products will not only help a student focus better academically, but will also give them a more quality experience in their new space.

  • It's vital to make things feel more comfortable. As they come, the amenities need love. These items help make a new environment feel like a home. With so many new expectations, be sure to set them up with a space that offers respite to the college grind.

Tips from Alumni

  • Dorm life or college life gets messy. With no one there to tell you to clean it up, set your scholar up with the essentials needed to keep tidy. When sharing a small space, this is paramount and will help them endure their academic demands and keep roommate drama at bay.

  • No space besides your bed and your desk is your own. When sharing common areas such as a bathroom, create an easy-in, easy-out bathroom routine to help them integrate their old routines into their new environment.

  • Papers, study sessions, club events - College Life needs a full battery. Use this list to ensure you have the ability to stay charged.

Tips from Alumni

  • College food can get expensive. Plan for leftovers, meal prep, and snacks to make a budget stretch.

  • Likely some resources are available within university buildings, such as the Student Union or library. However, it's wise to have your own resources for your convenience and for when other resources are not available.

  • This space is yours, but just for a spell. Don’t let that deter you from making it feel like yours. Products for the renter-friendly, easy to set up, and easy to take down.

Tips from Its Arranged (parents of college students)

  • Join the Parent Facebook Page and ask what items are a must, especially for the specific building where your student will be living.

  • Obtain a room layout for the dorm room with dimensions and create a space plan for the bathroom, closet and room, especially if you are planning on bringing other furniture or storage pieces in.

  • Confirm the bed size in the room so you can obtain proper bedding sheets.

  • Determine if the bed can be lofted or if there is an option for storage under the bed.

  • Blue Ikea zipper bags are great for packing. They fold up and take little space when done.

  • Create a daily, weekly, and monthly routine (change sheets, laundry, clean bathroom, vacuum carpet / sweep floor, empty trash, create weekly study plan, create weekly meal plan, etc.)

  • Keep a calendar with all commitments - school, clubs, sports, social, self-care, check-in with family, etc.

Remember the Why

The fear and anxiety of this day is natural, but don't let it overshadow what it's all about at the core. It's about surrounding your grad with love and support as they embark on the next odyssey of their life. It's not goodbye, it's see you later.

Soon after drop off, remember to celebrate yourself. Raising children and parenting is a constant challenge, and crossing this moment in your relationship deserves reward and praise.

  • Treat

  • Your

  • Self

Take time and space to process your emotions and envision your next odyssey, whatever that may look like for you. Cheers to a job well done!

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