Mommy's Favorite Things: 8 Tips to Make Move-In Day a Little Less Hectic

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

8 Tips to Make Move-In Day a Little Less Hectic

The day has finally arrived: your child will be moving into a performing arts boarding high school dorm room, thus beginning what promises to be an epic journey of self-discovery and adventure.
Depending on the school your child goes to, you might only have to plan a big move-in day for the first year, or you might have to move everything out at the end of the year and haul it all back once the new school season starts.

In either case, move-in day is an exciting time. It’s the first time your child or teen will be seeing friends, both old and new, and it’s also the day in which you’ll need to say goodbye. Of course, you’ll be reunited soon enough—most boarding school students go home at least once a month if possible—but saying goodbye is still hard on both of you. And let’s not forget that the day is just as physically draining as it is emotionally challenging; moving boxes is hard work!
Here are eight tips to help you get through the day.

1.     Use labeled bins to pack similar things together. Better yet, create one box or bin for each drawer in your child’s dorm room. It’s much easier to sort and organize at home while you’re packing than to do so when unpacking on move-in day.
2.     Pack an overnight bag with the basics. Things can wind up missing or misplaced no matter how carefully you pack. Pack an overnight bag with your child so that she knows exactly where her toothbrush, deodorant and a comfortable change of clothes are once she arrives.
3.     Don’t overpack. Your child’s dorm is her bedroom, not her apartment. There’s no need to pack a microwave or fridge when most boarding schools offer these features in a community area just down the hall. Try not to pack for boarding school as you packed for your own college experience; in general, boarding schools are much smaller and more home-like.
4.     Load up decorations first to unpack them last. The last thing to do on move-in day is to make the room truly feel like a comfortable, homey space. Your child can do this on her own if need be, so pack wall decorations and other accessories first to unpack them last. This will help keep unnecessary things out of the way until you’re ready for them.
5.     Get an early start. Especially if you have a long way to travel, you’ll want to get on the road early so that you have plenty of time to get to the school and unpack.
6.     Eat a healthy breakfast and pack your usual snacks. Until your child gets used to the offerings at the school cafeteria, make sure he or she has plenty of familiar favorites to snack on to keep energy and spirits up.
7.     Move furniture before you start unloading. If your child will have a roommate, it’s good to wait to do anything drastic until roommate is there so that both students can agree on a setup they like. It might be bunk beads or something entirely different. In any case, it’s easiest to move furniture around without boxes in the way.
8.     Be ready with words of wisdom and love. As the end of move-in day draws near, both you and your child may be fighting back the tears. Let them come! But if you struggle to think of words of wisdom in the moment, plan ahead. Assure your child that boarding school will be different but fun and that you’re always a phone call, text, email or visit away.

Remember, the first year is always the hardest!