Fall dorm move-in vs. Spring move-out

Our daughter’s semester will be over at the end of this week and we are driving to her campus this weekend to get her moved out. She’s our first to go away and I know now that we overpacked last Spetember and have already brought home a few things that she didn’t need (a microwave, extra comforter) I have to say, though, that we found move-in to be relatively straghtforward and easy.

We’ve mentioned our upcoming move-out to a few people and the responses seem uniformly negative: not fun, a lot of hard work, stressful, bring lots of garbage bags, just rushing to throw out stuff at the end of the day.

For those of you who have been through this, what has your experience been? Any good survival tips?

Thanks in advance!

Your child needs to schedule the check out with the RA, and that includes the vacuum schedule. My daughter did a terrible job packing, so it was hard to fit everything into the car. Even though some things had come home early, not the 420 extra t-shirts she’d accumulated over the year, the extra books, the knick-knacks, the extra clothes (does one really need 10 college sweatshirts, even if they were ‘practically free’?)

The excitement of moving in and starting something new is not there, just the vacuuming, the wiping down, the lugging stuff to the car.

The best move out each year for us was the cross country kiddo who just stored everything…and flew home with her suitcase and computer bag.

To be honest, I wish we had done the same with the kid who went to college 2 hours from home.

The main difference between move in and move out…at our kids’ schools during move in, there were a ton of upperclassmen to help schlep the stuff, and those big rolling laundry bins to move things in. At move out…you are on your own…period.

We took black trash bags for anything soft…clothes, linens, etc. and some boxes for the other stuff…like books and decor. We schlepped a fridge back and forth too…ridiculous.

We told out kid that anything that didn’t fit into our van needed to be tossed.

I will tell you, by the time he was a senior, he moved in and out in a sedan.

The main reasons we found move-out to be a bit more stressful was that instead of our kids being excited for a new year, a new adventure, they are exhausted from finals and often a bit grouchy about coming home after a great year in college. In addition at move-out the kids are not always packed up as much as they could be so that adds to the work. And yes, they somehow accumulate more stuff as the year goes on. That said, just allow plenty of time and be sure to have enough space for stuff. My other advice is to keep smiling. (no matter how painful it is) and not to complain about how dirty the room might be.

And we always show up with a few boxes, black trash bags, and a swiffer (with many refills).

The best tip I got for packing for college was to buy the blue rectangular zippered bags from IKEA. We bought our daughter 8 of them. With the exception of odd shaped things like a lamp or clothes basket, she was able to fit all of her things into these bags. They are very easy to carry in and out of the dorm. My daughter will move home next weekend. I drove to her school to haul some of her bigger items since she can’t fit all of it in her car. She did send back two of the blue bags full of winter clothes. She’ll fill the remaining 6 bags and they’ll easily fit in her car. I ordered the bags from eBay since I don’t live close to an IKEA store.

I’m not too worried about her cleaning out her room. She and her roommate can handle that on their own. I can’t believe her first year is already coming to an end.

@Fourthmom, are these the Ikea bags you mean? http://m.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/art/90149148/

I have to say that the reviews are great. We live 20 minutes from an Ikea and have to head in that direction on Wednesday. The website says that they have 207 of them in stock so we will get a batch of them. We’ve been using the zipper-less shopping bags for years and like them but these look even better for moving stuff.

My daughter says that she’s packed a suitcase full of clothes already which is a surprise, she has been moving more slowly since having mono in February. So I’m cutting her some slack and trying to be patient. @happy1 I’ll try to remember to keep smiling!

I never sweated more than when I helped move my second out of his Socal dorm in blazing heat. Bring a change of clothes for you to drive home in, even if you are stinky, a fresh shirt still feels better than slimy one. Most comfortable shoes you own. @thumper1 is spot on, you are never more “on your own” than when you are moving out. If CS kid with gear, bubble wrap or tape gun for monitors. I brought flat cardboard to protect monitors (yes, all three of them, oh brother). I understand this may be an isolated incident. :slight_smile:

And as I have mentioned many times in moving tip threads (and sorry if you heard before) use yard trash bags upside down with hole poked in bottom for a garment bag for stuff hung in closet. Hangers through the hole (can rubberband together to secure if you want), tie together at bottom, fold, and smoosh into any crevice available in car.

post edit: paper towels and pray for a good parking spot.

Those are the bags - easy to carry and quite heavy duty. They fold up small and can easily be stored when not being used. My daughter used one or two when she came home on breaks too. I’ve actually thought about giving a college bound kid a few of them as a graduation gift.

I hate move out - freshman year was horrible. I think my daughter had her last final that morning - almost nothing had been packed yet, and she was emotional saying goodbye to her wonderful new friends. Spent hours packing, loading the car, and trying to squeeze everything in. (I think we drove home with stuff piled on my daughter’s lap - bought an SUV after that so we could haul more stuff!)

Wow, my daughter’s roommate’s parents are going to need a nice present from us! They are helping four freshman move out next weekend, their daughter, our daughter, and two other out of towners who are rooming with the two girls next year, and they are storing all of their stuff for the summer too. I did suggest strongly to my daughter that she make sure her stuff is all ready to haul when they come and to expect to haul too. She doesn’t have much choice in the matter since we can’t be there.

This is a great thread - thank you to everyone for the tips! My D lives on the 4th floor in a dorm with no elevator or air conditioning. I am not looking forward to this.

@NorthernMom61 I would definitely send those parents a gift card for a dinner out, a bottle of wine, or something along those lines. They are very gracious to do that. And you are right to be sure your D is packed in advance. Maybe also suggest that she vacuum the room in advance (that is a help, trust me).

I’m following along too…first real move-out. And we will be on a time crunch.

I have been through it with all 3 of my kids. My daughter (oldest) always had SO MUCH STUFF, but most of the time she was organized and ready for move-out. Her freshman year she had to be out a couple hours after her last final so my husband and I went down (2 hours away) the weekend before and took most of her stuff home, and left a car. My middle son was a very light packer and extremely organized. He was always ready when I went to pick him up and it never too more than 2 trips up and down to get everything in the car. We drove 6 hours to pick up #3 (son). When we arrived his dorm was a disgusting mess and he had not packed a thing. We just threw everything in the car. There was a giant pile of stuff in the lobby that people were “donating”.

Moving out was much, much worse and took much longer than moving in.
After my son’s freshman year, because my husband was sick that day, I ended up driving the 4 hours to pick up my son, planning on being able to quickly pack the car, turn around, and make the return trip.
First, my son wasn’t ready and still doing some packing.
Second, many of the kids on his floor had early flights (my son had a later final project deadline), ditched stuff, and flew out. Signs had been posted that all refuse needed to be brought to the dumpsters, but the majority of his floor just dropped the garbage off by the elevators. If it was left there, residents of the floor would be billed for the personnel cost of moving it to the dumpsters. My son, his one remaining floormate, and I probably made two dozen trips with other people’s garbage/recycling in order to avoid the fees.
It was 85 degrees and humid; there was no AC in the dorm.
It was miserable.
A planned-on 9-hour day took 12.

The hardest part about moving out is that kids seem to underestimate the time it takes to clean up and to formally check out. I didn’t help my D1 move home any semester except when she graduated. D2 was in town and was almost harder since she thought she could just drop by with some stuff over exams. So she never really packed anything and ended up with lots of little bags and boxes and waited til the bitter end to leave for good and then underestimated how much was left and clean up time for the campus apartment- and had to work around other girls leaving. Thankfully they were all good kids, and there were usually extra guys around to haul stuff down from 3rd story walkup.

^^^ I may have opted for the fees in that situation. Depends how much they were.

Move in: Well organized. Set move in times. Upperclass students set up to help freshmen move into dorms. Everyone is excited, scared, sad but mostly it’s exciting and new. We go home and house seems kind of empty.

Move out: Kid has been studying for finals. Last final is the day of move out. Everyone is trying to get out at the same time. Very rudimentary packing so we have to pack things up before we can load. We can’t find the RA and D wants to meet with some friends before we leave and some friends are unavailable so she is a little surly. When we get home the house explodes with all of the stuff brought home from the dorm.

It’s still great to get them home:)

Move-in was really easy because D’s university had volunteers who helped. You pulled up your car and then didn’t have to lift a finger until everything was already in the dorm room. Some cleaning was required (the dorm room was clean but not “mom clean”), but not much. For move-out, you have to do it all on your own, and there is 9 months of accumulated stuff and mess to deal with and clean up. How much that amounts to, of course, varies by student. And the kids don’t have a lot of time to spend packing and cleaning because finals are right before move-out.

All of that said, I helped my daughter move in, but she has always moved herself out, so while move-out was much more difficult and time consuming for her, it was easier for me. When she lived in the dorms, she rented a storage unit for summer for things she wouldn’t need until she returned to school. That helped with things fitting in the car, but involved an extra step on each end of the process. Once she moved off-campus, she stayed in the same off-campus apartment for two years, so no move-out/storage was required after the first year. There’s a lot to be said for choosing your off-campus apartment wisely and staying there for the duration.

Not to unduly anger anyone here, but this is just one of the realities you live with when your kid is at a LAC w/ the majority of it paid by scholarship and other students are able to pay full fare (and apparently rather easily, at that). My son was blunt: “I don’t want to pay through the nose for rich kids’ garbage.”