(BPT) - Heading back to school can be stressful for a number of reasons, from new routines and lengthy shopping lists to preparing your students for the year ahead. It becomes even more stressful when you're faced with the tough task of outfitting a college-bound teen for dorm life. But there's no need to fret, the following tips will allow you to rest easy and have confidence that your child is prepared for the adventure ahead.
Unlike typical back-to-school shopping, college preparation takes a lot more planning. Begin shopping for school supplies and clothes at least two months in advance to avoid last minute stress. Many schools help by providing a shopping list of must-haves for the dorm, including power strips, refrigerators and toiletry kits - which is a great place to get started. You can also encourage your teen to reach out to their new roommates in advance through social media to discover their likes and dislikes. This can help them learn what kinds of supplies and furniture each person is bringing, so they don't end up with two microwaves or small refrigerators in what will likely be extremely limited space.
Many retailers even allow grads to create a college registry so family and friends know just what to get them. Soon-to-be college students can create an account and handpick specific gifts that range from dorm room essentials to tailgating supplies, bicycles and even pepper spray. These retailers also often provide helpful registry guides so you don't miss a thing. Creating a registry will allow you to start preparations early and shop throughout the summer for items that may not be purchased as a graduation gift, rather than darting out on a mad dash when it's time to move.
If there's one thing your teen will need to adjust to when going to college, it's dorm life. The rooms are typically a small, bland 200-square foot space with very little storage. And sharing with at least one other person is definitely not luxurious. While preparing for life in such small quarters may feel like a messy situation, it doesn't mean your teen's room has to look like one. With a little creativity and know-how, your teen's home away from home will be an organized, cozy retreat.
For storing large items, look no further than under the bed. Use extra-long containers to store clothing, shoes and other items that require easy and often access. To eliminate clutter, you can also turn empty suitcases from move-in day into storage containers. If you need more space, consider requesting a lofted bed to create more height for additional storage.
When closets and horizontal space run out, look to the walls. GeckoTechReusable Hooks help provide added storage to dorm rooms, allowing your teen to easily organize items such as desk accessories, jewelry and jackets. Utilize these hooks in the closet to organize scarves and hats, and by the door to keep keys, umbrellas and backpacks at hand. GeckoTech Hooks are easy to re-position and reuse, which means you can move them - and your belongings - around the room, to find the best organizational solution for your new space. Plus, the hooks remove cleanly so you won't have to worry about damaged walls during move out next spring.
While purchasing the correct supplies is essential, it's also important to teach your child to become self-sufficient. Show your teen how to do laundry and insist that they do their own clothing, sheets and towels for the entire summer. By the time they get to college with a roll of quarters in hand, they'll have the hang of it. College kids also need basic financial know how. This summer, show them the basics of banking, including how to responsibly use an ATM and debit card, write checks, pay bills online and balance their account. You may also want to set a budget - late night pizza and movie nights can quickly add up - to ensure your teen is responsible enough to manage his or her own funds.
Sending your teen off to college can be an exciting and emotional time, but with these tips you can make sure they are well equipped to survive dorm life.