So you’re sending your child off to college? Congratulations! It’s an exciting time. It’s also a busy and stressful time. And that means that it’s easy to overlook something important. Here are a few items to be sure to pack up and send with your child.
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- Mesh laundry bag – Most of us will remember that our child needs a laundry hamper of some kind to haul dirty clothes to and from the laundromat, but it’s easy to forget that they need a few mesh bags to hold socks and delicate items. This set of six bags should take care of any items that tend to get “eaten” in the washer or dryer. They also make it less likely that some small item will accidentally be left in the dryer and then never seen again. At our house, it’s socks that magically disappear and then don’t have a mate.
- Mesh shower caddy – Here’s one that can be carried to the showers in places where there is a shared bathroom. And here’s one that hangs on the shower rod for those who are going into suite type rooms with adjoining bathrooms. (Actually, this particular one is great in your own home as well and I have one in my bathroom) Both will help keep items dry and easily accessible.
- Locking fire-retardant box – Lots of dorms (and virtually no apartments) have a way for your child to secure important documents or valuables. While a determined thief can always steal the whole box, this locking box will at least secure those papers that contain personal identify information such as social security numbers from prying eyes. It’s also a good place to lock any other valuables so as to decrease the likelihood that someone wondering into the room will decide to “liberate” them. I’m not saying your child’s roommate is suspect, but the truth is that there will be people in and out of the room that your child doesn’t know very well. Better safe than sorry when it comes to valuables and information.
- Doc box or first aid kit – I made a homemade “doc box” to sent off to college with Butterfly. I took a sweater-sized plastic box with a secure lid and packed it with basic medical necessities that she might need. I could just picture her coming down with the flu in the middle of the night and desperately needing some cough drops, cold medicine, and Tylenol and being miserable all night. I made sure she had basic first aid supplies in the box as well so that she’d be prepared. I figured it would be better for her to be the friend others came to than for her to be in a mess. Then I bought some cute decals and Washi tape and decorated the outside of the box in her favorite colors and made it clearly identifiable to her (or anyone else who might need to find it) what was in the box. It’s something that teenagers don’t think about till they’re sick in the middle of the night and mom isn’t there.
- Umbrella – I’ve got to admit that this is something we absolutely forgot! We don’t live where we get lots of rain (in fact, we pray for rain!) and Butterfly woke up one morning to a humongous rain storm – and her with no umbrella. So I didn’t score any points in the “prepared mom” on that particular day. We’ve since remedied the situation and I will pass this piece of advice on from our daughter: get an umbrella that is collapsible so that it can be thrown in a backpack and pick out one that’s easy to identify as yours. She told us about a sea of black umbrellas lined up drying in the hall and students trying to figure out which one was theirs. She then told us that the students who had an umbrella that was brightly colored or has a really unique pattern printed on it were not left wondering which one was theirs. This umbrella with the Eiffel Tower would be easily recognizable but there are lots of choices for your child to pick from.
- Extra eyeglasses – There’s nothing worse than getting the call, “Mom, I broke my glasses and I need another pair” when you’re hours away. A cheap pair of their prescription (even if they wear contacts) might not be beautiful, but would at least get them through till they can get a new pair made. At the very least, send them with a copy of their latest prescription.
- Copies of medical prescriptions taken regularly – Unless you plan to get medicines filled and then mailed to them, your child will need to take care of this. Our big worry was Butterfly’s inhaler – we knew there was no way we could know when she was running low and needed a refill.
- Phone numbers of other family members – This one is often overlooked. Obviously, your child has your phone number, but what if the worst happened and they needed to get in touch with a grandparent or an aunt or uncle. It’s worth taking a little time to program in every family number that your child might possibly need to contact if the unimaginable happened.
- Cash – Even in this day of the debit card, there are times when you still need some of the green stuff. If (heaven forbid!) there was an emergency, your child might need to call a taxi to get them to the airport to catch a quick flight home. It would bring peace of mind to not have to worry whether they had enough money in their bank account to cover any expenses using a debit card.
- Voter registration card – This one would be easy to forget. At our house, we kept all the voter registration cards together so that when it was election time we could easily find all our cards at the same time. Depending on whether your child plans to vote absentee or needs to get registered in their new county will make a difference in what documentation they need.
You’ll most likely think of other necessities as you’re doing your last minute packing. I’d love for you to leave me a comment to let me know anything I’ve left off the list. Granted, all circumstances are different, but there’s no reason for the college send-off to be any more stressful than it already is. However, if you and your child didn’t agree on the college choice, this post may help you come to terms with their decision.
Please share this article with anyone who is sending a child off to college. And I’d love for you to pin it to your favorite Pinterest board.