This past weekend was Operation Move-In (OMI) at Simon’s new college residence hall at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, Georgia. About a four-hour drive from our house to his new home, depending on the time of day and our famous Atlanta traffic.
If you missed my “Off to College” post, here is a handy link: Life in the States – He is Off to College!
It feels like this milestone arrived too fast though. The one moment he was still in Europe on his month-long travel adventure and the next, we were in a line of cars waiting to unload his belongings.
Preparing for Move-In Day
As with any other move, you have to be a little prepared. I started with the list the college sent us (suggested items to bring, and items not allowed) and created two new lists of my own. One for items we already had and will be packing for his room, and a second list for items we needed to shop for. It is also very helpful if you have seen the space on a college tour or previous visit, but we’ve only toured the outside spaces, during the holiday season.
Since their assigned residence hall underwent renovations over the last year, we were unsure of the room size, furniture pieces and how much space there would be in the room for additional items.
From the information I did get from Simon before he left for his summer vacation, I knew it would be a two-bedroom suite. Close to the end of July, I attended a Zoom meeting regarding OMI and they showed photos of the newly renovated rooms, the brand new furniture and the common areas. By a process of elimination, I was able to figure out which floorplan to use for planning purposes. Simon also returned from Europe at the end of July and we reviewed his housing notes, and found his actual room number, along with the names of his roommates. We were also able to pick our move-in timeslot.
The Room Setup
His unit is a two-bedroom super suite. Think along the lines of a small apartment. Two bedrooms (two students per bedroom) each with its own bathroom, and a living room with a kitchen. All furniture is supplied by the college and is brand new for the 2021 Fall Semester. The furniture includes a loft-style bed with a mattress, a freestanding wardrobe, a desk, desk chair, chest of drawers and lockable cabinet. The last three items can all fit under the bed, to maximize floor space.
There is a full-sized fridge, a microwave and a sink in the kitchen, but no stove (for safety reasons I presume). So maybe more of a kitchenette than a kitchen. Plenty of cabinets and counter space, and even two chairs so students can eat at the counter.
The last space is the living room. For this, they provided a couch, an accent chair, a side table and another larger table that could fit a television. The living room and kitchenette are open to each other, with the counter dividing the two.
Planning our Move
My plan was to get everything together that Simon would need for the first 3 or 4 weeks of college life, with additional items to be picked up on his next trip home. This was my way of helping him get ready for the move, while he was away on his trip.
Simon and his friend Will applied to be roommates, so we knew that they would share one of the bedrooms. The other two roommates would be strangers. Since all four would be sharing the living room and kitchen, it made sense to take the minimum, and have them decide what else they need as a group.
Like I said, we didn’t take everything we could have, but here is what we packed for his college life (phase 1):
My idea was to consolidate all the items into a couple of bigger luggage or storage solutions. But I didn’t want to leave any containers behind in his room, that would take up space there.
We used two large duffel bags (with wheels) – one for his shoes and clothes and the other for all the additional items. Of course not everything fit, so we added the rest in his laundry basket. I kept all the bedding together in a large plastic bag, including pillows, mattress cover, sheets and comforter.
The last item that made the move was a little wire storage shelf on wheels. I thought it could be stored in the bathroom, or in their room if they had space, to hold some odds and ends.
Simon packed a small backpack with his laptop and other items needed for class, and I packed a small box with some South African groceries and treats. I was keeping this little box as a surprise for Simon.
I would highly recommend doing something similar. Create a box with some nice to have items and keep it a surprise for your student. I live close to our local South African store and was able to shop for some of his favorite treats, condiments and snacks. I also added a personalized coffee tumbler, some Chick-Fil-A sauce and a special picture frame. I kept the box tucked away until we loaded the vehicles.
Here is my trick for organizing all the items (besides clothing and grooming supplies): Find a spot in the house where you can keep everything together as you buy them, or as they get delivered or sourced from all over the house. I kept a lot of items right in Simon’s room since he already left for Europe when I started with my lists. Whenever something else came to mind, I just added it to the growing pile in his room. All the bedding went right into a plastic bedding bag after I washed it all and the rest of the items into the laundry basket. This allowed me to run some “nice to have” items by him once he got home, and meant I didn’t pack and repack everything every time I added something else.
Having everything together in one area also helps with the final packing/loading part. Once Simon got back from his travels, I moved all the items to our foyer. It was only for a couple of days and all items stayed together until we could pack them into one of the duffel bags. He packed his own shoes, clothes and toiletries.
No matter how well we prepare, some things don’t make it onto our lists or get left behind. It is not the end of the world. Most college towns have stores (wait, what?) and there is always Amazon, which also delivers to most college towns (who knew, right?). We decided at the last minute not to take Simon’s regular computer screen (he was worried it won’t fit on the desk under his bed) so he took one of my extra ones. What we didn’t do, was connect the new screen to his computer to check if everything worked. So we did need an additional cable connector but was able to get it at Walmart.
Don’t miss the conclusion – Simon’s actual Move-In Day: College Move In Day!