Last-Minute College Packing Ideas

If you followed along on my Instagram stories yesterday, you saw that I moved Grace back to Notre Dame for her senior year. We had the best day! It all started with us pulling up to her new dorm, right in the shadow of the Golden Dome, that literally felt like the Ritz Carlton. Huge room. Great windows. And squeaky clean (which was, of course, most important to me!). As we were putting things away, I was keeping track of a few of things that made pulling Grace’s room together so easy. So for those parents making the finishing touches to your college-kid packing pile, I hope this helpful.

  • Facebook Marketplace is your friend. Talk about a great resource! The two things Grace wanted for her room were a television and a small couch. We did a callout on our local Facebook Marketplace and for $25–$25!!!–Grace scored both! Our neighbor down the street literally had this sofa in her garage and Grace found someone in Lake Forest selling a practically brand new television. Talk about budget friendly!

  • Target rugs: I was a little obsessed with wanting Grace’s first room that she has all to herself to be cozy. After lots of online research and being in and out of a bunch of stores, Target came through in a clutch with this rug. It’s soft to walk on, but I think it will wear well and it wasn’t shedding. I bought the cream colored one that is very “creamy” in person, although it looks gray in the pictures online. With shipping, this rug was a little over $200, but I have a hunch this will follow Grace to her first apartment or be reused in my daughter Annie’s college room someday soon.

  • A place for everything and everything in its place: This was something my grandparents drilled into my mom and she certainly then passed it along to me. I always like knowing that things can be “put away,” which is tough in college because there isn’t much storage space. But luckily, we found this great set of inexpensive shelves at Homegoods and these baskets at Target. The baskets came in tons of colors, even more than what they’re showing online right now. Also, we found this woven trunk (shown above) on Amazon that is going to store Grace’s shoes. It’s also doubling as a cute coffee table. Function and fashion–a total win and I know she can use it next year in an apartment, too.

  • Bring all the clothes you can on a hanger. This is probably the best moving-in hack I can offer. Until this year, Grace only ever had half a wardrobe (she shared the other half with a roommate). Hung items took up much less space than folding. It’s also much easier to move items that are on a hanger. Grace usually rubber bands a number of hung items together and then puts a garbage bag over them to keep them clean when we’re traveling and then moving them into her room. And those items can then be hung up right when you walk in. I think all of her clothes were put away yesterday in about 15 minutes.

  • A great fan. My sister Betsy discovered this Lasko High-Velocity fan when our oldest kids were freshmen and I swear it has the same force as an air conditioner. It’s so good! I also love that it’s super durable and takes up very little space. We didn’t have Grace’s yesterday when we moved in and we missed it, but my son has had his all summer for football camp and swears by it. He also uses his as a noise machine to cancel out roommate sounds when he’s trying to sleep. (Pro tip!)

  • At least two surge protectors and lots of extension cords. Don’t underestimate how many surge protectors and extension cords you might need. Grace has a big room this year and only four outlets. I’m no electrician but I felt like one yesterday trying to get everything plugged in. And in a past year, she would have had to share these outlets. We went prepared yesterday, but I remember when she was a freshman trying to find extension cords at the Target near campus and it was picked clean. (Just make sure you have enough! And while you’re at it, throw some AA and AAA batteries in your cart, too. You’ll need these for the craziest things.)

If more things come to mind, I’ll be sure to share them. And if you have tips you’d like to share, please let me know and I can do round-up post. Knowledge is power when launching these kids!

Happy Sunday!


Picture of Grace and me by Jenn Marie Photography 

My name is Ann Marie Scheidler and I'm thrilled you've decided to check out my blog. I'm a pearl-loving yogi with a thing for travel, a weakness for beautiful bags, and a passion for storytelling. In this space, I'll be sharing stories about my family, go-to recipes, my wellness journey, fashion and beauty favorites, and my love for Chicago’s North Shore. I find new inspiration wherever I go. Thanks so much for coming along for the ride!


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