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There will be more than 900 students moving to Spokane this school year to attend Gonzaga University. As the mother of a Gonzaga graduate, I know that the thought of sending a child to college for the first time can be terrifying and overwhelming. Then there is all the planning and work that goes into making the actual move. Based on my past experience and learning from my mistakes, here are some packing tips that will keep parents and students organized and sane:

  1. Create a detailed shopping checklist. If your student hasn’t been in contact with her or his roommate to coordinate items, then I suggest this happen as soon as possible.
  2. Create an area in your home (garage or spare bedroom) to “stage” everything that will be moved to Gonzaga.
  3. Bins are the centerpiece to an effective packing strategy for college. I prefer the clear plastic type, so you can see what is inside. Label each bin according to the types of items that will be transported and stored in the bin.
  4. As soon as you buy your items, place them in the appropriate bin. I strongly recommend you do your shopping as early as possible. One of the biggest mistakes I made as a newbie college parent was to assume that we could get all our shopping done in one weekend. I was very wrong and exhausted. Our first year was not fun, it was inefficient and we spent more than we should have.
  5. When the time comes to move, all your bins should be packed and ready. So, when you arrive on campus, most of the bins don’t need to be unpacked. Simply store the bins under the bed. That’s the beauty of the bin approach. Even the largest bin can be accommodated under the beds, which is great, since space is very limited in the freshman residence hall rooms.
  6. Don’t bother taking clothes off their hangers. Simple remove them from the closet and, place a garbage bag over the clothes. Poke a hole through the bottom of the bag to slip the hangers through. When you arrive at Gonzaga, simply hang the clothes in the closet. This eliminates the need to pack and unpack a lot of clothes. This is a huge time-saver.
  7. If your child is taking a new printer, keep the box (foam and all). This makes it easier to re-pack at the end of the school year and prevents damage.
  8. Most major items like microwave ovens, refrigerators and televisions are coordinated between roommates. These items can be purchased in Spokane. To ensure availability, you might want to call ahead and purchase these larger ticket items in advance, and pick them up during move-in weekend.
  9. There are some items that you might not think to bring. These include an area rug, small fan (it can get hot in those residence hall rooms), artwork for the walls, feather bed (the beds are hard), laundry bag (yes, the kids will actually be doing their own laundry), bulletin board, general tool kit, full length mirror and umbrella.
  10. I must admit that I did add drawer liners to the drawers. I felt better knowing that my daughter’s clothes would be placed in a clean area.

Veronica Mayo, Parent to Parent Contributor

Veronica lives in Bellevue, Wash. with her husband Dave. They have two grown children. Their daughter Christina is a 2009 Gonzaga graduate. Veronica is the founder of Vemayca LLC, a cosmetic and accessory bag company, which will launch its product line in August 2009.

One Comment

  1. Any tips for packing if you are flying from another state to Spokane?
    Bedding has been ordered from Bed, Bath and Beyond to be picked up upon our arrival.

    Thanks for the tips!