Dorm Room Move-In Moves


Apparently, sturdy bedsheets and snappy storage containers are the bare necessities required for outfitting college students who might test the rigors of dorm living by determining how many roommates it takes to knock over the vending machine in the engineering hall.

Earlier this summer, Nate and I researched the dorm room that Alex had chosen. We drove Alex to Target to pick out bedding, towels, storage containers, laundry bags, and a few other items. And that was it. We breathed a sigh of relief. Disaster averted. Now, however, the clock is ticking, and we have under ninety-six hours to plan Alex’s move-in day, based on new information we’ve just been sent from the university. Our latest plan is now divided into three different lists or strategies:

–Things We Had Anticipated

–Things We Had Not Anticipated

–Planning Like a Pro

Things We Had Anticipated:

 –A need for sturdy bedsheets and snappy storage items.

Things We Had Not Anticipated:

–BYOTP: Bring your own toilet paper. Obviously, we thought that universities were just loaded with toilet paper, reams of it hanging from the trees and windows of some fraternity or a dean’s office, but no. That is not the case. Nate and I were tempted to take Alex to Costco for a lifetime-supply of TP, but the snappy storage items we bought him would only stretch so far. The plan now is to buy enough TP for Alex and his roommate for a week or two, and then Alex (and probably his roommate) will come visit us, and we’ll send them home with a few rolls at a time of an entire Costco set.

–Cleaning duty. Housekeeping does not come by to tidy up the room and leave a mint on the pillow. I never stayed in a dorm room when I went to college, but I had friends who did, and they said that housekeeping cleaned their bathrooms and swept their floors every other week or so. That is not the case with Alex’s dorm-room situation. Luckily, he is a valued member of the Fixin’ Leaks and Leeks Team who can clean the heck out of a toilet bowl and put that smile on Scrubby, the Scrubbing Bubbles mascot. However, I will have to get him a set of his own supplies now.

–Light cookery (heavily implied). Though there are dorm cafeterias and markets—and we’ve paid quite a bit for a meal plan for Alex—students are encouraged to get some plates, bowls, cutlery, etc. We’re not sure why, but we’ll get some for Alex, in case the cafeteria doesn’t supply these things. We don’t want him to be the only one on campus eating scorching hot macaroni and cheese with his face.

–Light electrical engineering (also implied). He may need extension cords, which are also on the new list of items to bring.

Planning Like a Pro:

 –Light sewing and mending supplies (not mentioned or implied). A sewing kit or two could be handy, though I’m not sure what Alex would do with it. I’ve certainly never shown him how to sew. The only person in this family who can sew is Nate, but he’s what I call a “stealth sewer.” He will sew a button back onto a shirt or pants when no one is watching (for his own pants or shirts—not mine. When I lose buttons, I move the injured article of clothing to the back of the closet hoping a new button will grow on it overnight). Nate has offered to show me, and probably Alex, how to do these useful things, but we’d soon become distracted by episodes of SpongeBob.

–Tools (not really implied, but if there’s no toilet paper, how would we not come to other conclusions?) In terms of “tools,” I’m thinking duct tape, a screwdriver (Philips-head and flat- head), hammer, tape measure, pliers, knives, adjustable wrenches, a level—and something for patching up holes with spackle.

–First-aid kit (though the university WILL provide an earthquake grab and go bag, which includes a first-aid kit, which is super cool). Also, Alex was a lifeguard over the summer, so he should know how to administer some first aid, CPR, and water rescues, if the dorm room floods for reasons only college roommates would know about.

On move-in day, I’ll definitely shed a few tears, but I’ll rest easy at night, knowing that Alex will have plenty of toilet paper and something for patching up holes with spackle. So, any late-night vending machine experiments that end in disaster will be taken care of on several levels, thanks to our planning.

In Other News: I have a new short story up at a brand-new literary magazine: The Other Folk: “Fables for the Dying” series. It’s a mostly humorous and somewhat dark piece called “Photo Shoot with Possessed Bunnies.” I had a lot of fun writing this one. Enjoy!

Your Turn: What item did you need or use the most when you lived on your own for the first time?



44 thoughts on “Dorm Room Move-In Moves

  1. Hahaha. 🙂 Good story. Reminds me a bit of Monty Python’s vicious attack bunny.

    I stayed in residence when I first attended uni. I didn’t have any housekeeping services (we had to do our own and were inspected with a view to being kicked out at the end of the semester if we weren’t tidy enough) but we didn’t have to bring our own toilet paper (although some people did anyway). Cheers.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Goodness, college living has changed a lot! I also somehow thought there was toilet paper aplenty. At least, there was never a shortage when I was living in a dorm. Now I’m worried about what it’ll be like when my kids are college-aged in 10+ years. Best of luck with move-in day!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I find this whole business of kids and universities in North America to be very different to the experience here. All universities here have residential colleges but the whole business is low key and no one really mentions it as significant. I find it curious when I watch TV programs produced in North America about the whole “College experience”.
    Why can’t Alex buy his own toilet paper and other necessities?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Interesting perspective. I suppose the college experience varies, even from student to student wherever they might live or attend college. And, I guess we could nickel and dime Alex and make him pay for his own toilet paper and cleaning supplies, but I figure, we’re going to Costco anyway, why not break apart a package and give him the part we’re not using because he’s no longer in the house?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. True. The most important thing, I guess–and what I’m hoping that Alex learns–is it’s not just the experience, but what you choose to do with that experience later on–especially if what you do later on helps others in some way. Cheers!

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Where are you? I am in Canada. We also have residential colleges (on the uni campus) and it’s a low-key experience here as well. It’s a much bigger thing in the US, as I’ve learned through American friends and yes, a lot is made of it on tv and in movies. Cheers.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Also, TV and movies offer a lot of stereotypes. Some of them true; others not so much. My experience was low-key, but I didn’t live in the dorms. I lived off-campus, but Alex wanted the “full experience,” and I’m hoping he makes friends and joins some clubs. Am I missing something? I probably am. My goodness, I’m most likely missing a lot of innuendos here. LOL! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. No innuendos that I’m aware of. Here there is a strong distinction between “college” and “university,” unlike in the US. In Canada, a college is either a residential portion of a university or it is a post-secondary institution that does not grant degrees. There are several further distinctions, but those are the main ones. I agree that movies and tv can popularise stereotypes, but my American friends have indicated to me that unlike here, it’s a big rite of passage. I agree with Alex that it’s a full experience. I enjoyed it and am glad I did it. Cheers.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Thanks, Lynette! I think you hit the nail on the head–it is a kind of rite of passage here for sure. By the way, Alex was very interested in attending university in Canada, but with Covid, etc. he figured he should just stick with US schools–also, the cost–whew! But maybe someday he’ll transfer. We love Canada. Cheers!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Based on moving 3 kids into 3 different colleges: there is ALWAYS at least one unexpected trip to Target. And, yeah, extension cords or power strips were usually part of that.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. exciting times! so many things you forget that they will need to live on the campus, but needing toilet paper was a new one for me. It has been a longgggg time since I lived on a college campus, so I wouldn’t even try to guess what they needed. But, I will say having a way to heat up food is always a good thing. Will he have a fridge? That was great too to store drinks and food taken from the cafe to eat when you were up doing other things

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes–there is an option to rent the university microwave/fridge unit that complies with the electrical outlet/charge arrangement for the dorms, so we will probably encourage Alex to sign up for that–just in case it’s a rainy/snowy day and he doesn’t feel like going to the cafeteria.


  6. Just a couple of compact, labor-saving devices spring to mind. Bell, book & candle for the nightstand, in case a suitemate brings any demonic emotional support bunnies. A SuperSoaker (the small one) pre-loaded with Febreeze in case a suitemate brings any regular emotional support bunnies and neglects to clean their hutch for a couple of months.
    And one necktie. You may think, gosh, surprisingly retro and old-fashioned, what does a college kid want with such an anachronistic vestige of Victorian mores? Well, hypothetically, if you were detained by campus security at 3AM, say during an impromptu skating party after the cleaning crew got done waxing the hallways in the Admin Bldg, you pop on the necktie, and explain about youthful exuberance over being awarded the Provost’s Prize for Proletarian Empathetic Analysis, or some such nonsense, and between the necktie (which makes the award ceremony semi-plausible) and the guards’ desire to not hear any speeches about Proletarian Empathetic Analysis, they’ll usually cut you loose.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I adored the bunny story, and I’m impressed by your planning. I hope things are going well, but I remember those days and how sad I was when my only child went off for the first time. Nothing prepared me for that:-)

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This is an old post, but I had to answer your final question XD

    I found out very quickly I had to get a stepladder. Perks of being under 5 ft tall and all those light bulbs choosing to stop working on purpose right after I moved in!

    Also, were there tears? Cheers! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes–stepladders are great! Alex is tall, though. He’s been helping the women next door get their posters hung:) I did cry, but he’s coming home for Thanksgiving, with three friends from China! One is his roommate, and the other two are his roommate’s best friends. They traveled together from China to attend the same university and live on the same dorm floor. I can’t wait to have them over. Cheers!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You have raised a good kid there, from all you say! And it sounds really exciting to have new people over, and from a different culture even! Have fun and enjoy your Thanksgiving! ❤

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s