How are you getting everything to college?

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Discus: Parents Forum: 2004 Archive - Part 2: How are you getting everything to college?
By Uva123 (Uva123) on Wednesday, August 04, 2004 - 11:40 am: Edit

I'm just curious but for those of you driving to college how are you getting all your stuff there? We only have a 2 hour drive but there's no way we're fitting everything in the car.

By Achat (Achat) on Wednesday, August 04, 2004 - 11:42 am: Edit

We have a 1.5 hour drive and my son is travelling light. Not carrying too much..basically clothes, laptop, fan, wastebasket and other odds and ends. Possibly a guitar..

By Aparent4 (Aparent4) on Wednesday, August 04, 2004 - 11:50 am: Edit

We put a lot on top of the car as well as inside. I know a lot of people rent a minivan for the trip...I tried to rent a U-Haul last time but they said I had to have a hitch on the back of my car, which was going to cost a lot and look ugly. Then I tried to rent a U-Haul truck and it turns out they can only have one passenger, and we wanted to make it a family event. We just jammed stuff into every possible square inch. Will bring more stuff down at Parents' Weekend if necessary.

By Blossom (Blossom) on Wednesday, August 04, 2004 - 12:24 pm: Edit

We have learned the hard way that if you can't fit it in the car, it won't fit in the dorm room...

Neighbors of ours made a big deal out of renting a U-Haul to get their daughter to college-- fridge (roommate already had one) microwave (not allowed) coffee maker, ironing board (came back after Freshman year with the plastic still wrapped around it)more shoes than Imelda Marcos, comfy chair, rug (dorm was carpeted) etc. Half of it came back the next day; wasn't room to get from the bed to the door in the dorm room with all the stuff, and much of it came back unused in May. Do you really want to be unloading a down parka and ski boots on the hottest day of the year in August when you can UPS it in November for $10?

Unless your kid will be 100 miles from a Walmart or BednBath and doesnt' like to shop on the Lands End/LL Bean/Gap website, I don't see the point of hauling all this stuff if you don't know where it's going to go. Lots of dorms were built in the days when kids showed up with a suitcase, a trunk, and a box of personal stuff shipped ahead-- and with the mad rush to upgrade computer networks and dining facilities, they haven't made deluxe closet space a priority!!!

By Bookiemom (Bookiemom) on Wednesday, August 04, 2004 - 12:51 pm: Edit

If you call the college, you can find out about shipping/mailing some boxes to the dorm ahead of time. We did this for my D (Seattle to Colorado) and it worked well. We mailed about five cartons and they were waiting at the front desk of the dorm when we got there. You can send a few cartons later with the winter jackets, sweaters, and boots. Also, your student will be home on a couple of visits during the fall, and so can bring home some summer clothes and return with fall/winter clothes.

You can also get some of those large-size "space bags" that you vacuum the air out of, which works well for bedding, towels, and even a whole bag of clothes to take in the car.

We made a list of items to get when we arrived in CO and did a major shopping trip at Target for things like snack staples, basic office supplies, Kleenex, cold medicines, bathroom supplies, pillows, mattress pad. Even though you can buy all this at home easily, you still have to get it there somehow. This shopping on site worked well for us, as the Target was familiar to shop at.

One thing that we found was that there was no shopping within easy walking distance from my D's college other than the college bookstore. I mailed her a complete set of supplies for minor illness as there was no way for her to get to a drugstore easily. Also, some healthy snacks are a good idea during those first few weeks when the student is a little stressed out from adjusting to college.

By Marite (Marite) on Wednesday, August 04, 2004 - 12:59 pm: Edit

From experience, I agree with Blossom. Also, with just a couple of hours' drive, your student will be sure to come home for Columbus Day or Thanksgiving, in time to take back the heavy blanket, snow boots, parka, sweaters, etc.... As well, stuff can be ordered online. Remember that what goes away has to come back at the end of the year or be stored.

By Sybbie719 (Sybbie719) on Wednesday, August 04, 2004 - 02:02 pm: Edit

I was a little skeptical about the space bags, nice to know that they work.

After much agnst over this topic, I plan on dragging as little as possible to school (much to her Chagrin). I will also pay to have her stuff stored at the end of the school year. School will begin accepting things to mailbox on September 2 (move in day 9-13). Bed, Bath and Beyond will now let you order and designate the day you want your stuff shipped to the students PO box in the event that they do not have on where you are going to school. Other things will be sent via UPS (including some of her clothes, sigh she doesn't know that part yet).

She will not get her dorm assignment until next week, so she will work things out with her room mate as far as fridge, (mircowave not allowed) daughter does not iron at home so that will not be an issue (she folds everything hot out of the dryer).

Overall, the web is a wonderful thing.

By Fredo (Fredo) on Wednesday, August 04, 2004 - 03:46 pm: Edit

My daughter is only going 1 1/4 hours away so we'll drive down in two cars - one is an SUV. She's probably keeping her car down there (although we're thinking of bringing it back for the first month or so - I really want her to stay on campus). Since we should have enough room, I went ahead and bought all the supplies I could up here when I saw them on sale. Also went to Costco and bought the big tub of pretzels and cookies as a "starter" snack pack for the room. Her roommate is flying from NY and if I read between the lines right, doesn't have a lot of money to spend on extra stuff. So we bought things like the over the door mirror, phone for the room, etc. I figure once she and her roommate set up their room, she'll know about storage units i.e. under the bed or stackable. I honestly don't think there's too much stuff but I could be very wrong! Won't really know until she gets there. The ONLY place in town to buy anything is a Walmart which is also why I went ahead and bought what I think are "necessities" here at home.

By Archermom (Archermom) on Wednesday, August 04, 2004 - 04:15 pm: Edit

We're from Los Angeles. H & I are flying back east with D next Saturday. She will be attending a tri-college event the week before orientation and the rest of the first yrs arrive on campus. So far, we have 3 good size boxes and 2 small ones to ship Fedex ground. We thought UPS...but the secretaries at work told us that Fedex is cheaper---and they were right! Three of us on the Saturday, 6 items to check in...and 3 carry on...mainly her laptop...7 of the 9 items belong to D!!!

We also preordered dorm items from Bed, Bath & Beyond...they will ship for arrival just before orientation.

By Alongfortheride (Alongfortheride) on Wednesday, August 04, 2004 - 04:17 pm: Edit

My son is going 8 1/2 hours away by car, so we will drive. My H has a crew cab pick up we lovingly call the band mobile since we think it just might have hauled more instruments, flags and ice chests over the years than the equipment trucks. I know we won't come close to filling up the back end, it's just that my car is a Liberty and doesn't have enough space for three bodies, parent luggage for orientation and his stuff. His car is a compact Mazda, so you can forget that! He won't be taking it the first year anyway.

I do agree with traveling light and living simple. My son won't be taking more than a light jacket or two to layer with until he comes home in October or we go to parents weekend. He'll also be home for Thanksgiving. I know it will get brisk in New Orleans around that time, but no need to store it until them. I agree with not taking anything but the essentials. Of course, my son has all of his electronic stuff which I didn't have in college. His personal clothing and hygeine items, bedding, towels, a very small file cabinet, two milk crates, and his electronics will just about be it. I may make a Target trip before since we do have the room. He doesn't seem to need a lot of extras either, and we are just trying to stick to the list that the school gave us. I agree with Blossom, if you can't fit it into a car, it probably won't fit in the dorm room. I remember carrying everything I needed for the semester, except for changing out clothes on home visits, in a Volkswagen Super Beetle, and I made it just fine. And like Blossom, I have been talking to parents that brought things home after the freshman year that won't be going back.

By Bookiemom (Bookiemom) on Wednesday, August 04, 2004 - 05:49 pm: Edit

Archermom: we also flew with our D to college when she was a freshman, so also had the six checked bags and the three carryons, plus her backpack in lieu of a purse with her laptop. Be sure to COUNT all your luggage before you leave home and the airport. It's kind of a hectic and emotional time, taking a kid to college. One of our checked items was D's guitar in its hard case and we left in at the airport because long, tall items were in a separate area. We had to turn around to go get the dang guitar, D was in tears, husband was grim...not a great thing to go through before getting to campus!

By Jenniferelaine (Jenniferelaine) on Wednesday, August 04, 2004 - 06:30 pm: Edit

1 1/4 hours. Two cars, one of which is an SUV.
The highlights of my load include: a rug, mini fridge and microwave, my bedding (including 2 comforters and no less than 4 pillows), my flip-flop collection (only shoes I wear), 2 shelving units, and coffee (tea) maker.

This all fits in my dorm room. It did last year.

I'm getting off easier than my roommate, she has the futon.

By Kwtortoise (Kwtortoise) on Wednesday, August 04, 2004 - 06:38 pm: Edit

Four-hour drive. My dad is dropping me off. Nothing too big, except a trunk. No TV, stereo, or fridge. Mostly bedding and clothes. Should fit easily in an SUV.

By Avoidingwork (Avoidingwork) on Wednesday, August 04, 2004 - 09:44 pm: Edit

ummm....15 minute drive....son is returning from summer job and then immediately moving into dorm...he will have the essentials: clothes, bedding, and guitars. The rest (including computer) will be filled in over time...

I did hear a great suggestion. To sign up your kid on Target or BB&B wedding registry, order all the stuff online, and then pick it up at the store near your destination.

By Debelli (Debelli) on Friday, August 06, 2004 - 07:50 pm: Edit

I was just at Greyhound to ship a package to a woman from me in Miami to her in Boston. I hadn't a clue that you could ship via Greyhound, but you can. The same box (it was huge & weighed 25lbs) to ship via UPS was $116, PO wouldn't even accept it, Greyhound, with $100 insurance, which is free, was a total of $30.00.

I am going to ship some of my sons items this way and if you get a Student Advantage Card - shipping is 50% off! Since he's going to CT, if this had been his stuff, it would of cost me $15 with the SAC - which at $20 a year would of about paid for itself.

What was interesting was that I took it to the station around 1pm and it was suppose arrive the next evening at 9:30pm - faster than UPS (though I haven't checked to make sure it did indeed arrive yet). The only thing is that you have to go to the station - no home delivery.

By 2dsdad (2dsdad) on Saturday, August 07, 2004 - 10:51 pm: Edit

My D attended summer school at a college in a neighboring state so that was a warm up for the trip this fall. She and I drove a Mazda Protege loaded to the roof, but nothing on the roof, leaving room for the two of us. There she had a private room within a 4-plex apartment. The room was about half the size that she and her roommate will be sharing this fall and she decided she had too much stuff. Several things will be staying home when we make the cross country trip in a few weeks. Unless you know your D/S is going to have a huge room, reconsider taking two car loads of stuff. I don't know where you would put it. And you can always ship stuff later or buy it there if it is really needed.

By Cheers (Cheers) on Sunday, August 08, 2004 - 01:09 am: Edit

S going by air by himself with a couple of suitcases. July, I packed up three 20 pound boxes of comforters, shampoos, etc etc--using space bags for humidity protection and space!!!---and left them at my mother's to ship via UPS in late August.

I used to go back and forth from uni with UPS. Hope it still works!!!

By Dmd77 (Dmd77) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 01:52 am: Edit

Well, my son went last year with three duffel bags. He brought two home and left two at school (one of them was the rug he bought and his winter coat (also purchased at school)). Just went back to school with only one bag--only half full.

He uses his laptop as a music source, his cell phone as an alarm clock, keeps his food in the hall refrigerator... in other words: he hates having a lot of stuff to move, so he's pared it down.

My daughter, OTOH, will have her car (a very small car) loaded to the gills when she goes back. But she's not taking back the refrigerator--although she is taking a coffee maker ;-) which is how you can tell she's from the Seattle area.

By Robyrm (Robyrm) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 02:25 am: Edit

My son will fly out by himself with 3 duffel bags (XL size from LL Bean-they are our luggage staple). This summer he flew with 2-one was primarily bedding and towels and such. On United the excess baggage charge was only $25/bag so we decided to do this rather than ship...The third bag was necessitated by an array of things that may never leave the bag in all honesty (he humored me and bought a shower caddy for example). A friend told me that her son lives out of his duffel bag each year until it is completely empty (after which he perhaps lives out of his laundry basket but this could be a snide rumor).

I will arrive 5 days after he does to survey the situation. As he inherited his neatness orientation from me, and not his father, I won't have much to offer in that regard- but I might make a stab at it, shelf paper and all. I plan to buy him a tiny tool kit (not tiny tools, tiny in number) and some more office supplies, and maybe a printer if he has decided he needs one. Oh, and a fan since his dorm does not have AC. He'll be in a small town, but there is a WalMart.

His room looks quite large on the schematic, and his roommate is coming from China, so space should be fine.

I will never forget my move in day at college. Our dorm was arranged in suites with kitchens in our Freshman year. My roommate's parents asked if she wanted her newly purchased set of pots and pans to be "milk or meat" (she kept kosher). The family, including her 16 year old brother and 10 year old sister then "discussed" this issue for about 30 minutes, after which my mother reminded me "It's not too late to live at home" (30 minutes away!)...My roommate and I chuckle about it to this day!!

By Archermom (Archermom) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 02:54 am: Edit

Bookiemom: Thanks for the tip! Countdown is nearing...leaving on the 14th. It's like pulling teeth to get D to round up items other than clothes...I'm sure we will be busy the night before!

By Cheers (Cheers) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 03:30 am: Edit

Robyrm; There are heaps of wealthy wealthy Chinese students studying in the country we live in. Their parents send them over with amounts of cash not to be believed. In the six figures etc...

My Chinese friends tell me that most of the students who study abroad are from influential, wealthy families. Oftentimes they are not quite bright enough to get into the super-competitve Chinese university system.

(Interestingly, my son was assigned a Japanese roommate from an island off the coast of Japan. I told him he might be living "Lost in Translation"--right in his dorm room!)

By Robyrm (Robyrm) on Monday, August 09, 2004 - 04:00 am: Edit

Maybe the roommate will buy the fridge/micro thing then! When my husband was in grad school(20+ years ago)his Chinese office-mates came equipped with their own "security" agent who made sure the fellows weren't believing all the capitalist rubbish they were hearing. My guess is that this is a thing of the past, now they bring their cash, I guess!

By Jamimom (Jamimom) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 11:37 pm: Edit

A tip for parents who are driving kids some distance is to rent a one way large car or even van and buy a one way ticket back. We have done this a few times and if it is done a couple of weeks in advance the cost can be as little as an inexpensive round trip ticket for one. A long trip to the college can be a great time to spend with your kid but the long trip home can be tiring, time consuming and dangerous driving alone. We have done 6-9 hour car rides picking up the car the night before, leaving very early in the morning, getting to the college in the afternoon, having the use of the car until the evening, dropping it off at the airport and then relaxing for a 2 hour flight home. All done in a day!

By Interesteddad (Interesteddad) on Wednesday, August 11, 2004 - 11:43 pm: Edit

We are starting to consider driving two cars. Not all that much stuff, but with three of us going and one of those dorm fridges in the fourth seat, not much room for stuff.

We'll see.

By Cruella (Cruella) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 12:19 am: Edit

We plan to use 2 cars. It's only an hour away. One car will have the rug, comforter, pillows, frig and microwave and the other will have the clothes, guitar, computer and other things one can not live without including snacks and bottled water. Both cars are Focuses, our van is already being borrowed so we have to rough it. We'll make it work. What's the worse that happens? I may have to make a special trip just to bring something up to Ann Arbor or to bring something home. That works for me. ;)

By Farawayplaces (Farawayplaces) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 01:17 am: Edit


I enjoy reading about your plans to ship your son off to Grinnell--it brings back so many memories of six years ago! Our daughter in Peace Corps in Africa just e-mailed us her grant proposal to develop an irrigated community garden for her little village (the kids could eat vegetables--some of them for the first time!). It was so well-written. I e-mailed her back: "Where did you learn to write grants?" The answer--"Grinnell, of course!"

Your son will have a fine time and will receive a great education to boot! Have fun!

By Trackstar (Trackstar) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 06:13 am: Edit

For everyone driving to school.... pack the fan and a jug of ice water last, so they can come out first!

And a question for those who have sent kids far away... what is the cheapest way to ship boxes cross country? I know that the Postal Service does book rate but for the other stuff? I have 3 Dell computer boxes (now being packed with other stuff) that need to go from PA to CA.

By Robyrm (Robyrm) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 07:52 am: Edit

Faraway, thanks for the positive message. I am looking forward to many insightful(!) and humorous postings from my son..and who knows, maybe a grant proposal one day. Your daughter's endeavors sound most worthy. Do you think she has the overseas bug for good??

By Aparent4 (Aparent4) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 08:38 am: Edit

Trackstar, many people where I live swear by Airborne's prices. However, to my kids' school I send everything UPS, because with just about every other shipper things seem to get waylaid. If I were you, I would wait and ask parents of older kids which shipper works at your kid's school, if possible.

By Farawayplaces (Farawayplaces) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 12:32 pm: Edit


Don't know if my D has an gotten an overseas bug, but she's sure enjoying Peace Corps (it has a big presence at Grinnell). Her bf is in Namibia in a post-Grinnell program at a Grinnell-sponsored desertification research center. Lots of overseas opportunities through Grinnell!

By Achat (Achat) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 02:05 pm: Edit

Robyrm, my son just pointed out that Grinnell made the 'Hottest school' list in a survey conducted by Newsweek. I can't find the link...tried.

By Optimizerdad (Optimizerdad) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 02:09 pm: Edit

We're renting a minivan, putting a clamshell carrier on top, and hoping fervently that this suffices. It's a 5 hour drive, though, so it's not *too* bad.

By Emeraldkity4 (Emeraldkity4) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 02:41 pm: Edit

minivans are huge!
We just donated out 1992 extended length minivan and I am going to miss it. Four captain chairs a full lenght bench seat and still we had lots of room in the back. ( we usually took the bench seat out unless carpooling) For camping we just threw our stuff in, room for the oldstyle colman double stove, and still room for the dog. Now that we have a smallish Jeep instead, I am pricing racks and trying to think how we can downsize our equipment when we have finally upgraded it! ( just bought twin airbeds instead of pads, bigger tent...)
A minivan should have plenty of room for dorm stuff, if it doesn't fit in the van, it probably won't fit in the dorm and will be harder to find a place next summer

By Medusa2003 (Medusa2003) on Friday, August 13, 2004 - 10:15 pm: Edit

Renting a minivan for the six hour one way trip to Grinnell.

By Bluestarling (Bluestarling) on Saturday, August 14, 2004 - 12:01 am: Edit

Driving from Canada (1.5 hours north of Montana) all the way to Philadelphia.
Average-sized 5 seat sedan.
Whole family is coming(4 people including myself).

Lord help us.

oh..but if anyone could suggest the CHEAPEST way to ship stuff, it would be greatly appreciated (we're toying with the idea of driving across the border to Montana to ship boxes so we save on the intl. shipping). And I honestly don't care if the boxes come 2 weeks late or anything.

Thanks :)

By Txtaximom (Txtaximom) on Saturday, August 14, 2004 - 12:13 am: Edit

Mailed one large and one small box with comforter, pillows, linens, winter jacket, boots, and some small dorm items (clock radio, desk lamp etc...)from South TX to PA for $63.00. Son and hubby will fly out next Thursday with two, maybe three, suitcases. The two suitcases that nest will stay, and if there is a third it will fly back with my husband. Son will carry on his laptop, and he wants to just get a guitar there so he has one at home during breaks. I think he will at least come home for winter break.

By Archermom (Archermom) on Saturday, August 14, 2004 - 01:59 am: Edit

Gee, lots of people going to PA! We are flying out tomorrow night to Philly. H will ship 3 large and 1 small box tomorrow via Fedex ground. Good luck everyone!

By Debelli (Debelli) on Saturday, August 14, 2004 - 04:37 pm: Edit

BLUESTARLING - not sure if you saw my previous post, but Greyhound Package Express is very inexpensive for heavy items. I'm shipping a ton of stuff from FL to CT. If you see my post above, I shipped a 25lb box from here to MA for $30 - I'm waiting for my Student Advantage Card that will give me a 50% discount on shipping on Greyhound, so that same box would of cost me $15 to ship had I been shipping it to CT (same rate to MA)

I shipped this box on Wednesday at 1pm and I believe it arrived sometime on Saturday in MA.

I plan on shipping a trunk and a box this way and I don't expect it to cost me much. They'll hold the box for 3 days before charging a $2 a day storage fee. Only thing is, you have to p/u at the closet station.


By Lefthandofdog (Lefthandofdog) on Saturday, August 14, 2004 - 05:44 pm: Edit

If you're looking for the Newsweek article, just check the Grinnell website, click on admissions, and it links you to it. The article came out last September, I think.
Son flew to school last year with 2 checked bags, l carry on, and we mailed boxes with bedding and things (small stereo). When we visited for family weekend, we bought misc. things at Walmart. He returned home with 2 suitcases and backpack (laptop and small musical instrument). Everything else (bedding, winter clothing and books, etc.) went into storage at college. I can't imagine the contents of anyone's car/u-haul fitting into half of any dorm room in the country! Does anyone remember that book, Small is Beautiful? Or the adage "less is more"?

By Bluestarling (Bluestarling) on Sunday, August 15, 2004 - 03:08 am: Edit

Thanks Debelli! And would you (or anyone else) be able to tell me the quickest way to get a Student Advantage Card?


By Robyrm (Robyrm) on Sunday, August 15, 2004 - 06:20 am: Edit

Achat, sorry it has been a while. last year Grinnell was named "best all around college" or something similar by Newsweek. This year there is another college issue out with "hottest schools" and such. Haven't seen it. As someone noted above, you can access the article, naturally, at the Grinnell website. It was a paragraph or two in length...looks like a few Grinnell parents to be on this thread at the moment! My son goes Sunday for International Student orientation (weather permitting!)...

By Debelli (Debelli) on Sunday, August 15, 2004 - 09:06 am: Edit

BLUESTARLING - I called and ordered mine the other day. I had told another parent about it and she e-mailed me and told me when she called, it was even cheaper than the website, so I called and for 4 years it was $50 + $2.50 shipping (website is $60). If you just want it for 1 year it's $20. Also, you can buy it at the Greyhound station it appears-if you want to try that route and just buy it when you get there, I'd call the station you plan on going to to make sure it's available at the counter.


By Alongfortheride (Alongfortheride) on Sunday, August 15, 2004 - 09:56 am: Edit

Lefthandofdog, I agree with you and with Blossom's post. If it doesn't fit into a car, it won't fit into your room. I also said that we would be taking H's truck since three people and goods won't fit into my Liberty or son's Protege', which he has to leave at home this year. I began to wonder, if he was heading back by himself in his little car, would it fit? I had sacks of stuff sitting all over the house. Then, I remembered my days of packing out the Superbeetle and that no container was put into the car empty. I filled his very small two drawer file cabinet with supplies, desk organizers, etc., the two milk crates with stuff, and that just left his bedding and backpack. We took the advice of a college student on another thread,(I'm sorry I don't remember who it was) and purchased for him a large rolling duffle for his clothes and he has a smaller duffle from secondary school days that he will be taking for weekend trips home. They will fold flat and take no storage room. The only other stuff is electronics, and they won't take that much room. His computer is a laptop. His car is small, but the trunk is surprisingly large and the 60/40 seats fold down, so I really think he could make it. Time to stop buying things to take!

By Achat (Achat) on Wednesday, August 18, 2004 - 09:31 pm: Edit

Only 5 days left. I said we did not have much to transport but apparently we do! With the min-refrigerator (just 1.7 cu ft) included, there is quite a bit of stuff.

By Debelli (Debelli) on Wednesday, August 18, 2004 - 10:28 pm: Edit

FYI for those of you who may be flying Delta Song, which we are to get S up to CT - they allow you 3 checked bags, not 2 like the rest, a carry on AND a personal item (purse, backpack). WOO HOO! Less I have to ship - now the problem is, I ordered a compact car and it surely all won't fit in there - guess I'll be saying "upsize me!"

Good luck to everyone as they get their kids off to school - we're leaving a week from tomorrow!

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