Tips for Parents
The gathering of "stuff" is likely taking place in your household as your student prepares for college. And that stuff is on the rise. The National Retail Federation asked incoming college students how much they and their families plan to spend on college. Last year, the figure topped out at $34.4 billion, up one-third from the previous year. That's a lot of stuff.
Part of the issue is that everyone is getting in on the back-to-school action. Students can sign up for college gift registries at Bed, Bath & Beyond. Target, the Container Store and others are hawking college stuff "needs" with wild abandon. It accumulates quickly yet, there won't be enough room for everything once they get to their college residence halls.
Residence life officials suggest that students talk with their roommates ahead of time to avoid duplication. Figure out who will bring the TV and the rug and other big-ticket items. And then, suggests Scott Francis, associate director of residence life at George Mason University (VA), "Take your child to his or her room, have them take a look around and convince them they don't have to take it all."
Read more tips here:
- Consider suggesting to your student that he/she make a list of "Wants" and "Needs" for the upcoming year. Needs may include things like a computer to get academic work done, pens and sheets for the bed. Wants may include a sofa, a DVR and a lava lamp. This practice can help him/her pare down the belongings so they can realistically fit into a residence hall room.
- Battles over clutter and cleaning can cause college roommates much anxiety and anger. Your student will likely be sharing a space with someone else — an endeavor that may be new to him after having his own room at home. Keeping stuff to a minimum will help roommates get off on the right foot as they learn to share space instead of invade it.
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