College Move-In Day: Tips & Helpful Items

Hello, my ah-mazing empty nest friend!
Here we go. Move-in day:  it looms ahead in the distance and then suddenly – WHACK – here it is. We are hit with the balance of being excited for our child as they begin their next adventure and the heavy emotions that arise when you realize they won’t be in your home to check up on anymore.
With my daughter heading into her junior year of college, bittersweet sums up my feelings this time of year. I’m unbelievably thrilled for where she is in life and feel her independence acutely. This makes me proud, happy, and excited for her. I can’t wait to see what she does. 
Will I miss her? Oh my goodness, you betcha! But this journey isn’t mine, it is hers, and it opens up my life to be sure I am on the right path moving forward. Sure, it can feel like part of me is breaking off but this experience allows both her and I to grow in ways that we couldn’t if she were to not be who she is meant to be. 
Whew, though, those emotions that come up – when you least expect them, they can be brutal.
My recommendation is to observe them and don’t run from them. Ignoring the emotions will create a resistance that has them always wanting to bubble up – but by noticing them, claiming them and processing through them, you become powerful! I know that you are strong enough to get through those emotions– no matter what they are. 
Anyway, below, I share with you five things that, being in year three of this journey, I have found helpful, or that I wish we had thought of earlier for move-in.
Our situation is that our daughter’s college is five hours from home, and we have a minivan to move things – so things that I find useful, may not apply to you. As always, take what I offer and consider if it will benefit your life. 
The following information is about the “stuff.” Life skills are a pretty big deal, and I talk about that in episode 32 of my podcast: What Life Skills Does My Child Need For College? My podcast is all about helping mothers through this transition, so if you are having a difficult time, I invite you to take a listen!
As always, Google will provide you with an overabundance  of information on what you should pack for college. I can’t possibly cover all of that, but I’d like to share with you my top five items. Also, two recent posts that I have found helpful are: 
My list below does contain affiliate links. By using my links, you support my podcast. Thank you!
Below are my top five college move-in essential items:


These are the fantastic Ikea bags that we’ve had for years (before college). They are excellent to throw things in (bedding/pillows in particular), and they easily store in a dorm room. I had no idea you could get them with zippers, too!


Command hooks and poster strips are unbelievably helpful. A place for keys? Got it! Need to put up an important piece of paper you got at move-in that you are afraid you’ll lose? Use a poster strip (there is a variety of sizes, too)!


I love, love, love this wagon. This is one of the items that I purchased in year two of my daughter’s college years, and I wish I would have had it earlier. It was life-changing. There were days where I’d make the trip to her school and back in one day. Without the wagon, I was EXHAUSTED. With the wagon, it was a breeze because I didn’t even have to pull the thing – someone else always offered!


A toolkit is one of the things you think you won’t need, but in life’s rogue moments, a screwdriver would be incredibly helpful. It won’t only help your child (if you leave it with them), but if others find out they have a toolkit, there is a natural way to meet new people. We don’t have this specific kit, but it is an example of one.


No link here. This is a reminder to pad your time on move-in and move-out days to allow yourself and your child the flexibility to stop and chat with others; take advantage of something you may not have foreseen, should the moment arise; or, run to a local store if you see they need something. It gives all of you the freedom to be flexible. Also, other than taking a few photos, this is a lovely opportunity to stay off your phone and be fully present.

What are your top items for move-in? I invite you to share below.

Check out My Podcast

All College Topic Podcast Episodes:

You are preparing for the empty nest ahead as your child(ren) prepares, heads off to, and experiences college.

Your Empty Nest Coach Podcast, Episode 15: Being Brave When Your Child Picks a Non-local School, or Going Far Away to College; How to be The Emotional Adult in The Room

Hello, my Empty Nest Friend!
Anne (my guest) and I touched on this in my last episode – how to be the emotional adult in the room.  College is a significant change – and when they go far enough away that they can’t stop by for dinner – it is a REALLY SIGNIFICANT change. 
You can handle it. I know you can. Take some deep breaths, do some thought work and you’ve got this. 
Take a listen, or read the transcript, below.
⇓⇓⇓ More goodies below, too! Scroll all the way down ⇓ so you don’t miss anything! ⇓⇓⇓

Want to subscribe to this podcast? Great news – it is free!
> Click here, and then choose your favorite podcast app – be sure to hit subscribe or follow, once you choose your favorite!
Let me know if you have any additional questions – as I am always happy to explain how podcasts work!

This Episode is Brought To You By

What You Will Learn in this Episode

  • How to be the emotional adult in the room. Sneak Peek: Check Your Thoughts
  • Benefits of your child moving away/going far away to college
  • The thoughts I used to adjust to the transition

Episode Questions for You To Consider

  1. Are you having to deal with this situation?
  2. Have you dealt with this situation and do you have advice for others who are about to go through it?

Episode Resources

Send audio feedback to Coach Christine now: voicemail/text to 1-920-LIFEWIN (1-920-543-3946). 📞

Legal disclaimer: Listening to this podcast doesn’t make Christine your official coach, and this podcast is not meant to replace your doctor or therapist. Curious? Click here for the deets!

First time here? Try these episodes & resources:

All College Topic Podcast Episodes:

Full Transcript

For those who are freaking out about the empty nest years. It is time to make the rest of your life the best of your life!