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Dorm Room Packing Essentials

Posted by Melissa Schmalenberger on July 22, 2014 in Family, Moms |


I have reached that time that another child is about to leave the nest. This child going is much harder than the previous one….because I know how I will feel afterward. With my oldest I was excited and told by a friend to only cry tears of pride and joy. And I did. But then a few weeks went by and family mealtime and so many other things were different. He was a good eater and I could experiment with food and he ate it. His brothers didn’t eat my grand meals and it was no longer fun to cook dinner. Our family had changed forever.

Now another is going to fly away. And I am counting down the days and I am sad. Our family is again going to be changed forever. Our family was changed forever each time we had one of our sons. When we welcome a new baby into our home it was a joyous occasion. We were adding, now we are subtracting.

But I will put a brave face on and make sure that when he leaves he will have everything he will need to have an organized dorm room. I can control that. I can’t control how I will feel. So as someone who enjoys control I will focus on what I know I can do. I can make a list. I can buy stuff. I can make organizing decisions. My friend Geralin Thomas of Metropolitan Organizing, LLC has created a fantastic checklist that we will print off and take with us. I will put this checklist on a clipboard and get to work!

Here is a look at what we have started to accumulate in the last few weeks. We have a box of stuff that I am placing things in as I buy what is on the checklist.


1. A good area rug. This is often overlooked but dorm floors are often industrial and they need a soft place to land when they hop out of their lofted beds.


2. Bedding. I have all boys…they don’t need anything special. My mom made each of my boys a quilt when they graduated {that is special} a pillow a set of sheets and a mattress pad. My son is getting the sheets from his older brother as he has moved out of the dorm and no longer is in a twin bed. We have an extra twin mattress pad, so done with that category! Sometimes you need twin long sheets, so make sure. If you have a daughter, you have my prayers. They will be coordinating with their roommate and they will plan on having it look like a dorm good enough for HGTV.


3. Bath items. A few large towels, wash cloths and a shower caddy as well as flip flops. I think a robe is optional as I bought large towels. When deciding on a robe I think it all depends on the length of the walk from the shower to the room and if they are a boy or a girl. When I graduated my mom bought me several sets of brown towels as a graduation gift. It was the worst gift a girl could get. I wanted pink. She gave me practical. I bought my son green that resemble brown. I am my mother!


4. Electronics. Roommates usually try to coordinate who will bring the TV and gaming systems if you have boys. I have an odd child that does not watch TV but listens to podcasts. He also doesn’t play many video games. I know this is a rarity so plan accordingly. We found my oldest had a laptop when he left for college but by his second year he wanted a Surface. A Surface is more portable and easier to take notes on in class. So we will probably skip the laptop purchase with this child.


5. Hooks. Take advantage of that vertical space. We should have bought stock in 3M as these hooks are genius. My best tip is to put one by the door to hang the keys. They can be used to hang cords from the walls and along beds. Buy a bunch in different styles as you will thank me later. I also send along an over the door hook to hang up towels and jackets.


6. Desk organizers. They are usually given desks and are expected to study there. They never do. I think desks should leave dorm rooms. Most people gather in common areas to get their homework done. But if you have a desk look at ways to make good use of the space. Pencils and pens are sometimes still used, so best to find a way to store a few. For my oldest it was highlighters that he used most as everything is typed. Make sure that you frame a picture of yourself and place it on their desk so they don’t forget what you look like!


7. Extra storage. Think TV stands and microwave carts. There is often storage here that should be maximized. When out shopping for one, look for drawers and good use of space. Don’t just buy it because it looks nice, think practical.  They even make futons with drawers underneath for storage.


8. Closet storage. I am not a fan of the slim hangers as I think it encourages people to buy more clothes because they have more room. But in the case of a dorm room closet I encourage these hangers. I have purchased two boxes as this son of mine likes clothes. I also have hanging files made for closets with storage in them as well. He can roll of sweaters and pants and place in the pockets. We are all about maximizing that small space. I have locker baskets as well as a set of black quilted boxes with lids for storing items like socks and underwear that can stack.


Just remember one thing, you have been preparing for this transition for 18 years. They are smart and wise young adults who know how to figure things out. We have been silently showing them how to do things like an adult. They know how to trouble shoot something that is broken by watching a YouTube video. Remember it doesn’t have to be perfect. You don’t have to have everything on move in day. Whatever you forget they will call you and ask for you to mail it or money to buy it. So forget a few things so that you are guaranteed a call home!


To Joyful, Organized Simplicity,


MS. Simplicity

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What’s Love Got To Do With It?

Posted by Melissa Schmalenberger on July 15, 2014 in Uncategorized |

I had an interesting conversation with a family friend last week after she pointed out that I “made” my son carry my supplies to my car for an organizing party. She told me that he was mad at me and that I should be able to do it myself. What I saw and heard was my son sitting in [...]

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Life Will Start When My To-Do List Is Done

Posted by Melissa Schmalenberger on July 8, 2014 in Family, life, Moms |

For the last three months I have had one long to-do list. It seems like every single day I needed to work through it just to get to the next day. If I skip a day nobody did it for me. It lands right on me and my perfectionistic ways. I know exactly when it [...]

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Organize Those Darn Kids

Posted by Melissa Schmalenberger on July 1, 2014 in Uncategorized |

There is lots of finger pointing when I work with clients. Mostly the mess in the house is blamed on children. I would agree that children create about 85% of the clutter in our homes. But how we deal with the clutter is 100% our responsibility. Children are not born to organize. Well, maybe a [...]

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It’s In The Bag

Posted by Melissa Schmalenberger on June 24, 2014 in Holidays, life, Moms |

I don’t know if you are like me, but I can not wrap a gift to save my life. Every holiday when I need to wrap a gift I hand the gift to MR. Simplicity and he takes it and makes the perfect cuts so that he doesn’t have that lop sided section that I [...]

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Simple In Seattle

Posted by Melissa Schmalenberger on June 17, 2014 in Uncategorized |

One of my favorite places to visit and just relax is Seattle. I have had the opportunity to visit nine times since I started visiting in the fall of 2010. I have read the guide books, I have talked to the locals and I have experienced most of the ”touristy” things to do. So here is my simplified [...]

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Clothing Diet Is Over

Posted by Melissa Schmalenberger on June 10, 2014 in Uncategorized |

So I proclaimed on Facebook that I was going on a clothing diet as a sort of social experiment late last year. I vowed that I wouldn’t buy clothes or shoes for six months. I posted it on my business Facebook page and I got some very interesting feedback. Some people said that they hadn’t bought [...]

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Easy Summer Grilling

Posted by Melissa Schmalenberger on June 3, 2014 in Family, Food, life, Moms |

    I have a confession to make: our family has been eating out way too much. Sometimes it is easier with all of us on different schedules to meet somewhere for dinner than it is for me to think about what to make for dinner. But I missed making dinner. I missed my kids [...]

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Organizing Is The Spice Of Life

Posted by Melissa Schmalenberger on May 27, 2014 in Family, Food, life, Moms |

Nothing gets me more excited than organizing! I love walking into a client’s home and seeing the chaos and knowing that I am trusted to make it all better. I see it as a puzzle that was dumped on the floor….I start by sorting the edges…then grouping like items together and start moving pieces around [...]

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Advice To My Son As He Graduates From High School

Posted by Melissa Schmalenberger on May 20, 2014 in Family, life, Moms |

  My middle son is graduating in a few days and I am starting to wake up in a sweat wondering if I have taught him everything that he will need to know when he ventures off to college in the fall. I don’t know what it is with parenting that we think we only [...]

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