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When Johnny Can’t Pack: 5 Smart Ways to Load Your Kids Up for College

Pack your car the smart way, and you’ll send Johnny and Jane to college with ease. And to commemorate the experience, give them this dorm-wall-worthy, classic Fiat 500 picture from our PJÄTTERYD series

Turns out Johnny can read. Jane too! You know this because they got into the colleges of their choice. Now, if only Johnny and Jane could pack for college. Because that patchwork pouf (Johnny’s) and deluxe wrench set (Jane’s) won’t drive themselves!

Sadly, though—in the same way it fell upon you to feed Johnny’s pet Kinkajou and water Jane’s Venus flytrap—it will be on you to cram those commemorative mason jars into the spare-tire compartment. So why not make it easy?

Just follow these efficient-packing tips. And make sure to share them with Jane and Johnny—they may not learn these kinds of skills where they’re going.

Make an inventory list: Johnny and Jane may never need to count or list things for a living. Still, inventory-engineering can be a valuable skill, especially for packing. First, make a list of items you’re taking, grouping like-items together (such as polo gear). Put each set of like-items together in one box (again, polo gear!), assigning a number to that box. Write that same number down on the corresponding list, attach said list to the box and—boom: unpacking at the dorm becomes super-easy.

TJENA box with lid

Since the first university appeared in Fez, Morocco, circa 859 AD (true), the box has been the tool to move kids’ inventory to college (possibly true). But rather than waste trunk space with disposable cardboard, give your kids a crate that doubles as a handsome storage unit. With this TJENA box, Jane and Johnny have a place to keep books, photos, memorabilia and more.

Protect breakables: Nothing ruins a good move like a shattered sci-fi-movie plate set. To protect items Johnny and Jane consider valuable, you’ll want to create an in-box buffer. First wrap the fragile properties with something soft—making sure to place them toward the center of the box. Then surround the delicates with more cushioning. The trick: make your cushioning out of something you were bringing anyway, like bedding or pillows. Tell Johnny and Jane this is called being “resourceful.”

GULLKLOCKA cushion cover

Place a pillow in a dorm room and get instant décor. Place a pillowcase in a box and you get instant padding for fragiles. A GULLKLOCKA cushion cover looks snazzy, feels velvety, and will pair well with whatever it protected in that box. 

Use the hangers: You’ve actually trained Johnny and Jane to hang up their clothes. Good for you! Still, in the dorms, on their own, they may fall in with a bad crowd—slobs. So set one last good example: When packing, leave their clothes on hangers. Just tie the hangers together and drape them in garbage bags. This way, it’s easy-out of their old closet and easy-in to the new.

LENNART drawer unit

Oh, if only you could buy Johnny and Jane a lightweight drawer set (say, eight pounds) that could double as moving boxes. But wait, you can: the LENNART drawer unit (perfectly sized for desk accessories and printer paper). Buy the drawer set before moving, assemble the drawers only (pack the frame parts), then fill them with dorm fare.

Buy some items at school: Winter coats? Check. Bath towels? Check. Wall clock? Check. Toothpaste? Not check! Unless your kids will school somewhere a county away from the nearest drugstore or supermarket, don’t bother packing consumables, disposables, or any ables. Just buy them when you arrive.

Pack the car as follows: You’ve inventory’d, boxed, and hangered things. Now you need to jam all this junk these treasures into your wagon. So how to make the most of your car space? Load bigger items, like the mini-fridge and boxes, first. Then wedge in the softer, pliable things, like pillows and bedding. Advanced challenge: Position that slumberware in such a way that enables passenger-napping during the trip. (Warning: Jane and Johnny may do this while you reminisce about your move to college.)

SMÅSTARR twin duvet cover and pillowcase

Nothing makes for better car-packing material than a soft, SMÅSTARR twin duvet cover and pillowcase set. Coincidentally, nothing makes for better dorm-sleeping material than a soft, SMÅSTARR twin duvet cover and pillowcase set. #WinWin. #NoBrainer.

Fortify your unload strategy: Navigating the dorm unloading process can flummox you as much as college admission terms (early action, single choice early action, restrictive early action, for instance). So before you hit the road, make sure you know: When is official moving day? Are there specific hours? Can you move in sooner? Where can you park the car? Will some chipper student group help? Can the dorm lend you a dolly? Who’ll guard the lava lamp? Showing your kids how to master these logistics will give them advance placement for Napoleonic Wars 101. 

Because you studied and followed all the above advice to the letter, you’ll ace the actual act of unpacking (this course has been an easy-A, we know). Just watch this video to see how easy unpacking will be. And once you’re done, the most efficient thing you can do is leave: Your tears are distracting Johnny and Jane. 

Shop for college essentials at or at your local IKEA store

Do you have any college moving tips for Johnny or Jane? Let us know in the comments! 


#bedroom #college #dorm #moving #Organization #Tips & Ideas

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