College Care Packages

By now, most of the college freshmen have been moved into their dorms. Moms and Dads are at home adjusting to the absence of their offspring, and students are settling into life with their new roommates. It’s the perfect time to send a little care package to let them know they’re missed and loved.

I have a little “formula” I like to use any time I would send our son a care package from home. Below is the formula I like to use. Feel free to click on any of the pictures or highlighted words to find these exact things on Amazon! (See more info below about shipping!)

I like to put one thing from each of the following categories every time I send a box (or have it shipped directly) to our college student.

  • Something to have fun with!
  • Something to eat!
  • Something they might need to use!

Something to have fun with!

This category doesn’t have to be complicated. I like to send card games like Uno, Cards Against Humanity, or Exploding Kittens. A very popular game with college students is Catan. Other fun things that are a big hit are a simple Frisbee or something like Spike Ball. These fun things will also pull double duty when college students are trying to meet new people in their dorms or common areas. Game nights are also friendly on a college student’s budget.

Click the photo above to find links for these exact items.

If games aren’t your college student’s thing, try sending something fun for their room like a little succulent plant, fun lights, or a new journal.

Click the photo above to find links for these exact products.

Tip: Just remember, whatever you send from this category will have to be moved out at the end of the year. Don’t go overboard with big items!

Something to eat!

Even with the best meal plan or campus cafeteria, college students are going to want something to munch on in their dorm rooms. Our son’s favorite snacks to receive were these chips and dip kits, popcorners chips, nuts, small packs of candy, Pringles, and gum.

Other ideas for this category could be tea bags, hot chocolate, microwave popcorn, fruit snacks, oatmeal cups, etc.

Click the photo above to find links for these exact items.

Something they might need to use!

It may feel like you just dropped them off at college with everything but the kitchen sink, but over the next few months they’ll start to need a few things. Some things we ended up sending were: Febreze plug ins (those rooms start to stink), Downy wrinkle releaser (the small bottles are easier to send), room spray, Tide laundry pods, new toothbrushes, deodorant, toiletries, and essential oils to diffuse. We also ended up sending a small hand held vacuum that they could use for their car or room.

Find these things linked HERE.

Shipping your care packages:

Shipping care packages can get really expensive. I recommend doing one of two things: either ship directly from Amazon and don’t pay any shipping at all, or use the flat-rate boxes from the post office.

Most colleges offer free mailboxes to students that live on campus. However, I have found that most colleges will also require that students come in person to set up their box and receive a key. I have also known other colleges that receive packages in their mail center and email students when they have something to pick up. (If your student lives off-campus, just use their regular mailing address.)

The cheapest and easiest thing to do is to ship directly from Amazon. This might mean that your purchases don’t all arrive in the same box or on the same day. Just give your student a heads up that you sent a care package and XX number of packages are coming.

Package themes

If you are trying to come up with more ideas than the ones above, try picking a care package theme. Holidays (Halloween, Valentines) are easy to find things for. If you want to give them a “game night” send a text that you’re sending everything they need to have a game night with friends, and then send a few card games, chips and popcorn, candy, and soda.

This can be a hard time for students and parents. Sending a care package is a great way to reach out to them when you may be feeling disconnected. I hope these ideas help you! Let me know in the comments if you have more ideas to share with everyone.

Click the photo above for links.

Guy’s Dorm Room Decor

We moved our son to college for the first time yesterday. Moms of boys will tell you that decorating their dorm rooms is very different than it is for girls. Most boys don’t care what their room looks like as long as they have what they need. Boys just want the basics. And getting boys to communicate with each other to coordinate anything is darn near impossible. Girls, on the other hand, are even having custom headboards built for their beds. I guess we have that to look forward to in 4 years when Samantha goes to college.

Our son, Jackson, left it up to me to pick out his bedding and decor. He did want to approve everything before the purchase was finalized, but he liked everything I picked out, so we went with it. You can find most of these exact items HERE on my commissionable links.

If you read my previous post on How to Save on Dorm Room decor, you know that I was purchasing items well before move-in day. A few of our favorite dorm room essentials can be found on this commissionable link HERE.

We used storage bins underneath the bed to hold everything from paper towels to medicine to cleaning supplies. If you missed my printable laundry tips (instructions) for college kids, check it out HERE.

Unfortunately we weren’t able to set up the floor plan the way we wanted because his roommate had already moved in, but we improvised and found a way to make his TV viewable by turning his bookshelf sideways. You just do what you can to make things work! We got Jackson’s rug from Target, but I think they added a different one after we left.

We used a shoe organizer (linked HERE) in the closet to store snacks. The closets in his dorm lock, so he is able to keep his suitemates from over-indulging when he’s not around.

Do you have any dorm storage hacks? Let me know in the comments!

Guy's Dorm Room decor basics
You can click HERE (or click the picture above) to find these exact items on my commissionable links.

Below are a few of my favorite items to pack into a college student’s care package. I like to pick one snack, one fun thing (game to share with roomies), & something handy that may be needed (like a dorm room air freshener). It’s easy to add them to your Amazon cart, and then ship it directly to them at school. Click the photo below or HERE for these exact items on Amazon.

10 Ways to Save on Dorm Room Supplies

Our son, Jackson, is headed to his freshman year of college in just a few weeks. As with most colleges, his college requires freshmen to live on campus in a dorm. His particular dorm room consists of two 2 bedroom rooms connected by a jack-and-jill bathroom. That means there will be 2 guys sleeping in each room and 4 guys sharing a bathroom.

We needed to buy dorm bedroom supplies and also bathroom supplies. Pinterest, Bed, Bath, & Beyond, and college websites are all full of helpful lists of anything your college student could possibly need. I found several ways to save on the things that Jackson would need, so I thought I would share.

1. Kohl’s Cash or other shopping rewards

Kohl’s gives “Kohl’s Cash” throughout the year. It can be redeemed on future purchases. You don’t have to spend a minimum amount in order to redeem it. For the past year, any time I earned Kohl’s cash, I went online to purchase dorm supplies. Specifically, towels and washcloths. I made sure to buy towels that could be shipped to the store for free. I also made sure not to spend more than the amount that I had in Kohl’s cash. You can always earn more Kohl’s cash later for more towels, or whatever you’re buying. Another tip is that you can have your college student listed to be the pick-up person. Have them go inside and pick up your purchase, so you won’t be tempted to buy anything else.

2. Shop the Sales and Stash It

Items that you need will be going on periodically throughout the year. Start your junior year and buy things you know you’ll need. For example, if you know that you’ll need a mattress pad, buy it when it’s on sale and stash it away until you need it. Don’t wait until the last minute to shop or you’ll be spending a lot more.

3. Shop after July 4th

After the 4th of July, stores will advertise college related items. The 2 weeks after the 4th of July, different items will be on sale. For example, our Target had dorm microwaves on sale the first week, and dorm refrigerators on sale the second week after the 4th of July. HOWEVER, don’t wait too long because once August gets here it’s crunch time and none of it will be on sale.

4. Pair with a Stair

Do you have friends with kids whose ages alternate with your kids? Stair step kids can share big items! A lot of times college students will only stay in a dorm their freshman year, and they will live elsewhere after that. This means that you really only need items like dorm microwaves, refrigerators, and headboards for one year. You can set up some kind of deal where items get passed or alternated between kids.

5. Check your apps frequently, especially Cartwheel.

I am a huge fan of the Target Cartwheel app. I check my app weekly to see what offers are available. Many times, there has been a Cartwheel offer at the same times as a sale. For example, in the spring there was a sale on rugs, any kind. There was also a Cartwheel offer for rugs. I ended up buying Jackson a 5×7 nonslip rug for $13! Be sure to check the Cartwheel category called “For You”. There are some gems in there.

6. Shopping Lists on Amazon

After you find a dorm shopping list that you plan on using (Pinterest, Bed, Bath, & Beyond, or college website), create a shopping list on Amazon. Go ahead and pick out things that you will need, and add them to the shopping list. Periodically go online and check your list. Prices can fluctuate on Amazon, especially during Prime Day and Cyber Monday. If your item goes on sale, you might want to go ahead and buy it.

7. Graduation Gift Cards

Jackson received some gift cards for graduation. He knew that he would need to use any money or gift cards he received for college expenses. We made trips to pick up needed items and used the gift cards. Be sure to combine shopping trips with sales, rewards, and Cartwheel offers. If this is something you plan on doing, communicate ahead of time with your high school senior that graduation gift cards aren’t a free for all, and they should be used for needed items. Show them the shopping list, and write prices next to each item so they can see what it’s going to take to get everything.

8. Split Costs with a Roomie

Write down all shared items, and split the list up with your roommate. There really only needs to be one microwave, refrigerator, vacuum, tall trashcan, rug, etc. In our case, 4 guys will be sharing a bathroom that needs a shower curtain/rings, rug, toilet bowl brush, plunger, etc. Communicate well ahead of time so that you don’t waste money buying duplicates.

9. Make a Wish List and Share It

You are able to make a dorm wish list/registry on many sites such as Amazon and Bed, Bath, and Beyond. Often grandparents or other extended family are excited to buy something(s) that you need. Go ahead and make the list, and if someone asks you can always share it with them.

10. Store Brands

The amount of stuff you need to go off to college can be overwhelming. There are many items that it really doesn’t matter if they are name brand or not. Toilet bowl brush…who cares what brand it is? Shower curtain, trashcan, desk organizer…your college freshman and their friends are NOT going to care if it’s $100 or $1, as long as they have what they need. P.S. Target brand detergent pods work just as well as some other brands.

A few of our favorite dorm room essentials can be found on this commissionable link HERE. Good luck with all of your shopping. Leave a comment if this post was helpful or if you have another way to save.

Laundry Tips for College Students

Printable  Laundry Instruction Tags for College Students

Our son, Jackson, goes off to college in just a few short weeks. Oh, the emotions! He’s very independent, and he’s been washing his work uniform for about 18 months now. But he hasn’t been washing much more than that, so I wanted to send him with some basic laundry help in case he needs it.

I created these tags that I zip-tied right to his laundry hamper. The instructions on them are pretty straight forward. Since he’s been washing his uniform, I don’t think he’ll have any problems.

First, you’ll need to print the tags on a piece of card stock. You’ll need 2 pieces of Scotch single-sided laminating sheets, a zip-tie or a cable tie, something to cut with, and a hole-punch. I intentionally used card stock and 2 of the laminating sheets because I wanted to make this as thick and durable as possible. I probably could’ve waited to use the laminator at work, but the lamination isn’t as thick as this.

First, I cut out the tags. Then, I punched out the holes. Next, you will use the first sheet of laminating to lay down the tags with space in between them. Carefully line up the other sheet of laminating and place it on top so that you stick them together. Before you cut out the tags, make sure you press down along all of the edges. You’ll want to cut out the holes again with the hole-punch.

Put the tags in order, and zip-tie them to the handle of your laundry hamper.

I’ll put the printable below in case anyone would like to use it. Honestly, this would work well at home, too, if you are trying to teach kids how to do laundry.

I’ll be posting soon on some tips I have for getting towels free or inexpensively to send with your college student. Move-in day is about 5 weeks away. Lots to do!

Please comment and let me know if you found this helpful or if you have any suggestions.