College Prep at The Container Store with Abundance Organizing

July 1, 2022

Are you excited for college, but overwhelmed by the thought of cramming your belongings into a dorm room? Are you struggling to come up with a vision for your new living space at school? Well, if that’s you, we’ve got you covered with our personal shopping and planning experience with a Certified Professional Organizer from Abundance Organizing at The Container Store! Ava and her mom, April, recently took advantage of this opportunity and shared their thoughts about how it went. Here is what they had to say about their college prep shopping experience with Sara:

Meet Ava, and her mom, April…

Ava is getting ready to head off to college to major in clinical psychology at the University of Mary Washington. Her mom, April, is helping her to get ready for this move away from home. Ava and April met with Sara, from Abundance Organizing, at The Container Store and spent about an hour going through Abundance Organizing’s College Storage and Organizing Prep List. The Container Store also has a helpful College Checklist that they referenced. Sara helped Ava build systems and discuss organizing products for Ava’s new dorm room and living space at college. 

Ava: Sara helped me to think through not just how I would store items, but the systems I would set up in my new space for living life. She really asked me good questions and I realized that not everyone has the same storage needs. I had general ideas about what I would need to bring to college, such as a comforter for my bed and sheets, but I have never been on my own. I felt very heard as Sara asked me questions about the kind of person that I am and then gave me items and ideas according to who I am. Sara wanted to know what was important to me and asked me how I do my laundry, how I store personal products, how many shoes I have, and she had questions about my clothing storage. I didn’t realize it was relevant to talk to Sara about who I am in order to personalize my storage needs. 

April: Sara really helped Ava build systems and discuss organizing products for Ava’s new dorm room. We went through Abundance Organizing’s College Storage and Organizing Prep List, in no particular order. We talked about Ava’s closet, bath, desk and study, laundry, and we even talked at the end about a tool kit. We also talked about technology, how to handle cord control, where to put the monitor, if she needed a riser, and about a phone and tablet stand. 

Make sure you have the dimensions and your college’s checklist!

Ava and April brought the dimensions of Ava’s new room and her college’s checklist of what Ava can and cannot bring to school on their shopping trip with Sara. 

Ava: A lot of colleges, when they assign students their dorms, give the dimensions of the room and even the size of the closets. It all depends on the college as far as where you can find this information. We were able to find this information on my college website. 

April: We found the size of her room, her closet dimensions, the size of her desk, and even the number of windows she has in her room. We were also provided a checklist of things that Ava can and cannot bring, the type of outlets she has, and the electrical requirements of what she can and cannot use. This is really helpful if you are trying to figure out if you can bring a toaster or microwave with the electrical setup of the dorm room.

Talking with Sara helped Ava think through her space.

Ava had an “aha” moment talking with Sara and realized that she needed to not overcomplicate things for herself and only take the essentials with her to college. 

Ava: I was kinda not thinking about space, but after talking with Sara and considering the dimensions, I realized I do not have room for a lot of things that I would normally think of bringing with me. Meeting with Sara helped me picture what college would be like, how I would carry my toiletries around in the dorm and take them to the shower, what hall bathroom storage would look like, how to organize good storage in my closet, how I would set up my clothes, and shoe boxes…the perfect fix for the way to store all my shoes. We also talked about making my desk a multipurpose desk and what it would look like to use it as a place to do homework but also set it up as a place to get ready in the morning. 

Meeting with Sara helped April feel better about the transition for Ava.

Initially, April felt very overwhelmed when thinking about getting her daughter ready to go to college and all that the transition involved. She felt so much better after Sara helped Ava build systems for the space in her new living area.

April: Ultimately, as a mom, you want your daughter to have the best experience. Having your daughter go to college is quite an adjustment and it can be an anxious time for both of us. Anything that can help calm her, calms me. If she is feeling better about the transition, I will feel better about it, too. Talking with Sara gave Ava a plan that helped her to think about a lot of things that other kids have probably not thought through yet. Things like doing your laundry, or where you are going to put your underwear, where the trash can will go, and how to organize your electronic cords. Ava was able to develop and think through systems with Sara that will help her feel like there is a sense of order established when she arrives at school.

Ava and April had a couple favorite products…

While Ava and April loved all the products that Sara recommended for Ava’s new living space, they definitely had a couple that were at the top of their list. 

April: One of my favorite organizing products we found during the college shopping trip was the Over the Door Shoe Bag. Sara recommended getting the clear one so that Ava can turn the shoe bag into a multipurpose storage device by cutting off the bottom of the shoe bag, adding some hooks, and then being able to hang her small purses, belts, and any other things that are not too heavy. This will help to utilize more of the space behind the door of her closet. 

Ava: I absolutely love the makeup desktop organizer and the acrylic makeup system. Sara talked with me about making my desktop multipurpose – the place for me to do my homework and the place for me to put my makeup on and get ready in the morning. I plan to use these organizing products for hygiene and makeup products on my desk. They will be easily accessible but also contained and out of the way when I do homework.

A couple more thoughts from April to other parents…

April had a couple words of advice and encouragement for other parents of college-bound children.

April: As a parent, try to give them the space to figure things out. Remind them to communicate with their roommates to eliminate having double items in the dorm room. You do not want them to have two refrigerators and no printer on move-in day. If you do realize that there is something lacking though, The Container Store is a great fix for this because they can directly ship to your student.  When kids go off to college, they do not have the same security that they have had at home. In some ways, it feels like the wild wild west. I am just so glad that we shopped for college with Sara because I know that  having these systems put into place will help Ava to feel more on top of things. Overall, I think this preparation and the help we received from Sara will make Ava’s transition much smoother and give her a more seamless college experience.