Get a Handle on Returning College Students’ “Stuff”

by | May 2021

College Student's Bedroom

Pexels/cottonbro studio

Your college-age children have been away at college, and you’ve tidied up their rooms during their absence. Before you know it, the academic year is over, and they are back home—with duffel bags of dirty laundry and bedding, various kitchen items and electronics arriving on your doorstep. Now what? Maybe it’s time (if you haven’t already done so) to teach your children how to properly clean and organize their belongings.

First and most importantly, clean everything. Run the laundry, wash the kitchen items and sanitize the bedding (blankets, sheets, mattress pad, pillows, etc.) and wipe down any remaining items.

Sort everything into three piles: Categories can include Need While Home, Need at School and Items to Donate/Replace. Once sorted, place the items that won’t be used until the next school term inside bins, labeling them (sleeping, eating, studying, etc.) to make it easier for unpacking.

Pro tip: There are some great dual-purpose storage options. One of my favorites is a storage cube. They can be used as a chair or ottoman with storage inside. Trunks are another option because they can act as seating or as a coffee table while easily storing extra bedding, kitchen items or electronics.

After the items are washed and organized, find a dedicated spot in the garage or storage room to hold the items. I recommend keeping them in an easily accessible space. 

Kira Vanderlan operates a home and business decluttering, organization and interior design company with a focus on mindfulness. Find her at


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