My College:
Housing & Residential Life

It's Just Stuff...and the Memories Don't Live in It

LaTrina Rogers


It’s spring semester and college seniors and their parents are contemplating life after graduation.

While students may be thinking of jobs, should they stay at home, move away from home, and even experiencing anxiety about the whole project of being an actual adult, parents may be thinking of details students don’t often consider — such as what to do with all their stuff at the end of their last semester.

A student’s “stuff” is more than their clothes, books and décor, and sometimes there isn’t much room at home for all the items that have been collected during the college chapter of life.

As the semester draws to a close, social media will be filled with pictures of perfectly good furniture, appliances, computers, and other miscellaneous items thrown away or simply left behind by students. The practice of throwing away good items has become so common, many colleges host dumpster diving events, garage sales and recycling drives.

So, how can families help their seniors sort through and deal with the extra items collected over the last four (or more) years living on or off campus?

Here are three suggestions to share!

1. Connect With Underclass Students

There are sure to be many younger students who need what your student no longer needs. First-year students in particular may be changing residence halls or moving off campus and they're looking for furniture, kitchenware, rugs, you name it.

2. Pass It Along

There are many families who have younger siblings or other family members heading to college the coming semester. There are also local programs that support students heading to college who need supplies for their college journey. Some of the items can be passed along to those who will need them the coming semester. Ask around!

3. Recycle

Lots of unwanted items can be recycled, including out-of-date computers and broken or unwanted appliances. Check local community resources to find recycling options for those end-of-semester items. It's worth going to a little extra trouble to keep this stuff out of landfills.

4. Dispose of Stuff Properly

A combination of the above suggestions should work for varying situations. While considering options, remember to encourage students to properly dispose of items rather than leaving them in the dorm room for someone else to clean up. Many colleges charge a fee for removing and disposing of items. And if your student is moving out of an off-campus apartment or house, leaving unwanted furnishings and trash behind will lead to extra cleaning charges and possibly losing their whole security deposit.

This chapter comes with so many emotions, but remember — it’s just stuff and the memories don’t live in it.

Find more move-out tips in CollegiateParent's End-of-Semester Checklist!
Originally shared on CollegiateParent's Facebook page. Find more conversation and community in our College Parent Insiders Facebook group.
LaTrina Rogers (she/her/hers) is Director of Residential Life at Ranken Technical College in St. Louis, MO. She holds an M.S.Ed in College Student Personnel Administration from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and has over 15 years of experience in student affairs across a number of functional areas including admissions and degree completion programs as well as residence life. LaTrina is The Dorm Mom — connect with her on Facebook, YouTube and Pinterest and @thedormmom on Instagram and Twitter!
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