So your kid is going to college.  Congratulations, you finished the biggest part of your job as a parent. Now it is time to go on that date night with the hubby the two of you have been promising each other since 18 years ago.  But before we get too excited, here is a quick list of things you shouldn’t buy your kid, why, because its unnecessary and they most probably wouldn’t want it anyway.

1. Ironing Board:  

Their not going to iron, deal with it.  Rather buy them a ton of hangers and teach them how to fold their clothing.  I also find after the washer is done, immediately take out the cloths, give it a proper shake, to get out the wrinkles and then hang them on the hanger, let dry.  By allowing the cloths to dry as they are to be worn, will prevent unnecessary creases and they will look ok enough for college.


2.  Bean Bags:

Get rid of them!  They are extremely comfy and great to lounge around, but they are massive, they get sticky a lot and are quite difficult to clean.  Especially these cheap fake leather plastic once bought down the road.  The problem with them is that they are massive for the purpose they fulfill, the get full of juice, beer and bread crumbs.  The worst things is that boys never get rid of them, try and prevent a future argument between your boy and his future girlfriend.  Aldo if the break, which all the cheap once do,  its a massive massive  mess to clean up.  The truth is those little polystyrene balls get everywhere, except in the trash.


3.  Small Appliances

Your daughter will want her coffee machine and toaster, your son will want his protein shakes.  The answer is consider if they are really going to use it and when.  Most collage res have a fully equipped kitchen not to far away, so can’t they use their appliances?  If the kitchen is closed during those long study nights and your kid says he needs this and that, then yes.  Go get it, but find the smallest appliance you can.

Instead of an expensive espresso maker, go get a plunder and only one.  After making some coffee they will have to clean it out first before they can make the second cup.  The coffee filter machines are much too big for their small dorm spaces.  If your daughter wants a toaster, make sure her room mate doesn’t have one already. Why need two when one will do, you can rather buy them something else they need, like the full series of One Tree Hill.

This also goes for all those kitchen utensils, most dorms don’t have space for any in dorm cooking, don’t fill the space with this.  Rather wait and see.


4.  Expensive Rugs

Expensive rugs and expensive anything is a complete no when it comes to students and dorm rooms.  You need to consider what will have to go with a rug, a vacuum cleaner.  Will your kid be able to fit a vacuum cleaner in the room, and will they even want to vacuum the rug.  Most likely it will be “no” to both questions.  Your child will need something like a rug, it’s understandable the tiles are cold and winter is long enough, not to mention you want it at least to feel like home.  But do yourself a favor and buy a cheap, durable, none fluffy carpet.  These can be cleaned with a broom, by wiping off the bread crumbs and easily washed with a wet cloth for those soda and beer spills.  If the carpet can’t be cleaned with a broom, then don’t buy it.


5. Knickknacks

This is all those little figurines and crap your kid will collect over the years, this include the teddy bears and Lego toys.  Items like these need to stay home, why, because there is no space for these items.  If they miss them they can come home to visit over the weekend.  These items will either get broke, get lost or get stolen.

Less is more in a small dorm room, they should learn to live with less and be happy with it.


6. Stereo and TV

Big bulky stereos are useless, get your kid a computer and a small Ipod shuffle the Christmas before college.  The Ipod is perfect for exercise and the library and the computer will function as their stereo and TV.  Nothing more is needed or wanted, accept a big multi-plug, you can never have enough of those things in the house.


7. Candles

DON’T bring them, most dorm will through your child and the candles out.  Their a fire hazard as simple as that, the end.

Also another thing for the girls, incense are also something some dorm don’t allow, having everyone musk up the place with their own smell will eventually have the entire dorm smell like a garbage dump.


8. Once Off season Clothing

There will be very little space in their closet, the gist is that they can’t afford the space for clothing that will only be able to be worn in summer or only in winter.  You will have to mix your season clothing and also remember a good pair of sneakers for running from one class to the next.

I suggest your kid takes a warm jacket, 2-3 jeans and then a bunch of t-shirts.  For the girls add a few dresses in the mix and 1-2 pairs of high heels.  This is purely for the party nights and going on those dates.

O by they way, don’t bring any high school marked clothing.  Their not in high school, that was a past life and the other students will laugh at them.


9.  The Money

Yes your kid will need money, and most probably way more than you might think.  But the important thing is that they learn how to budget, how to spend and when to save.  This is the perfect time that you are still in control of their finance, but they can start taking responsibility for it.

Moms, dads, make use of this time period, once they’re done with college they will start earning their own money (and if they by then) don’t know how to work with money they will be screwed when they need to retire.

No Credit cards or Petrol Cards, they’re not old enough to handle the freedom that comes with it.  Little cash, things tend to get lost in college, my suggestion is a Debit Card.  This allows them to spend only what they have and nothing more.  This way you can also transfer the money they need weekly or monthly, depending on how responsible your kid is.

My mother did this with me and my brother (and even though we could always work well with our money) I feel this was the best way.  Another thing to remember is that if the money for the week or month never seem to last, ask your child to keep the slips of everything they spend for a month or two.  When they come home, go through it and see where the budget can be improved.  Things are expensive and it isn’t always the parties that are the most expensive item they need.

I would like to conclude by say good luck to you as a parent and also to your kid.  College is a great scary place.  We all loved it and miss it and you as a parent should be proud your child is becoming who they want to be.  Also parents don’t worry too much about the late night parties, this is also an educational tool, they learn to mingle and network for those future business deals:)

P.S. Are you looking for student accommodation, then look no further.  Mafadi has a great selection of great and affordable student accommodation.

 Written by Lizl Brink, Lizl is copywriter and designer based in Johannesburg, she is also a frequent contributor to the Mafadi blog, and as an Urban investor and rejuvenation shares a passion for urban regeneration, go check out her personal portfolio here
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