SIKESTON -- It's about time for college students to move into the dorms or their new homes. And it's apparent with the merchandise in store aisles, the booking of moving vehicles and definitely in the homes of those about to make the big move.
"I started packing Sunday," said Caroline Nace of Sikeston, who will be a freshman at Mizzou. "One tip I've had is 'you don't think it will take you that long to pack, but it does.'"
Over the past several years, Jane Johnson has been involved in about a half dozen moves to college dorms and apartments with her daughters Terri and Laura, and is gearing up to do it again.
"The biggest help that we've had is that we bought a two-wheeler that converts into a cart," said Johnson. She and her husband, Newton, saw it at a store before Laura, their oldest, moved to college.
"I saw it and said 'we should get that, and then we wouldn't have to wait for one,'" recalled Johnson. "That was our best purchase. We've used it every year."
Johnson said the cart was a reasonable price and something other parents have often dubbed a good idea.
Nace said something she has purchased quite a bit of are Rubbermaid storage containers -- because they can be used not only to haul the items, but also to store clothes, shoes and other things under a student's bed. "One friend advised I buy a large one from my shoes, and stick it in the closet," she said.
She said she's gotten quite a bit of advice from friends, as well as Mizzou paperwork and information provided at Summer Welcome. "And some of the things, I would have never thought about," she said.
The Johnson's won't have too tough of a time moving some things this year. That's because Terri left the possessions she wouldn't need in Oxford, Miss.
"We rented a small storage unit for the stuff that she wasn't going to need at home," said Johnson. "That saves us from moving it back and forth and back and forth."
She also advised taking -- and leaving -- a tool kit, extension cords and basic cleaning supplies. Fans are also a good idea, especially in buildings without air conditioning, plus water to keep the family hydrated while moving, said Johnson.
It is important to think ahead about how all those possessions will be transported to college.
"This time of year, when college is about to start, we try to book (trailers and vans) as early as we can," said Carl McClain, manager of one of the Sikeston U-Haul locations. He said now is the busiest time of year for them -- and advised people to book on the Internet.
"That's the best way," he said. "And usually, most people try to book at least two weeks in advance."
Not enough notice may mean there isn't a trailer or van available, said McClain.
While it's a good idea to think ahead on some things, others can wait, and may not be worth hauling. For instance, Nace said she'll wait to buy detergent and some other items, such as food, until she gets to Columbia. "It will just take up more room," she said.
Johnson said that's a good idea, but depends on how many stores are in the area -- when Laura went to school in Springfield, shopping wasn't a big deal, but with just one large supercenter in Oxford, it was tougher to go out and buy last minute items for Terri.
Communication is key, too. "My roommate and I have been texting and calling each other all the time," said Nace. Since there are some strict policies, the two keep in touch on who has purchased -- or been given -- what on their checklist.
But no matter what, Johnson urged students and parents to relax and remember that all the other families are in the same situation. She even advised waiting a couple of hours into moving time if possible, just to let the crowd die down.
"Everybody is kind of stressed and you just have to be courteous and patient with everybody," she continued. "And everybody wants the elevator."