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What do you pack for Exeter?

PrepPrepPrepPrep 0 replies1 discussionsRegistered User Forum Champion
Dear Fellow Parents,

I found when it came time to pack for boarding school, there wasn't a lot of especially useful information out there....even from Exeter itself. What follows is a copy of an email I sent to a friend whose son is joining Exeter in the Fall. She'd written me with a several questions about logistics and packing. This is definitely a low-maintenance boy list. If there's a mother of a girl out there, it would be helpful if you'd post something to help, too!

--FORWARDING--

These are EXACTLY the questions I was asking last year. Blows my mind that there's such limited information out there!! So here's a total brain dump, which I hope makes at least marginal sense:

So...yes it's completely true that we're supposed to dump them off on the move in day to get their life together. No pre-scouting, no pre-studied floorplans, just GO. And, actually, it's doable.

What I did last year was arrive a day or two in advance of the move in day so we could shop for most everything locally, rather than moving/shipping things across country. We loaded everything into our hotel as we purchased it, and then carted it over in the SUV we rented for the dropoff trip.

I stayed for a few days after move in, and I almost felt like I was there too long. As hard as this transition is for us, the kids get into the swing of things and kind of want you to move on (I think that makes it easier for them, too). But it was good to be there at least one full day after move-in to get things he didn't know he'd need, once he saw the room, what his roommate brought, and we'd figured out the room's best layout.

BED, BATH & BEYOND has a shopping service where you can basically "register" a shopping list locally, and they'll have it all waiting for you at the store near Exeter...no obligation to buy anything; just pre-shopped and set aside. Start saving your 20% coupons now (they'll honor as many as you have...and around back to school time, sometimes there's a magical 20% off your entire purchase coupon--find that!!). This was great for stuff like comforters and pillows, etc. that you won't want to have to pack (and pay luggage or shipping costs for!). Plus, you and your son will enjoy going through the store with the UPC gun, scanning items and creating the list.... Some of their stuff is reasonable, some pricey...so beware that you don't HAVE to get it all there. There is a TARGET and a WAL*MART near school, too, as well as a mall about 30 mins away. Anything you can avoid having to buy and pack at home, you may want to get out there. No sales tax in New Hampshire means everything will be 10% cheaper than at home, too..... Just create a comprehensive list before you go so you can organize your shopping.

Also, if you're not already a member of AMAZON PRIME, I've found it's well worth the investment. Free 2 day shipping of pretty much almost anything he could possibly need...and because Exeter is near some sort of Amazon distribution center, purchases often get there in just one day. You can order things to arrive the first week of school (or any time afterwards, if need be) and not pay for shipping. Also, things that are SHIPPED to New Hampshire are also sales-tax free.

The main thing I bought and packed back home were clothes. Their laundry is picked up weekly (2 separate pick up days), so you don't need a million things...but he will get tired of wearing the same stuff, so a little more than a week's worth is good--also, it's good to have extras in case he misses the laundry run and needs to stretch it to the next pickup/drop off.

Dress code requires a collared shirt and tie (or turtleneck), but allows any pants; khakis and jeans (and maybe some cords?) rule the day. There's definitely a more "preppy" vibe back East than what we're used to in the West, and in the Spring, you'll see guys in yellow, green, pink and plaid pants, etc. Lots of Sperry topsiders, too.

Pants are easy to re-wear without washing, so again, he doesn't need a ton. My son asked for a lot of undershirts, because he always wears them with his dress shirts (extends wearability and they're warm...plus you can strip off your prep-wear and hang out in the tshirt James-Dean-Style in the dorm). Speaking of which...they do wear "dorm pants" (like sweats, and/or flannel PJ bottoms) and sports shorts a lot around the dorm. Also, he'll have PE almost every day, so be sure to give him some track pants/sweats/long basketball shorts and workout shirts to wear with those, to last him a week. Given the sweat, those aren't so nice to re-wear without washing.

Don't worry about his Winter stuff when you're moving him in in September. It's going to be pretty warm...even hot, cooling off a bit in October and November. You can bring his winter coat and warm snow boots, thicker socks, long underwear, etc. to Family visiting Day in October, or if it's looking like a mild Fall, you could even wait until he comes home for Thanksgiving and have him drag that stuff back--so don't think you have to think a whole year in advance. You can build as you go.

Moving-wise, I packed most everything into large duffel bags (I used a suit bag for the dress shirts, just because I had it and they all fit, hanging). The great thing about the duffels is that they hold a ton, but fold up into nothing when it's time to store them. He has one medium sized suitcase, which he uses to travel back and forth with when he comes home for breaks. He doesn't need to pack much when he comes home because I keep clothes home for him (which I control the washing of, so he doesn't need much!).

There's usually a cubby to store suitcases and other "deep storage"-type items in the dorm room. They can also stow stuff under their bed...although it can get pretty dirty under there!

Speaking of cleaning: Vacuum cleaners are available to kids, but it seems like they are RARELY used. Loathe to admit my enabling, but I do deep clean his room every time I go out there...despite the fact that I set him up with a Swiffer mop (great for dorm rooms), ez cleaning wipes and a dust buster. The boys rarely clean beyond picking their stuff up (and even that's only on occasion!). They need to take out their own trash (which they argue with their roommate about), and some dorm supervisors do occasional room-checks for basic livable-clean, but they are really on their own....

So here's a sort of list, with comments to keep in mind:
(And remember, you can easily get almost all of this stuff in Exeter, or on Amazon, so you won't need to pack it or ship it.)

CLOTHING
(Layers.... Yes, the Winters are FREEZING. It's cold outside, but hot in class and in the dorms)
10-12 Dress shirts
5 ties (this is a minimum, I'd say. my son has many more & likes to be able to change things up. humorous ties are not discouraged as long as they're "appropriate")
10 Undershirts
10 Casual Tshirts/Polos
2 Heavy Hooded Sweatshirts
2 Sweaters
2 Polar Fleece Zip up or pullover
Mid-weight warm jacket (could double as raincoat)
1-2 Turtlenecks (if he wears them he gets a pass on the tie)
12+ Pair of Underwear
12 Pair of Socks (some tall, some short)
2 Pairs of Shorts
1-2 Pair of "nicer pants" for dressier occasions
3-4 Pair of Khakis
3-4 Pair of Jeans (can also add cords if your son wears them)
1-2 Belts
3-4 Pajamas/Loungewear
6 outfits for PE (sport shorts, sweats, track pants, etc. & shirts/sweatshirts)
Bathrobe
Shower Sandals (yes, they get athlete's foot in those shared showers!)
Athletic shoes for PE
Shoes that work well in mud/rain
Cheap dress shoes
Blazer and/or suit - nothing fancy (you can wait on this; he won't need right away, and maybe not at all!)
Athletic wear as needed (if he's playing a particular sport, you can get what he needs later)

For the colder weather:
Warm Scarves (don't pack too many; the more they have, the more they tend to lose)
2 warm hats
Two pair of gloves (1 waterproof)
1 Pair of heavier snow boots
Super-warm Winter Jacket (NorthFace, Columbia, LandsEnd, LLBean etc.)
3 Pair of heavy duty thermal long underwear
2 Pair midweight long underwear
Balaclava (optional)
Waterproof insulated pull on pants (for snowball fights on the lawn) (optional!)

BEDDING
They supply basic flat sheets, blanket a couple of basic towels and a pillow. You'll want your own stuff--especially fitted sheets!
Bath Towels (2 - 4)*
1 beach towel
Wash Cloths (4)
Comforter/Bedspread/Duvet/Blanket
Pillow(s)
Fitted Sheets Sets (XL Twin) + Pillowcases
Zippered Mattress cover (recommend!!)
Bed Topper (tempurpedic, eggcrate, etc.)
Bolster pillows to sit up in bed with

APPLIANCE-TYPE ITEMS
Computer & Printer & all necessary cables (note: you may want to enroll in a cloud back up service, just in case)
Possibly a lock for his computer? Depends on the dorm sitch.
Graphing Calculator (TI-89)
Telephone (there is a line to the dorm, but my son has NEVER used it, and unplugged it. You may not need it if your son has a reliable cellphone)
Reliable, Loud Alarm Clock (unless he's happy with his phone for waking him)
Fans (it's HOT in the Fall and there's no a/c; plus sometimes it's nice to get the air moving in the winter)
Humidifier (if he's sensitive to the dry air and heat in the winter)
Lamps, Desk Lamp (the rooms tend to be a little dark)
Reading light for bed

TOILETRIES
Shower Tote
Hairbrush/comb
Shampoo/Conditioner (the boys tend to like the all-in-one)
Emergency Kit, to keep in Room: Nail Clipper, Neosporin, Bandaids, Advil, Allergy Med, Tums, etc.)
Toothbrush/paste/etc.
Face wash, acne med, etc.
Microshaver (for quick touch ups)
Electric shaver (or razor) if your son has a full beard.

OTHER STUFF
Reusable Water Bottle (Exeter is a green campus; you can't get plastic disposable water bottles there)
Backpack
School Supplies - you can pick up some stuff before school begins, but he'll know better what he needs once he gets into his classes. Most everything he'd need is available at the campus bookstore; other stuff can be ordered online or picked up at Walgreens, etc.
Underbed Storage totes
Dry-erase board/bulletin board (if helpful)
No-Mar Wall tapes for hanging stuff
Toolkit
Rug for in front of the bed (especially if room isn't carpeted)
Nightstand/table (better with drawers--more storage)
Hangers (they do get shirts back on hangers, but he may want a few of his own that aren't wire)
Clothes hamper
Desk Chair (one is provided, but it's pretty hard and stiff. not a necessity unless this bugs you!)
Garbage bags (some are provided, but these seem to always come in handy)
Cube Cubbie storage/cheap shelves (as needed)
Clothing Labels (for clothes and all belongings, just in case!) (order this summer: Labeldaddy.com is good; the labels are stickon, and stay on)

DO NOT BRING:
(anything with any significant wattage will overwhelm the electrical systems in the dorms, and can also be fire hazards)
Electric Heaters
Halogen lamps
Hotpot/hotplate
Refrigerator
Iron/Ironing Board
Microwave
Trashcan
TV
Toaster

That's my for now brain dump. Hope it hasn't completely overwhelmed you! For the most part, as I said before, you'll get a lot of this stuff in Exeter, and you'll get a better feel for what he needs as the time gets closer.

Just remember you can always send more stuff, or get it to him on one of the trips back and forth (there are a lot at the beginning of the school year between Family Visiting Day, Thanksgiving and Winter Break).

...oh, and one more thing. Tissues. They'll be for your tears. The kids will be fine.

Hope this has been helpful to those looking for answers!

Congratulations on your upcoming adventure--
edited May 2013 in Prep School Parents
6 replies
Post edited by PrepPrep on
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Replies to: What do you pack for Exeter?

  • 2prepMom2prepMom 19 replies0 discussionsRegistered User New Member
    Exeter drop-off

    The dorm has a welcome committee of proctors, and the new kids will want to swarm together, so do not be offended when you are ignored by your child. You might be lucky to grab lunch with them, but probably not (but lunch is available to parents in the cafeteria).The students have a very structured, busy and fun welcoming day planned. The new preps have 2 days with the proctors and advisors orienting them before the rest of the school arrives.

    If I remember, there was a little talk by somebody for new parents in the Assembly hall - no big deal and it is hard to get time to go.

    You will be invited to meet with the students, advisors and dorm staff, in the dorm meeting room, in the afternoon. THIS IS VERY HELPFUL TO GO TO - DO NOT MISS. This will be your lifeline for info. You will get lots of pictures and comments from the dorm staff e-mailed to you during the fall. Right after that meeting say goodbye to kiddo (they will be very hard to find later).

    You will be expected (without child) at the principal's reception looking dry, neat and tidy just before dinner, so don't give up that hotel room quite yet (after lugging stuff up 4 or more flights of stairs in 95 degree heat for hours- only one dorm has an elevator). The faculty are wearing suits.

    Then LEAVE because your child will be busy with their new friends at dinner, and all the next day. This is not your orientation, it is theirs. Parent's weekend in October is for you. Some families do not leave and kids are very embarassed. Some families actually move to Exeter because they do not want to leave. Wow, just wow.

    Exeter mails out shipping instructions at the end of the summer - SHIP (Amazon prime is free shipping and comes in handy all year) a memory foam XL mattress pad (or two), 2 sets of XL dorm sheets, a light comforter or blanket, and pillows. It will be sitting in the dorm room waiting for you. (Local BB&B was not convenient, and totally sold out from the college students who had moved in a week earlier). The ones supplied by the school are functional but scratchy.

    I unpacked my Ds stuff and made the bed up by myself in the morning, because she was immediately busy with the gang. The rooms are pretty much standard, an XL bed that can be raised a few feet to store stuff underneath, a single chest of drawers, a closet and a desk with lamp and chair.

    She had picked out posters and a light mobile that could be taped to wall. Don't forget pix from home. She had wanted a 5X7 shag rug we got at Home Depot inexpensively (that was a big hit with visitors, who slept on it). The wall to wall carpeting in the dorms is very thin and not particularly attractive.

    Put money on their ID Lioncard account, so they can charge text books, notebooks and binders at bookstore. They like the "Exeter" logo binders, and all go over shopping after they get their specific class assignments and book lists the next day.

    WAIT on winter clothes until you go for parent's weekend in October. A light jacket will do till then.

    The e-book is inaccurate for girls. Girls wear shorts and jeans (non-ripped) with shirts and/or sweaters. No T-shirts with sayings. Flip flops are popular and dress is CASUAL. Do not buy lots of "slacks, skirts and dresses" as e-book suggests, they get sent home pronto.

    Boys wear shorts and jeans, with shirts and tie to class.

    A radio or ipod with noise canceling headphones is a very nice gift which comes in handy in the dorm. Most kids have cell phones, a mac or PC and many have ipads.

    They do not need cash. Use the Lionlinks card, and we gave her a credit card with an account linked to ours online for occasional ice cream, mall trip or Amazon order.

    It is amazing how much energy Exeter puts into welcoming and orienting the kids. They feel at home very quickly. Parents, not so much. I cried all the way home the first year. It was tough to leave her. It was much, much easier the second time around.

    Happy to answer any questions.
    edited May 2013
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  • classicalmamaclassicalmama 17 replies0 discussionsRegistered User Junior Member
    I'm usually jumping on threads like these writing way too much stuff! But these posts are great. I looked carefully through the boy list, and pretty much everything on there is the stuff that my kid has, currently, in his dorm room. (Well, there's the couch, but that was bought from a senior in the dorm after first year...) I'm pasting the list below and adding a few pieces; I'll put mine in parentheses.

    CLOTHING
    (Layers.... Yes, the Winters are FREEZING. It's cold outside, but hot in class and in the dorms)
    10-12 Dress shirts
    5 ties (this is a minimum, I'd say. my son has many more & likes to be able to change things up. humorous ties are not discouraged as long as they're "appropriate")
    10 Undershirts (my guy likes assorted colors of the lightweight, Gap style v-necks to be worn alone or under a shirt)
    10 Casual Tshirts/Polos (I'd cut this as t-shirts will accumulate from school-related events)
    2 Heavy Hooded Sweatshirts (I'd say just buy an Exeter sweatshirt at school and others will accumulate)
    2 Sweaters
    2 Polar Fleece Zip up or pullover (just one?)
    Mid-weight warm jacket (could double as raincoat)
    1-2 Turtlenecks (if he wears them he gets a pass on the tie)
    12+ Pair of Underwear
    12 Pair of Socks (some tall, some short)
    2 Pairs of Shorts
    1-2 Pair of "nicer pants" for dressier occasions
    3-4 Pair of Khakis
    3-4 Pair of Jeans (can also add cords if your son wears them) (I'd say 2 pair is enough)
    1-2 Belts
    3-4 Pajamas/Loungewear (some boys wear pajamas?!)
    6 outfits for PE (sport shorts, sweats, track pants, etc. & shirts/sweatshirts) (twice the amount if your boy plays sports--they'll forget to turn in laundry some weeks)
    Bathrobe (some boys wear bathrobes?!)
    Shower Sandals (yes, they get athlete's foot in those shared showers!)
    Athletic shoes for PE
    Shoes that work well in mud/rain
    Cheap dress shoes
    Blazer and/or suit - nothing fancy (you can wait on this; he won't need right away, and maybe not at all!) (seems to be most needed for Spring teas/dinners)
    Athletic wear as needed (if he's playing a particular sport, you can get what he needs later)

    For the colder weather:
    Warm Scarves (don't pack too many; the more they have, the more they tend to lose)
    2 warm hats
    Two pair of gloves (1 waterproof)
    1 Pair of heavier snow boots (Bean Boots have worked great for my ds)
    Super-warm Winter Jacket (NorthFace, Columbia, LandsEnd, LLBean etc.)
    3 Pair of heavy duty thermal long underwear (not needed for my kid--but he's acclimated to cold!)
    2 Pair midweight long underwear (yes)
    Balaclava (optional)
    Waterproof insulated pull on pants (for snowball fights on the lawn) (optional!)

    BEDDING
    They supply basic flat sheets, blanket a couple of basic towels and a pillow. You'll want your own stuff--especially fitted sheets!
    Bath Towels (2 - 4)* (just one)
    1 beach towel
    Wash Cloths (4) (some boys use washcloths?!)
    Comforter/Bedspread/Duvet/Blanket (one from home can help with homesickness)
    Pillow(s) (see homesickness comment)
    Fitted Sheets Sets (XL Twin) + Pillowcases
    Zippered Mattress cover (recommend!!)
    Bed Topper (tempurpedic, eggcrate, etc.) (absolute necessity!)
    Bolster pillows to sit up in bed with

    APPLIANCE-TYPE ITEMS
    Computer & Printer & all necessary cables (note: you may want to enroll in a cloud back up service, just in case)
    Possibly a lock for his computer? Depends on the dorm sitch.
    Graphing Calculator (TI-89)
    Telephone (there is a line to the dorm, but my son has NEVER used it, and unplugged it. You may not need it if your son has a reliable cellphone) (mine uses his fairly frequently--at first, he seemed to get quite a few calls on it from people at school who didn't have a cell)
    Reliable, Loud Alarm Clock (unless he's happy with his phone for waking him)
    Fans (it's HOT in the Fall and there's no a/c; plus sometimes it's nice to get the air moving in the winter)
    Humidifier (if he's sensitive to the dry air and heat in the winter)
    Lamps, Desk Lamp (the rooms tend to be a little dark)--(can often be bought used at the school second-hand store)
    Reading light for bed

    TOILETRIES
    Shower Tote (or shaving kit--more manly :-) )
    Hairbrush/comb
    Shampoo/Conditioner (the boys tend to like the all-in-one)
    Emergency Kit, to keep in Room: Nail Clipper, Neosporin, Bandaids, Advil, Allergy Med, Tums, etc.)
    Toothbrush/paste/etc.
    Face wash, acne med, etc.
    Microshaver (for quick touch ups)
    Electric shaver (or razor) if your son has a full beard.

    OTHER STUFF
    Reusable Water Bottle (Exeter is a green campus; you can't get plastic disposable water bottles there)
    Backpack
    School Supplies - you can pick up some stuff before school begins, but he'll know better what he needs once he gets into his classes. Most everything he'd need is available at the campus bookstore; other stuff can be ordered online or picked up at Walgreens, etc. (note: kids on scholarship will find that their book funding will adequately cover all supplies as well, from pencils to notebooks)
    Underbed Storage totes
    Dry-erase board/bulletin board (if helpful)
    No-Mar Wall tapes for hanging stuff
    Toolkit
    Rug for in front of the bed (especially if room isn't carpeted)
    Nightstand/table (better with drawers--more storage) (we made this a short file cabinet)
    Hangers (they do get shirts back on hangers, but he may want a few of his own that aren't wire)
    Clothes hamper
    Desk Chair (one is provided, but it's pretty hard and stiff. not a necessity unless this bugs you!)
    Garbage bags (some are provided, but these seem to always come in handy)
    Cube Cubbie storage/cheap shelves (as needed)
    Clothing Labels (for clothes and all belongings, just in case!) (order this summer: Labeldaddy.com is good; the labels are stickon, and stay on)
    Over the door hooks (but wait until you get there)
    powdered Gatorade/drink mix

    DO NOT BRING:
    (anything with any significant wattage will overwhelm the electrical systems in the dorms, and can also be fire hazards)
    Electric Heaters
    Halogen lamps
    Hotpot/hotplate
    Refrigerator
    Iron/Ironing Board
    Microwave
    Trashcan
    TV
    Toaster
    edited May 2013
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  • 2prepMom2prepMom 19 replies0 discussionsRegistered User New Member
    A weird detail for those seeking a mini-fridge. You may not have a mini-fridge in your room, but you may have an "electric cooler" which is a low-wattage inexpensive device that keeps cold drinks cold and looks like a cooler but plugs in to a regular electric outlet (or an adapter for a car charger for future use other than Exeter).

    It came in handy for my daughter, but it has to be cleaned carefully, and definitely before storage - she discovered that the hard way after she forgot some juice and stored it over the summer.

    Can be ordered from Amazon.
    edited May 2013
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  • PA-CPA-C 2 replies0 discussionsRegistered User New Member
    ^ Make sure you don't need an adapter to use your electric cooler. We purchased one for our son from Walmart for about 100 dollars but then had to run out and look for an adapter to plug it into a regular outlet. I think finally we had to order the adapter online.
    edited May 2013
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  • classicalmamaclassicalmama 17 replies0 discussionsRegistered User Junior Member
    My kid has managed okay without an electric cooler. He just uses a water bottle and powdered drink mix--gatorade or emergen-c. It would have been handy for prescriptions that needed to be refrigerated.

    Keep in mind that anything you buy must be stored in the summer or taken home. The kids get two good sized plastic containers to store stuff in the dorm, and FA kids can store two other items in the FA barn.
    edited May 2013
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  • 2prepMom2prepMom 19 replies0 discussionsRegistered User New Member
    There are also summer self-storage facilities in Exeter town, and at least one one that picks up and delivers.
    edited May 2013
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