The summer will be over before you know it, and parents across the country will be moving their teens into their college dorms.

If you’re one of those parents, you’re probably looking for all the help you can get to prepare for the big move. Here, parents who’ve been through the freshman move share what they wish they knew before they helped their kid move into college.

1. Check Out Pickup Services at Local Stores

Maria Leonard Olsen, mom, and author of 50 After 50: Reframing the Next Chapter of Your Life, recommends taking advantage of services that some stores offer to college students. “I found out after the fact that some stores, like Bed Bath & Beyond, have services where you can order online or at your local store and pick up your order at the store closest to the college. You’ll save on baggage fees if you’re flying to the college, and it’s generally just less of a hassle.”

2. Document What Your Child Brought

Olsen also recommends taking a tally of what your child is bringing into a roommate situation. This is especially important if everyone is contributing shared items like kitchenware, rugs, lamps, and furniture. She says, “It’s helpful to photograph or record whose items are whose, so during move-out there’s less confusion.”

3. Make Carrying as Easy as Possible

Mother of two Jenny Jedeikin says, “Many dorms don’t have elevators, and it’s hard to walk up and down stairs with heavy boxes balanced precariously on your hip. Big black garbage bags filled with clothes are much easier to sling over your shoulder to carry and easier to discard later.”

For items that you have to box, avoid filling your boxes to the brim and making them too heavy. Remember, you’re the one doing the lifting during this move. You also might want to bring your own wheeled bins or a dolly. Many schools do supply them, but there’s no guarantee one will be available when you pull up to campus. Wheeling your kid’s stuff from the parking lot to the dorm is much more preferable to carrying every single box, bag and mini fridge separately.

4. Prepare to Shop

Jedeikin also recommends that you plan for a shopping excursion. “After you unpack, you’re going to realize everything you forgot or didn’t know you needed. Make sure you have an idea of where the big-box stores are located.” She also suggests parents bring the actual list of dorm rules with them when they shop. “Many dorms have rules for precisely which hooks you have to buy to not ding up the walls.” After an exhausting day, it’s going to be hard to remember those kinds of details.

5. Pack Food

You might have plans to have a fun lunch and explore life around the campus that day, but Jedeikin advises you not count on it. “There will be way more to do than you expect, and it will be easier to just take a 10-minute lunch break and continue working through the day. You can go out to dinner later and really celebrate.”

6. Figure Out Health Care Providers

Dad and author Nathaniel Turner found out the hard way the importance of knowing your health care options. “We had a few experiences where the cost of medical care was extraordinarily expensive because the care our son received was outside the network. So I definitely recommend finding the health care professionals who will be covered before an emergency comes up. [I] wish I had done that from day one.” After you do this research and before move-in day, set aside time to explain your insurance coverage and best options to your kid.

7. Choose a National Bank

Consider a national bank for your child’s student banking. While credit unions and local banks are an option, Turner brings up a good point: “Choosing a national bank allowed us easier access to help manage my son’s finances, like depositing money from a distance. It was also a great tool for keeping track of his spending.”

8. Remember to Take Care of Yourself

This day is hard both emotionally and physically. Olsen wishes she had prepared more for the taxing nature of it all. “Moving is recognized as one of life’s greatest stressors, and this has the added stress of your child leaving the nest. Practice self-care so you can stay calm and centered—for yourself as well as for your child.”

No matter how much you prepare, there will always be something you didn’t think of, but following these tips will help make a hectic day go just a little bit smoother.

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