Do you really need to bring that to college? How to save going back to school


On Labor Day weekend in the unloading area for large freshman dormitories, cars and SUV's will disgorge skyscrapers of "stuff:" Bed-in-a-bags, still in plastic, floor lamps, microwaves and cube refrigerators in factory-sealed boxes stacked on top of 24-packs of Poland Spring water. There will be computer laptops in leather carrying cases and more than a few flat screen television sets, miles of tee-shirts and jeans on matching hangers, huge suitcases, plastic bins and bags.

What was noteworthy - at least to this mother and son blogging team for WalletPop -- is how much was, as they say on eBay, mint in box.

In an economy where parents continue to see job losses and sharp declines in their assets, where students are graduating college (or worse, not graduating) with an average loan debt approaching $25,000 (not including credit card debt), we might wonder how much of what will be moved into dorms and student apartments in September is worth its price? How much will be left behind when students move out next spring? A lot.