Packing for college can be a stressful, uncertain time in a lot of young people’s lives. I remember when I packed for college for the first time, and I was SO overwhelmed. Honestly, I didn’t know where to start, I didn’t know how much to take, and I worried about how much I would end up lugging onto campus that first day. I had major anxiety about the whole packing situation. I remember having a faint idea of how I wanted my room to look, but I was more or less just hoping I didn’t forget anything, which is funny considering I was only moving three hours away, and if I really needed something, my parents could either bring it to me or ship it to me. Anyway, my mom and I slowly shopped for all my dorm stuff. I ordered some bedding from PB Teen’s dorm bedding bundle line. I also went off the Bed, Bath, and Beyond shopping list for college students. So, long story short, I had everything I needed my first year, and then some. After my first year, I really figured out exactly what I needed, what I actually used, and how much stuff I could leave home and have my parents bring me later. I do appreciate, however, the experience of over-packing because it’s turned me into somewhat of a pro college packer.
Packing for college is simple, once you get into a routine of what you need each year. There are hundreds of lists out there that outline what you’ll need, but the reality is that packing depends on the person. The list I’m going to provide below is one that includes items for different aspects of living that I take with me every year. I never leave home without the following items. Packing for college the right way includes four fundamental principles.
Ask yourself, “Do I use this everyday?”
If the answer is no, the follow up question whether or not you use the item in question a a majority of the time. If the answer is yes, pack it. If the answer is no, leave it home. You want items that won’t collect dust somewhere under your bed throughout the year that you only ever see on move in and move out.
Keep winter clothes to a minimum, and switch them out closer to the season change
If you live close to home, leave most winter clothes home. Maybe pack a jacket, sweatshirt, and jeans, but not your entire winter wardrobe. When you go home for Thanksgiving or winter break, switch out those shorts and tanks for pants and cable-knits. If you live farther from home, but plan to go home for the holidays, I would recommend taking the same approach. If you live far away, and don’t plan to go home frequently, I would recommend putting all your winter clothes you’ll want eventually in a specific place, and have your parents ship them to you closer to the winter months. You can then ship them your warm weather clothes. Dorm closet space is super limited, so unless you have a minimalist wardrobe, it’s going to make your room cramped to have all your clothes with you at once.
Keep a checklist close by
Keeping track of everything you need to purchase and pack for college can be difficult. So, I recommend having two checklists: one to keep with you as you buy things, and one to keep with you as you starting putting things in boxes. Note: If you’re taking under-bed storage, or bins, or anything that will stay in your room, use it to pack things so you cut down how much you actually have to pack in a car. Okay, so make sure as you buy something, it’s checked off, and as you put an item in a box, it’s checked off.
You’ll forget something, but it’s okay
Resist the urge to over-pack by reminding yourself that if you forget something, it can be sent to you or replaced once you get to campus. A lot of people are so scared to forget something that they pack everything. While this may seem like a good tactic, it’s really not. So many of my residents show up on move in with boxes and boxes of their stuff, and then are completely shocked when they finally key-in to their room for the first time, and realize how much space they have to work with. Keep the amount of stuff down by accepting forgetting something is normal, and totally okay.
Below is my simplified list of what to pack for college. As I said before, this list includes items that I use daily or at least weekly. In the study section, I recommend personalizing it to some degree. If you only use legal pads, and never use notebooks, then don’t pack notebooks. This might seem obvious, but I wasn’t sure what study method worked best for me when I left for college my first year, so I kind of over-packed school supplies in order to figure it out when classes started.
I hope this makes college packing easier for you! Let me know if you have any packing questions.