Lists for packing for college are everywhere (I have one of my own!), but sometimes what you need is for someone to let you know not only what to pack but also how to pack. This post should give you some great tips from my experience of packing for school!
DO’S of Packing for College
1. Start Early and Plan Ahead of Time
This may seem like a total cliche as well as obvious, but personally, I am a procrastinator. When I first got accepted into school I was SUPER excited. I started pulling out things that I wouldn’t need for the year, but I knew that I would need for my dorm. This was great, except as time went on it just sat there & sat there.
I would go through phases of being excited and wanting to pack, but when it came down to it, I waited until the week (really the day) before I left to finish packing. This is so STRESSFUL.
So my personal recommendation is truly start early and stick to it. Obviously there are things like clothes that you can’t pack until later, but as for everything else, I would say try to get it figured out about a month in advance. You will thank yourself later.
2. Actually Make a Packing List
Now I’m starting to sound like a mom, aren’t I? Well I promise that this is a lifesaver! When starting to make my list, I took to Pinterest; there are so many lists out there, so I took some time going through them & compiling the things that I needed onto a list of my own.
This list was on my computer as well as my phone, so anywhere that I went, I had it with me. This helped a lot when it came to figuring out what I needed to purchase. At any moment, I could pick something up and cross it off of my list.
Make categories on your list to make it easier too! Anything from “Dorm Decor” to “Clothes” to “Storage”. From there, determine what you need to buy & what you already have.
3. Organize Organize Organize
I am a big organizer, so I don’t know if this was just me, but this was the most fun part about packing. I tried to group all of my items together in categories like “Clothes”, “Kitchen Supplies”, “Bathroom”, and “Decor”.
This made is SO easy when I moved in to do things area by area. Another organization thing that recommend is hanging all of your clothes at home, tie them together, and put a large garbage bag around it to protect them. That way, when you get to school, all you have to do is hang it up & take the bag off!
4. Communicate with Your Roomie
I cannot stress enough how important this is! You should get to know your roommate; if not for the fact that you are going to be living together for an entire year, reach out simply about your dorm room!
There is no use in both of you buying a Keurig, toaster, or rug because you really don’t need two of those things. Along with that, if you have any interest in coordinating your room, you should communicate about that too!
My roomie and I started talking a while before school and started to plan. We picked a color palette (we know that we are extra, but we don’t care), determined who was going to buy the dehumidifier/air purifier, as well as other items. We also shared costs by buying 2 of certain things. I bought 2 of the shelves for above our beds and she bought 2 wooden boards with our initials; this way, we were able to match without the hassle of figuring out where the other bought the items.
5. Practice Packing Before Move In Day
This was not my idea and honestly, when my mom brought it up, I thought it was stupid (sorry mom, I love you), but after we did it, I realized that it was really smart. Once all of my stuff was mostly packed up, we practiced putting it all in the car.
This is especially important if you are going to school further away where it doesn’t make sense to take multiple trips; for me, this was essential since I was driving 14 hours to school. By putting it all in the car, you can make sure it will fit, so you aren’t scrambling the day of trying to condense and determine what you don’t need to bring.
DON’TS of Packing for College
1. Don’t Bring All of the Clothes that You Own
This was personally very hard for me. I thought that I would wear all of the clothes that I owned, but I was beyond wrong.
College is not high school; there is no reason to “dress to impress” for class. 95% of the time, you will wear t-shirts & shorts (or sweatshirts & leggings, climate depending). I promise that you will not wear all of your cute shirts, so PLEASE don’t bring them all. I brought about 30 shirts to school: 18 t-shirts and 12 regular ones. Along with that, I brought about 5 dresses, all of my athletic shorts, 3 pairs of shorts, & a few skirts.
Don’t ask me for shoe recommendations though, because internally I know that I brought too many shoes, but I am still convinced that I will need all of those…oops.
2. Don’t Wreck Your Room
Obviously, there are costs involved in this, but to your best financial ability, don’t touch the items in your room. Yes, bring your clothes, but besides that, try to leave things where they are. Instead of taking your bedside table, go thrifting and look for one or buy one new if you are able.
The reason that I think that this is important is because when you come home for breaks, you will most likely want to FEEL like you are home & your room is a big part of that. You don’t want to come home to a half empty room & just feel wrong. So leave things where they are & have two places that feel like home.
3. Don’t Pack for the Whole Year
Try to plan what you are bringing to school based upon when you will come home for breaks. There is no reason to bring clothes that you won’t need until the spring semester until you come home for winter break!
If you are going far away for school, make one of the bags that you bring a small, carry-on suitcase. This way, you have something to pack clothes in if you want to take them home & exchange them for others to bring back.
4. Don’t Leave Spaces Unfilled
When packing for school, there is a lot of stuff that you have to bring, and too make it all fit, I have one major suggestion: fill every space.
T-shirts are going to be the best packing tool that you have. Whenever there is open space in a box, bag, or even in between shelves, fill it with t-shirts or other clothes. This way, you are maximizing every opportunity to bring items with you. This will save you money on packing materials, as well as available space in your car.
Basically, when you go about packing, be smart! Don’t overpack, and really think about what you are doing and what you need for school. You will truly thank yourself later if you plan ahead!