Going off to live at college is an exciting time in a young person’s life. You’ll be leaving your parents’ home and potentially moving to a new city or town that is across the country or even the world, venturing into the next phase of your life.
You will likely be moving into a shared dorm room or apartment that’s smaller than what you’re used to.
To make the moving process smoother, it’s helpful to think about how you’ll be getting yourself and all of your things to school as well as connect with your school and roommates ahead of time so that you don’t bring any unnecessary or prohibited items.
Below are a few initial things to think about before you even begin your packing journey:
The way in which you plan to get yourself and your personal items to school will influence what and how you pack.
If you’re moving from far away, it will likely be more cost-effective to purchase larger items, such as storage containers, near school versus shipping them a long distance.
Given the fact that dorm rooms tend to be on the smaller side, it’s important to think about how you can maximize your space and determine what items can be left at home.
Staying organized and utilizing items, such as cube organizers, shoe racks, containers, space-saving hangers and command strip hooks, can offer additional storage and help you maximize space. You may also be able to use the space under your bed to store large, bulky items or even to tuck a small shelving unit underneath.
If you’ll be returning home through the year or between semesters, you might want to leave out of season clothes, such as bulky jackets or sweaters, at home and swap them out when the time comes. Also, if someone won’t be able to take your large suitcases back home with them, it may be helpful to move with recyclable boxes instead.
Some residence halls have more to offer than others. For example, some have full kitchens on every floor. If this is a case, you may not find it’s necessary to have a personal fridge or microwave in your room. Plus, some schools prohibit these items (see commonly prohibited items).
You’ll also want to consider the bathroom situation in your dorm. Many freshman college dorm rooms don’t have their own bathrooms. If this is the case, you won't need to bring bathroom cleaning supplies, but you will probably want to bring a shower caddy to carry all of your toiletries to and from the bathroom as well as some shower shoes.
Not only is it just nice to get to know your new roommate before moving in together, but it’s also helpful to be able to have a conversation about what items you are each planning to bring to college. There are some items, such as rugs or TVs, that you likely won’t need or want more than one of.
Most schools ban items that are potential fire hazards. It’s important to check with your specific school, but here are some commonly banned items:
Don’t forget to pack items that will make you feel comfortable in your new space. Throw pillows, decor from your room at home and pictures of friends and family can help feel more at ease and make the transition less stressful.
Packing for college can be a stressful and strenuous process. However, if you give yourself enough time and go about it strategically, you can make the process less overwhelming and more enjoyable.
Although you may very well come across the infamous streaker or two, college is a place where you still do need clothes. With so many different events and activities happening on college campuses, it’s important to pack the appropriate attire.
You’ll want to bring clothes suitable for class, lounging, the gym or playing sports, going out with friends, formal events and business meetings or events. Clothes will probably make up a large portion of the items you need to pack, so it’s important to pack them in an efficient, organized fashion.
Similarly, you’ll need a variety of shoes for different activities happening on campus. Reusable grocery bags are a great way to transport shoes, and they can be easily stored unlike a large suitcase. Reusable duffle bags and cardboard boxes also work well for packing shoes.
Bedding and towels can be bulky items to pack, but they can also double as protective packaging products. Use your comforter and towels to protect fragile items and secure boxes.
Your sheets can be stuffed into a pillowcase, saving room in another bag. For extra towels, you’ll save space by rolling rather than folding them.
When going to pack up the car, you’ll want to load the heaviest items first so that they are on the bottom. Make sure to secure all loose items and not to accidentally bury essential items, such as your phone or license. Also, be sure that you don’t pack things so high that the driver’s visibility is impacted.
There are a number of essential items that you will need to pack for college in order to feel comfortable and at home. You’ll want to remember to pack bedding, enough clothing, school supplies, bath items, toiletries, storage items and products to keep your room clean. Print out the checklist below to help you remember all of the college dorm room essentials when packing.
Beyond the essential items that you’ll need to pack for college, there are some additional items that you may not have thought about bringing to school, but could later find yourself wanting. Here are a few examples of items that are often overlooked and forgotten:
Getting ready to move away from home is an exciting, but nerve-racking experience. By following these tips you can make packing for a college more fun and less stressful.