No one has ever claimed that packing for college is easy. Between digging through all of your sentimental keepsakes, to deciding which practical items you’ll need while away from home, it can be tempting to just pack up your entire bedroom and call it a day. Though we can’t actually pack for you, we are here to share our advice for making the packing process run as seamlessly as possible. Before you start loading every last possession into the back of your parents’ cars, take a few minutes to check out the following guide.
Plus, don’t miss our Ultimate College Checklist – get your printable copy below!
Once you’ve taken a look, keep reading for more tips & insights into what you think you need, versus what you actually need. Then, share your own recommendations in the comments!
What You Think You Need
Every Possible Article of Clothing You Own: Less is more! As we mentioned above, you’re working with a small space. Pack clothes you wear regularly and leave out anything that “might-be-nice-to-possibly-have-one-day-if-I’m-feeling-up-to-it.” Keep seasons in mind as well! If you’ll be home for Fall Break, plan to swap your shorts and flip flops for your sweaters and heavy coats then. Are you going to a school where it’s warm year-round? Don’t bother with anything too heavy at all.
Your Entire Shoe Collection: We have two words for you: dorm closet. Have you seen one? Let’s just say…no one ever complains that theirs is too large. There’s a good chance you’ll have to share yours as well (*gasp*). Pick and choose a few pairs you wear frequently and leave the lime green pair you bought for Halloween two years ago behind. You’ll be happy to have the extra space!
Your Extensive Stash of Movies/Books/Video Games: Choose a few of your absolute favorites and leave the rest at home (hello, Winter Break!). Dorm life is all about socializing with your new floor mates, so don’t lock yourself away with the TV. Looking for a new book to read? That’s what the library is for.
All of Your Sentimental Items: Sure, you’ll definitely want to bring a piece of home with you when you head off to college for the first time. What you don’t want is to take up your entire side of the room with an array of precious family heirlooms or giant stuffed animals from your childhood. Pick a few small items to bring with you and keep your loved ones close by having their pictures nearby. Dorm decor with sentimental value? Win-win.
Enough Cookware and Cutlery to Stock a Small Kitchen: There’s a good chance your new room won’t have actual appliances, so leave the 24-piece cookware set at home. Keep a small set of utensils and microwave-safe dishes for basic dorm cooking, but keep the high-speed mixer with Mom and Dad. Most likely, it will just gather dust and take up space.
What You Actually Need
A Mini Toolkit: No, we don’t expect you to become some sort of Bob the Builder handyman, but you’d be surprised at how often a toolkit will come in handy. A small hammer and a few screwdrivers could be the difference between easily setting up that bedside table and a total dorm room meltdown. Can we fix it? YES, WE CAN!
First Aid Kit/Basic Medicine: Paper cuts don’t stop happening just because you’ve gone off to college (if only…)! Come prepared for all of life’s minor ailments with a small stash of bandages, first aid creams, and general cough/headache medicines. You’ll be happy to have them on hand if you need them!
Extra Storage: Stock up on a few great organizers to add some extra storage to your small space. Look for under-the-bed boxes and properly sized closet organizers to help you keep everything sorted. Don’t go overboard, however, or you’ll end up bringing extra things just to fill your new plastic drawers!
Command Hooks: Need to hang your necklaces up above your dresser? No problem. Forgot to buy a hook to hang your jackets on? You got it. Need to hang a picture frame? Easily done! Okay, you get the point. These hooks are any dorm-dweller’s best friend and are great for both decor and organization. The best part is that they are easily removed at the end of the year without causing any damage to your dorm wall. Add them to your list ASAP!
Mini Vacuum: Don’t get stuck with a dirty, crumb-filled carpet (*shudders*). Add a small, handheld vacuum (or a midsize one for more power) to your packing list! They’re inexpensive and can be easily stashed under your bed. You’ll thank us later.
Was there anything we missed? Send us a tweet @BNcollege and let us know or post a comment below!
Check out our Ultimate Back-to-Campus Packing list – everything you need for the new term! Download it here.