Packing for college can be both exciting and overwhelming. It takes careful planning and preparation to make sure you have access to everything you’re going to need. On the other hand, the limited amount of space available in most dorm rooms and college apartments means you’ll want to avoid taking items you won’t use regularly.
The following considerations
can be very helpful in developing a personalized packing plan for college.
Your mode of transportation can have a significant impact on your packing list.
If your main means of getting around is a bicycle consider bringing the following items:
If you’re going to be walking everywhere, here are some items you’ll probably want to bring along:
If you’re taking a car to college, it’s a good idea to bring along some basic maintenance and safety items (to be kept in the car) such as the following:
As you’re packing for college, think through weather changes over the course of the semester. Is it going to get really hot or really cold before the end of the term? If you plan on going home for long weekends and holidays consider taking out of season items with you to free up space in your room.
When planning for varying weather conditions it’s good to think in terms of layers. Multiple layers allow for flexibility. A single coat or jacket may be too warm in moderately cool weather but not warm enough in truly cold temperatures, leaving you either sweating or freezing except on those rare days which fall within the garment’s ‘sweet spot’. The following basic items are great for dealing with fluctuations in temperature:
If you are in an area with extreme cold weather and/or high levels of precipitation, be sure to include the following as you’re packing for college:
While most dorm
rooms and college apartments have a small desk, much of the time you are in
your room you’ll likely be sitting on your bed. A lot of student beds don’t
have headboards so I recommend a seated bed pillow like the one’s shown here
(available at Walmart).
Another purchase to consider when packing for college is a foam mattress topper. The reasoning behind this is twofold. Reason number one is that you have no idea how comfortable (or uncomfortable) your bed is going to be. It’s not likely to be top of the line.
The second reason for using a foam mattress topper is that no matter how comfortable your bed is, it is likely to have been used by any number of students before you which means it’s probably not in the most sanitary condition. With a mattress topper, you can be certain you are the only one who has slept on it.
Since mattress toppers are a bit of an expense and also rather bulky, you may want to wait until you get to school before deciding on whether or not to use one. If you decide to buy one in advance, be sure to check with your dorm or apartment complex as to what size you will need. Most college dorms use extra-long twin beds.
On a more personal note, comfortable shoes are a definite must. Even if you ride a bike or drive to campus you’re going to do a lot of walking between classes and elsewhere. Depending on how close you live to campus and how far apart your classes are, you could easily be walking five miles a day. Flats may be cute and fashionable, but they provide very little support for your feet when you’re tramping everywhere.
Speaking of shoes, many young ladies have extensive footwear collections. Think about space as you're packing for college before bringing the entire collection. Do you really need a set of high heels to match every outfit, or can you get by with a couple of versatile pairs?
When packing for college practicality should be an important consideration. Limited space means you’ll have to be discriminating about what to take and what to leave at home. Consider some of the following suggestions.
Whether you’re living off campus in a college apartment with 3-5 other students or bunking with a single roommate in the dorms on campus, your living arrangements should obviously be taken into consideration when packing for college.
Some colleges require freshmen to live on campus. They may even require freshman to purchase a campus meal plan. Even if this is the case, it’s a good idea to have a set of easy to rinse and reuse plastic ware for those occasions when you decide to order in or you just want to snack in your room.
If you’re living in an apartment, you’re going to need a basic set of dishes and cookware, but that’s all you need. It’s tempting to go out and buy all sorts of stuff to outfit your first apartment as you’re planning and packing for college, but it’s unnecessary and even unwise. Mom’s hand-me-downs will do just fine. Much of what you take with you will mysteriously disappear in an apartment full of roommates. What doesn’t disappear will take a great deal of abuse.
appliances (mini fridge, coffee maker, microwave, etc.) check with campus
housing or your apartment complex. Some
or all of these items may be provided. They may also be prohibited. Assuming
the items you wish to bring are allowed, the next step is to coordinate with
your roommate to see what he/she is bringing. It is a waste of space and money
to double up.
Packing for college requires a little planning, a little research, and a lot of discipline. While you will not be able to fit everything you own in your half of the dorm room, you will most likely not miss the excess stuff once you are settled into your new lifestyle.
If you liked this page, please share it on social media. Please leave me a quick comment as well in the section below. I'd love to hear from you!
Click here to return to Step-by-Step Declutter.