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Tips for Packing for College

Updated on January 9, 2016

College is exciting, but it is also hard to plan for. It can all seem so overwhelming, especially if you are the first of your family to go to college or even the first of your siblings to go to college.

Packing for college shouldn't be a hassle. Just keep a few things in mind as you go about it.

Plan your Clothing

College closets range in size. Some are very small, while others take up a lot of space. Try to learn ahead of time how big your closet will be, and whether or not it has shelves or hooks on the inside. This information can influence how much clothing you bring with you.

To plan your clothing, you need to know how often you will be going home. If you won't be going home again until Christmas and you live somewhere cold, you will want to bring your winter coat and boots with you on move-in day. If you will be going home every other weekend, you can wait to bring such things. I personally go home about every three weeks, so I only brought summer clothes and a few sets of warm clothes with me on move-in day to save space. I then brought home all of my summer clothes as it got warmer and brought my winter clothes to school.

Some schools provide you with a wardrobe and a dresser. Know if you have a dresser beforehand. If you do not, bring extra shelving to place inside of your wardrobe. This will allow you to organize your underwear, socks, and other clothing pieces that can't be hung up.

If you get to school and you realize that you have brought to many clothes, bins are your friend. Use storage bins to store clothing that you won't be using right away under your bed. Or, if your parents brought you to college, send some of the clothing back home with them to swap out the next time you visit home.


Buy School Supplies Ahead of Time

In case you don't know, bookstores on campus are expensive. Before you leave home, buy all of your school supplies for the semester, including your backpack. Pack your school supplies in your backpack, making it easy to bring everything there and saving you money in the long run.

It is also smart to buy your textbooks before you get to school. You can often find the textbooks that you need cheaper on Amazon or other sites than at your school's bookstore. However, if you prefer to buy from the bookstore, I recommend purchasing them ahead of your arrival and picking them up on move-in day. This will take a lot of hassle out of your move-in day, as you won't have to worry about buying textbooks while you are trying to unpack.

Bins are your Friends

Like me, you are probably planning on bringing a plethora of storage bins of various sizes with you to college. This is a good plan. Not only will these bins help you to store things in your dorm room, but they also help you to pack things. Pack smaller items in these bins to save space in your car and make carrying them to your dorm room easier.

If you get to college and have too many bins (there is no such thing, but we will pretend there is), you stack them inside of each other, send them home with your family, or loan them to a floor-mate who didn't think to bring extra storage.


Music and Movies

Music and movies are lifesavers in college, so it is important to know how to pack the most while taking up the least amount of space. Instead of keeping your DVDs and CDs in their covers, buy a DVD case to put all of the discs in. This way, you don't have to lug around a big bin full of movie covers.

To make this step even more fun, I printed out the pictures of the movie covers to put behind all of my discs so that I would put them back in the right place every time. Of course, I love to organize things, so this isn't necessary.

Overall, don't be too worried about over or under packing. It won't be too big of a deal if you forget your hair straightener or garbage bags. Most likely, someone on your floor will have some that you can borrow.

This rule applies for everything except underwear. Bring a lot of underwear. Your laundry money will thank me.

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