Essential Packing Tips to Make Your College Move Easier

Packing for college can quickly become overwhelming, but it doesn't have to be! Simplify your life with this valuable advice that will save you on move-in day.

For many students, packing for college is a pretty big milestone—it’s a time to prepare yourself for a taste of true independence. Everything you’ve ever known lies with you in your home, so it’s tempting to want to bring everything: your clothes, those sentimental items from childhood, and especially your pets. Packing for college can easily take a turn from a fun activity to a scary, challenging task. The tips below can help you simplify your packing journey!

Make a list and check it twice

Something as monumental as moving out of your home and into a new one may seem like an impossible task. But really, the secret to managing everything is staying organized. You want to stick to the essentials: if you simply throw a bunch of different items in your suitcase that you decided you wanted in the moment, you’ll find that many items aren’t entirely necessary. You’ll end up regretting it if you overpack; more than six pairs of shoes will just take up space in your closet and won’t be worn. Making a list of all the items you need will help you rather than just shooting from the hip. If you’re still lost and are worried you may forget things, check out this ultimate packing list made by a current college student to help guide you.

Related: 10 Things Everyone Forgets to Pack for College

Label everything

With thousands of students packing their belongings in the same cardboard boxes as you, your box is bound to get mixed up if you happen to take a coffee break and set it down while unloading all your stuff. As stated above, staying organized is the best way to have the smoothest time without worrying about mixing up your stuff with the many other incoming freshmen like you. Using some painter’s tape and a sharpie, be sure to label each box with your name, dorm room, and phone number.

Some underrated but very useful dorm room essentials

When it comes to dorm room packing, often less is more. Ditch the ironing board or steamer and buy some Downy Wrinkle Eraser. Seriously, it’s a lifesaver; just spray some on a wrinkled shirt and poof—you have an unwrinkled shirt! Tide sticks are also small enough to fit anywhere and are perfect for removing stains. For more cleaning stuff, the extent of it should really be a handheld vacuum and Clorox—simple and efficient. Febreze will come in handy as well; you may smell like roses, but don’t forget that you will, in most cases, be rooming with someone else. Stacked hangers are also a must-bring because most students don’t get enough closet space in the dorms. If you’re the type of person who loves to snack throughout the day, pack easy, on-the-go stuff like Clif Bars, trail mix, fruit snacks, and more. If you love a warm cup of coffee or tea in the morning, a mini-Keurig is perfect for a dorm room as well. Lastly, extension cords are often not thought of but are so important and make your life a million times easier.

What not to bring

Getting carried away in all the excitement of packing, it’s much easier to think about what you want to bring, so here are a few items that can be left at home. First on the list: textbooks! Hauling large, cumbersome stacks of books is a waste of time and space, especially since you won’t need them on the first day of class. Wait until you’re absolutely sure that you’ll be using the books to buy them. They just add unnecessary weight and fill up space in your suitcase. Body pillows are another item that takes up space and often ends up going unused. With items like printers, feel free to bring them if you prefer your own; however, they take up a lot of valuable space on your desk and are expensive when you can always use the university’s printers. Lastly, just a rule of thumb if you can’t decide whether to bring an item or not: if you didn’t use it at home, it’s irreplaceable for sentimental reasons, or you really don’t want to lose it, don’t bring it to campus.

Related: The Key Categories of Packing for College

Although packing for college is a huge task to take on, don’t be stressed. If you simply incorporate a few of these tips, you’ll be set for having a successful move-in day!

Get a taste of what living on campus will be like with more advice in our Student Life section.

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About Maggie Chiappetta-Uberti

Maggie Chiappetta-Uberti

Although she's been able to embrace her love of writing as an editor of her school newspaper, Maggie Chiappetta-Uberti still jumps at every opportunity to write and is thrilled to share valuable information about the college process on CollegeXpress. Aside from her passion for writing, Maggie is a movie fanatic and loves the beach, listening to music, attempting to learn new languages, and baking with her sister (although she does more taste-testing than baking). Maggie is interested in going pre-med in college with hopes to work in the medical field someday.


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