Before you embark on the journey that is starting college, you have to tackle packing. Keep these tips in mind to avoid a fiasco.
Trains, planes, and automobiles
Your transportation to and from school will impact the way you pack. Driving to school gives you more freedom than flying, where you’re limited to checking bags or shipping your things. If you’re short on space in your car or carry on, consider buying things online and then shipping them to your dorm. If you have Amazon Prime, you can get free shipping, which can combat the cost of buying things at home then shipping them personally. You can also order things online and then arrange to pick them up at a store location near your college.
Related: 10 Things to Do Before Moving Out-of-State for College
Just like Santa, you need to make a list and check it twice. This prevents important items from being forgotten at home and sheds light on what still needs to be bought. Start packing in advance to make sure you have enough room in your car or suitcases. Keep things organized and labeled for easy unpacking. Putting the effort into packing early will reduce your stress come move-in day.
Related: A List of the Most Important Things to Bring to College
Reduce, reuse, recycle!
Parting with childhood mementos can be difficult, but you don’t need four piggy banks or 10 diaries. It’s important to go through your things and decide what’s necessary and what can be left behind.
Donate things you don’t need anymore. Go through your old school supplies and decide what can still be used and what needs to be thrown away. Also consider shopping at thrift stores to not only save money but to help the environment. Try for a minimalistic dorm room and pass on extra decorations and unneeded organizers. If you really need something, you can always buy it once you arrive on campus.
Communication is key
Most students will have one or more roommates. Communicating with them is essential to avoid accidentally bringing multiples of things such as microwaves and minifridges. There are many things you can share or split the cost of, such as printers, furniture, lamps, mirrors, rugs, and decorations.
If your school allows bed lofting, plan ahead with your roommate and decide if you want to move around desks or get a futon. If you’re sharing a private bathroom, arrange a cleaning schedule before you arrive.
Related: Q&A With Emily: How to Talk to Your New College Roommate
Know your room
The last thing you want to do is buy sheets for a full-size bed when your dorm room has a twin XL. Some dorms may provide a desk and a chair, though others only have a bed. If you’re living off campus, you might be furnishing everything yourself. Many schools also have rules about prohibited items such as pressure cookers, hot plates, and halogen light bulbs.
Take advantage of floor plans and dorm tours so you have a feeling for the size of your room before you arrive. It’s especially important to know what the college provides if you have a private bathroom. Some schools will give you toilet paper and hand soap, but others will leave everything up to you. Be prepared and do your research.
Related: Non-Standard Dorm Room Essentials
Dress for the season
If you don’t have much closet space (which you probably won’t), then only pack clothing for each specific season. Thanksgiving break is the perfect opportunity to go home with summer clothing and return to your dorm with winter wear. This also means making sure you know what clothing is necessary for the weather. If it rains all the time, make sure you have a good raincoat and boots before you arrive on campus.