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10 Essential Tips on Packing for and Moving to College

By following a few quick tips, going off to college can be easy and hassle-free

By Jessica Walker Boehm on July 8, 2014

10 Essential Tips on Packing for and Moving to College

1. Ask questions.

Find out what, if anything, your dorm will come with (typically, at least a bed and a desk are provided). This helps you determine what you’ll need and prevents you from buying or bringing things you don’t need. You’ll also want to find out if your dorm has communal bathrooms and showers – if so, grab some shower shoes and a bathrobe! – and find out if any items aren’t allowed in the dorms.

2. Start early.

Put things in a specified area as you acquire them so that everything is in one place – not scattered around the house. Think: Graduation gifts, storage containers, school supplies.

3. Make a list.

A few weeks before you move, go through a typical day and write down the things you use (toiletries, phone charger, etc). Also, be sure to review a packing checklist from your college, if available, or use online resources to find a checklist, such as www.collegepackinglist.com.

4. Don’t overpack.

Dorms are usually pretty small, so you’ll want to keep clutter to a minimum. Bring the essentials first, then see what you want/need as you get used to your new space and routine.

5. Reach out.

Tale to your roommate(s) and see what common items you need – TV, coffee maker, microwave – and discuss who can bring what. This saves money and reduces the likelihood of showing up with duplicates.

6. Think seasonal.

Small closets and minimal storage space mean you probably won’t want to bring your entire wardrobe to school. Consider only packing the clothes you’ll need for the fall, and swap them out for winter apparel when you go home for Thanksgiving or Christmas. The same thing applies for the spring semester – swap heavy coats and boots for light jackets and sandals during your spring break.

7. Bring simple tools.

Want to hang your favorite posters without damaging walls? Removable adhesive strips may be your new best friend. If you need to put anything together, a screwdriver would be a good idea, and you can’t go wrong with a multi-tool.

8. Separate your must-haves.

Put your pajamas, toothbrush and other must-have items in a special box or bag so they’re in easy reach. This comes in handy when you’re exhausted from that first (and very busy) day!

9. Recruit helpers.

Ask your parents and/or friends to help you with the move. If you’re lucky, your college will have students helping out, but that’s not guaranteed. Plus, it will feel good to have familiar faces around as you unpack and get settled – and they can help with the heavy lifting.

10. Take a break.

Moving can be stressful, so remember to take breaks as you unpack. Go for a walk around campus or grab a bite to eat – just get out of the dorm for a little while. Chances are, you’ll be refreshed and ready to continue setting up your space when you return.

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