Packing for College: Five Tips

by Caroline Goulet 

College is a big step. For most people, it’s the first time you are away from your parents, being totally independent. For me, as a freshman, this was a huge step. I had to pack everything I needed for a whole 10 months into one small car, keeping in mind that I’m in a triple bedroom and only getting a third of the already small room.

When I was preparing for college, I watched a million and one videos titled: “Dorm Room Shopping” or “Everything ALL Freshman Need to Know!” The problem with looking at a million blogs, lists and videos is that they are all individual to the student and the school they are attending. The amount of dorm room tours I have watched in my free time is vast, proving to me that all dorm rooms are not the same; they all have different amenities (if you want to call them that). 

That being said, I have picked up a few helpful tips for packing. 

1. Plan Accordingly for Weather

When I was packing for fall and winter, I figured I needed to pack everything because I thought I was not coming home until Christmas.

I was wrong! You will go back home (unless you live in a different state or across the country) and you will be able to bring stuff back to school. Don’t worry about December until it arrives.

2. Pick Out Everything You Need First

I did this by going through my whole wardrobe and laying out everything I could possibly need. As time went on, I picked stuff out that I knew I could live without before I packed everything away. 

3. Think Minimally

In most cases, you are getting half the space in the room. You don’t need half of the stuff that is in your room now, so try to think of the things you absolutely need before adding impulse objects. 

4. Decorating

You are moving your whole life to another place for the majority of the year; that does not mean you should listen to all the videos you watch. Keep it minimal. I would suggest bringing some cork boards and pictures of the people you love. Bring some cute knick knacks but don’t go overboard. If your school allows it, bring a tapestry or something that makes you feel happy. 

5. Multi-Use Object

When you’re buying things for your dorm, try to think about functionality. Buy a lamp that can also be a pencil holder. Buy the crates at Target to store things in. Be creative with the space you have. 

When packing for college, you have to think minimally and persist through the frustration. Packing for school may be difficult and tedious, but with these helpful tips you can make the whole process less intimidating.


A version of this post originally appeared in “Tenacity” The Teller October 2019 Issue #7

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