From piling it on the car top with tangles of bungee cords to overstuffing the backseat to attaching on a boat trailer, as my parents once did, there’s a lot of stuff to go with you.
Sometimes packing for college is viewed like packing for a trip. If only it were that simple. In reality, packing for college is packing for a move. When you come back home, it will be for a visit. For the next few years, home will be that college dorm or apartment.
If you take a bit of time to organize your packing, you’ll find the moving in phase to be much easier. Once you’ve done this, you’ll repeat these techniques as you change dorms, move to a sorority house, or an off-campus apartment. One given is that rarely does anyone stay in the same spot for the four or more years.
- Go through your clothes. If you didn’t wear it in high school, you aren’t going to wear it now. Only take what you wear.
- Pack your clothes on the hangers. You’ll be hanging them up when you arrive so there is absolutely no point in taking them off the hanger. Either hang them on a bar in the backseat, or place them on your opened blanket and wrap them into a bundle.
- Use your suitcase to pack your folded undies, t-shirts and socks. Only take one or two suitcases as you won’t have room to store more. You can use the suitcases for trips back home. If you have more things, put those in boxes which can be discarded later.
- Invest in some plastic filing crates available at office supply, big box or department stores. These make sturdy moving containers then make sturdy storage containers in the dorm or apartment. Turned on their side, they become shelving until used again for moving.
- Line up your crates and boxes. Pack by putting related items together. This makes it so easy to unpack. For example, put shoes in one, school supplies in one, kitchen items in another and so on. Keep sorting your items as you continue to pack.
- Coordinate with your roommate(s). You won’t want two microwaves or ironing boards. Discuss who will be responsible for providing what. It will make your life much easier. Consider splitting the list so that it is clear who owns which item rather than dividing the cost in two. If you divide the cost in two, then when you move, and it will happen, it will be awkward figuring out who owes who for which thing.
- If you don’t have a lot of room for packing and hauling, resist buying new things at home. Instead, pack what you already own and make a shopping list for the day you arrive at school. Pick up that rug, case of soda and TV stand when you arrive.
- Do consider some under-the-bed storage boxes to hold off-season clothing and sports equipment.
- Do ask “Where will I put this” for each item you pack. If you can’t picture where you will store that item, then don’t take it. The small dorm room will be even smaller when you move in.
- Make moving day easier by bringing moving-in tools: basic tools (hammer, pliers and screwdrivers), nails, tacks, duct tape, extension cords, power strips, flashlight and sticky putty. Wheels are especially great. Bring a dolly or rolling cart if you have someone coming with you that can haul it back home.
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