"How to pack for college"

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-26-1999
"How to pack for college"
Sun, 08-19-2012 - 11:32pm

Saw this article in my local newspaper this morning, thought it had some good info, especially since it was advice from college students! 


As the summer days wind down, high school graduates of the class of 2012 are starting to stress about packing for college and preparing for dorm life.

What should I take with me? What should I leave behind? Is it better to underpack or overpack?

Start early

"Once you get closer to starting school, everything kind of disappears (from store shelves) because everyone else is shopping, too."

"By the time I started, I felt like a lot of the stuff I wanted was already in other people's dorm rooms."

Space limitations

"If you have two pairs of shoes that are similar, leave one behind."

"Leave behind your big furniture. I brought two bookshelves that took up so much space, and I didn't even end up using them."

Drop the sentiment

"You have to face when something is garbage. If you're attached to a scrap of an old project, get over it and put it in the trash where it belongs."

"Don't bring things like yearbooks, because they carry a lot of weight -- not only physically, but also memories that will weigh you down. You came here for a new experience and a new life -- there's no room for longing for old times."

Consider the weather

"I was definitely underprepared for Colorado winters. I didn't expect the weather to change so fast."

"I brought my entire closet with me, and then I realized that I didn't need all the warm clothes because it really doesn't get cold in Southern California."

Skip the luxuries

"Don't be afraid to leave things at home and have your parents send them to you later if you need them."

"Take less than you think you'll need, because every school will have a Target or a drugstore nearby."

Take these things

From the voices of experience, here is a list of things you definitely will need:

    • Laptop
    • Organizers/storage boxes
    • Air freshener (Febreze). "You never know if you're going to have a smelly roommate," Estrada says, "or if he's going to invite his smelly friends to hang out in your room."
    • Full-length mirror
    • iPod
    • Noise-cancelling headphones
    • Earplugs."In case your roommate snores or your neighbors party all night," Jarvis says.
    • Shower shoes
    • Shower caddy
    • Printer
    • Alarm clock
    • Longboard, bike or scooter. "Sometimes you need a quick way to get to class when you're running late," Wible says, "and you don't want to be that kid who always asks to borrow people's bikes or longboards."
    • Extra school supplies
    • Water filter
    • Water bottle
    • Vitamins and snacks
    • Big pillow. "It's nice to have something to lean on when you're watching TV on your laptop in bed," Ting says.
    • A few of your favorite movies
    • Fan and space heater
    • Batteries. "I was so used to having all those little amenities at home," Ashton says. "Those small things turn into a big deal when you don't have them at your fingertips anymore."
    • Nail clippers and tweezers
    • Lint roller
    • Fabric softener
    • Overnight bag
    • Clay. "It's the easiest way to hang pictures and posters," Ting says, "because you can't stick thumbtacks in the walls."
    • Professional clothing for interviews
    • Rain boots and umbrella
    • An open mind


                        Calmama54, from the beautiful

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-19-2006
Mon, 08-20-2012 - 8:46am
Wow, my son hardly took any of this stuff. The first year we encouraged him to pack as if he were going to camp except that he should also bring clothes for the winter. He went to school with two checked bags and a carry on - and that included a small TV and his laptop. I purchased bedding and towels via amazon and they were waiting in the mail room. His dad took him shopping when he got there and he got toiletries, a folding chair, a lamp and some school supplies. I guess we are minimalists. Robin
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-07-2004
Mon, 08-20-2012 - 9:06am
My daughter took alot of that stuff (we never saw a list, just thought about what she used at home). She definitely didn't pay any attention to the suggestion of leaving a similar pair of shoes at home! It seems like every year she goes back with more stuff. I have to remind myself that she has a full kitchen in her dorm room, so alot of what is packed in the car is food to stock the kitchen and kitchen stuff.
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Mon, 08-20-2012 - 12:16pm

I laugh about the shoes.  My DD is the type to go on vacation for a week & have to bring 7 pairs of shoes--cause you never know what shoes you will want to wear.