Packing for College
Heather Knobel, Colgate Class of 2022
Congratulations, you are off to college! No more school work for the summer, no more ACT or SAT prep, and no more college applications. But wait…you need to pack first. Just because the college process caused a great deal of stress does not mean that the packing process has to be stressful too. Here are some tips to figure out how to separate your wants from your needs.
Make a list of the essentials:
Before you make your own list, check in with Residential Life. Go online or give them a call because most colleges post a suggested college packing list. They can also answer lots of questions ranging from “can I loft my bed?” to “Can I use an extension cord?” to “Should I buy or rent a refrigerator?”
Bed Bath and Beyond and Target also offer suggested packing lists for many schools. If your school isn’t available don’t worry! Check out social media for pages dedicated to students and/or parents. Using the search bar, you may be able to get your questions answered and even see photos of the dorm rooms posted by students and parents.
Lastly, ask around. One of the best things you can do is to ask current or former students exactly what they used and what they did not need.
Buy more of what you need and less of what you want:
Once you gather the lists as suggested above, compare them and type up your own, keeping your eye on the basics. Take stock of what you already own before you buy new. Remember, you can always add stuff later.
No matter where you go to school, the room is going to be small, and you are likely sharing the space with someone who has as much if not more stuff than you do. Be selective. There are lots of things you will want to bring but consider bringing the things you will really need.
Coordinate with the people you’re living with:
If you end up having a roommate or suitemates, make sure to check in with them before getting to campus. There are lots of things like a refrigerator, microwave, vacuum cleaner, mirror, and more that can be shared between everyone. There are also items that can be purchased and/or rented together so costs can be divided.
The seasons change and so do activities:
Consider the weather and seasons of the place in which your school is located. Are you able to pack for one season at a time? If so, think about swapping clothes out over breaks. This will save you lots of space both in the suitcase and in your drawers at school.
Just like the seasons, some activities you might want to participate in will change. Check in with the school to see what equipment can be borrowed.
Pack light, stay organized, and save space:
You will likely be moving your stuff in with the help of family and/or other students. Pack in plastic bins that protect your goods from water and dirt and can be re-used to organize the stuff in your room/under your bed. Instead of using bubble wrap or other packing materials, consider wrapping fragile items in sheets, towels, or clothes. This will likely save space and money.
It’s okay if you forget something at home:
This is probably up there as your biggest worry just after “does my room look cute.” Forgetting something back home should not be something to worry about because there is always Amazon to ship it to you, stores in or around town, or new friends that can help you out.
I packed everything I thought I would need at school: clothes, shoes, sheets, shampoo, fun wall décor, but somehow, I forgot a hairbrush. It was not something I needed to fret about since one of my new friends had an extra and let me have it!
Don’t worry if you make the perfect packing list and leave something behind. There is always a way to get it to you.
Move-in day will be here before you know it. Know that there are no bad decisions. Even if your family tells you that your room isn’t organized right, keep in mind that it’s your room and you can move things around when they are gone. Happy Packing!