What to Bring to College: Your Complete Guide to College Packing
Moving into your first college dorm is an exciting experience. But it also comes with the added stress of packing the right supplies and bringing them all to campus.
If this is your first time living on your own, you probably have a million thoughts running through your mind about the entire college packing process.
What do I have to bring? What is my roommate already bringing? What’s the best way to pack my supplies? How do I make the moving process as easy as possible?
Well, it’s your lucky day.
There are many tried and true strategies to making the whole process of moving into your first dorm room a little bit easier.
In this guide, we’ll be overviewing the entire college packing process. From the initial step of purchasing the right supplies to moving into your dorm and decorating before classes officially start.
The biggest mistake that first-time college students make is bringing too much. For one, think about all the items you use daily and even from time to time.
Now picture storing all those items in a room that’s less than 130 square feet. Then, split that in half if you’re sharing your space with a roommate.
Simply put, there’s absolutely no way that you can bring everything you want and still have an organized and comfortable bedroom.
With that said, here are some items you’ll definitely need to bring.
Decor & Styles
This is probably what you’re looking forward to the most about going back to school. Decorating your new room to fit your personality and style.
What to Bring to College for Convenience
These are the items that will make your day-to-day life much easier or somewhat more comfortable. These items can make you feel a bit more at home in your new room.
*Alarm clocks seem dated now, but the truth is your cell phone can be unreliable as an alarm. The battery might drain overnight, it might be on vibrate mode, it’s easy to hit “stop” instead of “snooze,” etc.
What to Pack for Daily Living
These are things you absolutely need to bring. These items should be the first things you make sure you pack.
Cleaning & Bathroom Needs
You’re on your own now. That means it’s up to you to keep your room clean and provide your personal toiletries.
Don’t forget to bring a good pair of nail clippers, either!
Think about where your college is in terms of weather and temperature. Pick clothes that will protect you from the elements, but also be comfortable enough to sit through a three-hour lecture.
Last but not least, the primary reason you’re here. If you buy these items at the right time of year, you can get incredible discounts and save some cash.
Looking for a list that’s a bit more specific? Check out our Ultimate College Packing List for Guys.
Buying dorm room essentials is perhaps the most exciting part of going to college. You’ll want to fill cart after cart with brand new supplies to help decorate your space and make it perfect.
But you shouldn’t splurge on new items just yet.
While there are many supplies and items you’ll want to buy new, there are a few items you ought to hold off on buying. By bringing your supplies strategically, you can cut down on time, effort, and money spent.
What to Bring From Home
We recommend that you bring most items from home, but only the bare essentials.
Here are the most important things you should already be packing.
These are things you know you need. Though you might want to buy more of these items once you move in, having these items will leave you prepared come the first day of classes.
So, what else is there?
What to Buy AFTER Moving In
There are certain items that you shouldn’t buy until you officially move into your new room.
If you’re living in a dorm room with a roommate, you may have never met. That means you don’t know what they’re already bringing. The last thing you want is to waste space by having two of the same item — especially if it’s large.
On that same note, you don’t know what’ll actually fit into your room until move-in day. Once you and your roommate have both moved in, you can decide together what will fit and what won’t.
Here are some items you’ll want to hold off on buying until after you move in.
By living with another person, you need to take their thoughts into consideration. You’ll need to decide together which electronics you want to share.
Note: You may find out that your new roomie snores. Don’t despair — buy a reliable brand of earplugs!
The packing process is the most tedious step of moving into college. Not only do you have to physically pack your supplies, but you also need to think ahead to the moving process.
Think about it this way.
Everything you pack, you need to bring with you.
That means somebody will have to carry your suitcases, containers, and boxes to your room. After that, you’ll need to unpack all your supplies and organize them in your place.
If you want to make the moving process smoother, you need to pack strategically. That means only bringing the necessities and using the most efficient packing strategies.
Choosing What to Bring
The best way to decide what to bring is by taking note of what items you use on a daily basis.
Here’s how you can do that.
Over the course of a week, jot down the items you use throughout each day. Also, mark how many times per day or days per week, you actually use them.
At the end of the week, look at which items you use daily, every few days, or weekly. This can help you break down the things you need vs. the items you want to bring.
You can even rank the items in order of how often you use them.
Decide how many boxes or suitcases you plan to bring and pack the daily items first. With whatever space remains in your boxes, start adding the additional items in the order they’re on the list.
Speaking of moving, here are 7+ Clever Places to Find Free Moving Boxes.
Best Packing Strategies
Besides packing the necessities first, you need to figure out how many boxes or suitcases you plan to bring and what will actually fit in your new room.
Here are the best ways of packing efficiently.
By packing efficiently, you can help to speed up the moving process and get settled in well before classes start.
Now that you’re packed and ready to go, it’s time to plan out the details of the big move. There are a few things you need to think about.
The biggest thing?
How much help you’ll be getting.
By recruiting more people to help you move in, you can transport your supplies more efficiently and speed up the whole moving process.
However, if you’ll be moving into your dorm room alone, it’s still possible to tackle the moving process pretty quickly.
Transporting Your Supplies
If you pack smart, you should only need one trip to get all your supplies to campus. You should only really need one car, SUV, or pickup truck to transport your supplies.
Take a look at these tips for packing the car and transporting your supplies to campus.
If you follow these tips, it should be smooth sailing once you get to campus.
Speeding Up the Moving Process
The best way to speed up the moving process is by getting more people to help. With fewer trips up the stairs or in the elevator, you can get all your supplies in your room within a few hours.
Here are some more pieces of advice.
Once you have everything moved in, take a break before you begin to unpack. You’ll be extremely tired, and you might want to settle in a bit first.
Once everything’s moved in, you can finally begin to unpack and get settled in.
If this is your first time on your own, it’s exciting to be able to decorate your room however you want.
There are plenty of common decoration styles to pick from. There are even strategies to help you maximize space and get the most out of your dorm room.
Take a look.
Common Decor Items
We all have our own preferences when it comes to decorations. There may be rules about what you can do when it comes to your new dorm room. Here are a few everyday decor items you can bring to spice up your room without damaging the walls.
There are plenty of decorative items you can bring to help design your room the way you like it. These can make you feel as if you’re at home and make you a tad more comfortable in your new environment.
You’re going to be living in this space for almost a year. You might as well make the most of it.
If you’re sharing space with a roommate, you’re going to be extremely limited when it comes to square footage. You’ll want to make every effort to organize your room to maximize the space you do have.
Here’s how you can do that.
By working to save space, you can add more entertainment and convenience items to enhance your dorm living experience.
Becoming a college student and moving into your first college dorm is a life-changing experience. But, there are ways to make the process a little less hectic and a bit more enjoyable.
These are the most important things you need to remember:
We hope you make good use of this college packing list and congratulations on graduating high school!