Tips for Packing

Posted by in Arriving at College

honda-stuffed-5207700-lPacking for college can be stressful and time consuming, but it can also be fun! It is not unlike packing for vacation or a trip to grandma’s house. It’s just this time you’re packing to move! For some people it could be the first time, for others it could be the tenth. But regardless of your circumstance, for most college-bound students it’s the first move away from home. That being said, many new things will need to be purchased prior to heading off to college. This blog offers tips to hopefully not only help you save a few dollars, but also aid in your moving success.

One of my first tips for packing is to start with a list! Before you go to Bed, Bath and Beyond, Target, or whatever your store of choice is, have a plan in place for what you need. Back to school sales are great, but they can be tricky and make you believe you need extra stuff because they have signs that say “dorm style” or “a must have for college.” One way to avoid these advertising ploys is to ask a story employee if they have the official packing list for your university or college.  These packing lists will tell you the things you really need to bring, possibly want, and can’t have in the dorms. Then after you’ve made your shopping list, do not feel pressured to buy everything at once. Look around at different stores and wait for special weekend sales. By making your list early, you will have an organized, mental concept of important items you need and will subconsciously keep an eye out for sales.

Obviously, when buying things for college you will need school supplies, clothes, sheets, towels, toiletries, and other general necessities. However, let’s discuss some of the less talked about items that you will want to bring and some of the not so important or overrated ones.

Here are a few of my personal recommendations on things you will want to bring that you might not have thought about:

  • Mattress Pad: Contrary to popular belief, a dorm-style twin bed can be made up to be very comfortable, but you must have the proper bedding. This is one of the most important items to bring because of how vital quality sleep is in college. Most department stores have a variety of different mattress pads with prices ranging from high to low depending on what you’re looking for. You will be thankful for listening to this tip, trust me.

  • Drying Rack: This is great for doing laundry in residential halls. That way you don’t have to leave your clothes in a community laundry room or all over your dorm furniture drying. They also come in handy as a place to hang your wet towel and washcloth after taking a shower as well as your wet swimsuit after a trip to the pool. You can find these at stores like Target and Walmart.

  • Towel Wrap: For girls, towel wraps are a must. This is one of the best items I’ve owned in college. It is great for going to and from the shower as well as getting dressed with your roommate in the dorm room. Most stores selling back-to-college apparel and supplies will have these.

  • I.D. Wallet: You will always need your school I.D. card for things on campus and having it accessible will be a huge time saver.

  • Plastic Containers/Tubs: These are great for dry food items and are perfect for keeping all the extra stuff that doesn’t fit in your drawers organized and out of sight by storing them under your bed.

  • Bed Risers: To piggyback off of keeping things organized, bed risers will help create more storage space under your bed and keep the things you don’t use every day out of the way.

  • Vacuum or Broom: Whether you have hardwood floors or carpet, you will need one of these. Unlike at home, you and your roommate are both living out of one room and you will be shocked at how dirty the floor will become.

There are plenty of things you will not think about until you get to school, but thinking out of the box and using websites like Pinterest or other blogs for useful packing ideas and tips will definitely help.

Something else which students typically stress about having prior to the semester starting are textbooks. You can always buy or rent your textbooks online through your university’s official student bookstore and have them either delivered to you through the mail or set aside for store pickup. Many books can be rented through your school at a nice discounted price, which is a great way to save money. Also, be aware that lots of campuses will only promote their official store yet have multiple other bookstores nearby with often lower prices. So look around and find out if you can rent books or buy used copies for a better deal at at all the different bookstore options.

Now let’s talk about a few not-so-needed items. Typically on college campuses, printers are everywhere: computer labs, the library, classrooms, etc. So buying a new printer is not a must. If you prefer having a printer available to you in your dorm or apartment than go ahead and buy one, but I found buying a printer was a waste of money and space. With free printing available, why not use it? Other items to be sure and check with your school about before buying are mini-fringes and microwaves. Some schools provide these to their on-campus residents, and if your school does, great! Less stuff you need to buy.

Getting ready for college is a new and exciting experience. By figuring out the essentials and starting with a list, you are bound to save both money and time. Don’t be scared to ask around and find out what to bring and what not to bring to school. College is a learning experience, and while you will learn as you go, it is nice to have a few guidelines to get you off to a great start.