What Should I Consider When Packing for College?

A Kaminsky
A Kaminsky
College students should remember to include the basics when packing for college.
College students should remember to include the basics when packing for college.

So you’re the chick planning on leaving the nest soon? Going away to college? Wondering what you can pack and how it will all fit in the dorm room? Thousands of students face the same dilemma every fall. Packing for college is a simultaneously exciting and frustrating job. There’s an exhilaration about packing to go away, and annoyance that you can’t take everything with you.

A checklist of necessary college items may help students better prepare for school life.
A checklist of necessary college items may help students better prepare for school life.

The first thing a student needs to remember is space -- or the lack thereof. Most dorm rooms are not large and a student will do well to consider this when packing for college. Many stores will begin stocking items meant for dorm and student apartment living in the summer, and they are worth a look. Also, getting the measurements of the room will assist in buying items like small rugs, or desks, if the room does not provide a study area. What items can serve a dual purpose? For instance, storage crates can double as seats or table tops. Think stackable and portable when packing for college.

Winter clothes should be packed for college.
Winter clothes should be packed for college.

Clothing is another issue when packing for college. The amount the student will need may depend largely on how often he or she will be able to come home. If a visit before winter is possible, he can probably get by with taking jeans, shirts and a light jacket for cool days. If not, she will have to pack winter clothes, as well. Washable is another watchword. Most college students don’t have the money to take everything to the dry cleaners, so they must have clothing that is largely machine-washable, and preferably, doesn’t need much ironing.

Space is at a premium in college dorms, so students should bring only what they need.
Space is at a premium in college dorms, so students should bring only what they need.

When packing for college, a student has to consider basic necessities. A student will ideally need two sheet sets for a twin bed, pillowcases, some kind of bedspread, quilt or comforter, pillows, towels, washcloths and other odds and ends unique to dorm life, such as a dry erase message board for the door, a bucket for shower essentials, shower shoes, etc. Personal items such as posters can also be packed, but be considerate of the space available and leave a place for your roommate to put up things, too. Bring your CD player or other music media, but make sure it fits in the available space. The same is true for a computer, although a laptop presents a much smaller problem than a desktop.

It's much easier to transport a laptop to college than a desktop computer.
It's much easier to transport a laptop to college than a desktop computer.

Make a list of what you must bring from home and what can be purchased in the city where you will live. This will help narrow down the packing list, although the family car is still likely to be packed to the ceiling with your stuff. Keeping the room size and your roommate’s needs in mind will help ease the job of packing for college.

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    • College students should remember to include the basics when packing for college.
      College students should remember to include the basics when packing for college.
    • A checklist of necessary college items may help students better prepare for school life.
      A checklist of necessary college items may help students better prepare for school life.
    • Winter clothes should be packed for college.
      Winter clothes should be packed for college.
    • Space is at a premium in college dorms, so students should bring only what they need.
      Space is at a premium in college dorms, so students should bring only what they need.
    • It's much easier to transport a laptop to college than a desktop computer.
      It's much easier to transport a laptop to college than a desktop computer.
    • It is important to remember that most dorm rooms do not allow for much personal space.
      It is important to remember that most dorm rooms do not allow for much personal space.
    • Tape should be used to make sure boxes are securely closed.
      Tape should be used to make sure boxes are securely closed.
    • When packing for college, a person shouldn't forget washcloths and towels.
      When packing for college, a person shouldn't forget washcloths and towels.
    • An alarm clock can come in handy when going away to college.
      An alarm clock can come in handy when going away to college.
    • A laptop computer presents a much smaller problem than a desktop model when packing for college.
      A laptop computer presents a much smaller problem than a desktop model when packing for college.