College Packing Tips

Packing up your stuff for college is a long, confusing, tiring process. You really can't do it all at once, but if you spread it all out for too long, you forget what you have and haven't packed. Luckily, I've prepared some tips to help you along the way!


Write a list of things you need to pack. This helps you keep track of what you will need to track down in your house and what you need to buy. I recommend putting things into categories so that it's easier to work through. You can see the list I made of things you should bring to college. It is the most comprehensive list I could come up with, excluding clothes. I like to make a separate list for clothing/shoes/accessories. Also, have two copies if you make a hard copy-- one for shopping, and one for packing.

Figure out what you already have. Save yourself some money and look and see what you already have. You may find that there's more stuff crossed off your list than you thought. Cross things off your list and set them aside. Make sure you remember where things are-- after all, what good is finding it if you forget where it is?

Check out your school's housing agreement. These will contain information on what is and isn't allowed. Some things aren't allowed in dorms at certain schools. At William and Mary, extension cords aren't allowed, but power strips are. There are also restrictions on the size and dimensions of mini-fridges. This kind of information is important to know before purchasing or even bringing down disallowed items.

Communicate with your roommate. There are some things that it might be easier to share amongst your roommates. If you need a vacuum, printer, fridge, microwave, or iron, it may not make sense to have two of these things in your room. When you find out who your roommate is, reach out to them and ask them about their preferences and what they can bring. I also like to coordinate with my roommate furniture items and colors. If you're rooming with someone you've never met before, it's a good idea to break the ice and get a feel for what their boundaries are and how they hope to live in your shared room, and it's not a bad idea to let them know how you feel about things either.

Printables for packing by Dre Lynn

When you begin packing, stay organized. Group similar items together. Keep track of what you have and haven't packed and where you packed them. I like using an excel sheet on my computer, combined with more visual elements in the real world. Check out these adorable free packing printables from Dre Lynn. The free downloadable PDF includes an index page, and 8 quarter page box context labels.

Save space! Pack things as compactly as you can! Put socks in shoes, odd shaped items in your waste bin, and maximize your car space. You may want to consider a roof rack. Don't pack for the entire semester either. Remember, you'll be back home for Thanksgiving and the holidays, so hold off on non-essentials and cold weather clothes.

I hope you all found that helpful. You can also check out my article on HerCampus W&M about a smart shopping technique that can help you save money when crossing things off your college shopping list.

Do you have any tips for packing or shopping? Comment below!
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