Going off to college is an exciting experience. You are leaving your home, friends, and family behind to start a new adult life and develop yourself as a person.
The first step of this adventure is moving your personal belongings into a dorm. This is a demanding chore, with many aspects to consider. Will you have enough space in the dorm room? What if you bring too many things, or, even worse, not enough things?
Luckily, there are some essential college packing tips to make the transition smoother. Let’s dive right into it.
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1. Decide on the Method of Transportation
Deciding on the method of moving your belongings is an excellent way to start the preparations. People usually move to college in their own cars or with their parents, as it’s a cheap and convenient way to do it.
But, if you’re unable to relocate this way for whatever reason, don’t sweat it – you can always find a small moving service to help you deliver your possessions safely to a college dorm.
2. Learn about Dorm Rules and Conditions
Inform yourself about items the dorm is equipped with to know what you’ll need to bring ahead of time. Your dormitory building may also prohibit certain appliances such as hot plates, space heaters, and extension cords for safety reasons.
You will likely find the necessary information on your university’s website. You can also contact the administration personnel via phone or e-mail a few weeks before moving.
3. Make a List of Essentials
Moving into a dorm is an exciting time, so it might take a lot of effort to keep track of what you need to bring. Naturally, you want to have as many essentials with you when you settle into your room. That way, instead of running around looking to buy the things you overlooked, you can use that time to explore the campus and meet new friends.
You can find many packing lists on official college websites to speed up your process. These lists usually include:
- Room and storage items (trash cans, drying rack for laundry, lamps, mini toolkits, sewing kits, etc.);
- Cleaning and laundry supplies (shampoos, soaps, detergents, napkins, mops)
- Linens and towels (bring as many sets as you can; hygiene is very important!);
- Kitchen items (dishes, cutlery, food containers, trash bags)
- Office and desk supplies;
- Electronics (laptop, PC, phone, charger, headphones);
- Appliances such as coffeemakers, microwaves, mini-fridges
- Multiple functional clothing options
Another great idea is to consult your older siblings or acquaintances who have already gone through the dorm living experience.
Most importantly, use your common sense. Think of all the essentials you already use in your life daily. You know yourself best, so you should know what you need. When push comes to shove, you can always buy any additional necessities. Also, visiting your parents is a great time to pick up any other items you forgot to bring.
4. Join Forces With Your Roommate
Get to know your roommate before moving in together and make a deal with them about the appliances each of you will bring to the dorm. As you probably know, college dorms are small living spaces, so finding ways to save some room is a great idea.
For example, your roommate can bring a mini-fridge, and you could get a microwave. You’ll have less stuff to pack, learn to share, and save some money and space. It’s a win-win!
5. Find Little Hacks to Ease the Process
Packing can be messy and hectic. Many people get carried away with the stress, making it even more challenging to pack and move effectively. Luckily, there are little ways to make this task more convenient:
- Use vacuum storage bags: You’ll save a lot of space in your car and closet and will be able to bring a lot more clothes and bedding than you usually would.
- Use boxes, bags, and bins with built-in handles: This will make it easier for you to move heavier items.
- Pack in cardboard boxes that can be broken down and recycled: This will save you a lot of space, and you will clean up the mess after you unpack faster.
- Pack similar items together: This will make it easier to unpack and save a lot of time.
- Use cardboard or plastic dividers: Some boxes and bins have built-in dividers, but you can also buy organizing grids separately and install them into your boxes and containers. This will make your load more organized, and smaller items won’t tangle or collide.
- When you load your car, pack efficiently by placing boxes with heavy items on the bottom and then stack boxes filled with soft items such as clothing on top.
- Label your boxes, so you’ll know exactly where everything is.
Finally, you can get creative and develop DIY solutions to make packing less stressful.
6. Protect Your Items
A typical packing mistake is forgetting to protect the items you are moving. Overlooking this step can lead to your possessions getting damaged on the road.
For protection, you can buy stretch wrap, bubble wrap, and styrofoam at any local home improvement store. Another option is to utilize things you already own. Find some old clothes, blankets, and newspapers and use them to wrap fragile items.
7. Get Help From Family and Friends
Every obligation becomes easier when you share the load with your loved ones. Involving your friends and family in the packing process can maximize efficiency and provide much-needed emotional support.
Your friends and family can also go on a road trip with you and help you unload your items at the dorm. Remember to keep a positive attitude and uplift others if it gets challenging. Treating your helpers with snacks, drinks, or a nice takeout meal can make the procedure even more fun.
8. Plan on How to Personalize the Space
Once you begin college, you might feel lonely since you’re far away from your family and hometown. You can find great comfort in personalizing your new space to reflect your personality and reminds you of loved ones back home. Remember to pack photographs and other items with sentimental value.
To make this new space more warm and comfortable, consider bringing decorative items, such as posters, lights, scented candles, and figurines.
Make the Most Out of Your College Preparations
Now that you have all the practical advice you need, you can avoid common freshman pitfalls and make moving to college and your new dorm a more enjoyable experience.
We wish you all the best on your journey!