Packing for College: What You Need for the First Year

By Staff

Congratulations on moving for college! Most likely, this will be your first time away from home. There is a lot involved with this type of move from locating moving companies to packing to gearing up to say goodbye to your friends and family members. You focus now should be about staying organized and making a checklist of what needs to be done. is here to help (at least with the packing side). Follow our packing for college guide to have all of the essentials for your big move.

1. Toiletries: Assess your medicine cabinet at your parent’s house to see what you can take with you. Of course you can purchase these items after you move into your dorm but if you have them at home it may be easier to just pack them. Make sure all your medications, soap, shampoo and conditioner, razors, etc. You will also need a caddy with all of your shower products. Since you will be sharing a bathroom you will need a caddy to hold of your shower items. You will also need a pair of flips flops for the communal shower.

2. Bedding: Make sure you bring two to three sheets, five to six towels, curtains and pillows. Since these items are heavy (especially the towels), make sure that you don’t over pack – don’t worry you will have enough and as part of the college experience you will be doing laundry more frequently.

3. Clothes: An obvious item to pack, but depending on where your new school is you may only need clothes for the summer season or clothes for the winter or all four seasons. Pack appropriately, but don’t over pack.

4School Supplies: College has certainly changed since we were there. Now laptops are used in lieu of notebooks; however, you should still pack pens, binders, post-its, etc. You should also look into obtaining a back-up drive to secure all of those papers that you will be writing.

5. Décor: In college you will not only frequent the bookstore to purchase textbooks but you may find yourself there to purchase the variety of posters and pictures to hang on your walls. Before you arrive, make sure that you pack pictures of your friends and family or any wall art that you may have. Having some familiar pieces of art will really warm up your room and make it feel as close to home as possible.

6. Storage: Dorm rooms are small (perhaps an understatement) but storage can really help you make the most of your tight space. Consider bringing some storage units such as an under bed storage bin or a bin that fits in your closest. You can store seasonal clothing items, books or anything that is taking up space.

7. Other: Laundry supplies, some mugs and dishwashing supplies are also advisable. You may also want to bring a hot pot for those infamous ramen noodle fests or a small coffee machine. A small alarm clock is also a good item to pack, however many cell phones have alarms on them making for a compact solution. You don’t want to go overboard and bring the kitchen sink but these essentials can make your day-today experiences a little easier.

8. More Tips:

  • You should also contact your new roommate if not to start the get-to-know-you phase but to coordinate what you both have. This will avoid the appearance of two TVs or two refrigerators to your already cramped living space.
  • Be sure that you have sufficient boxes from a reputable moving company or box company. We recommend going this route (rather than locating them on the street) because these boxes are specifically designed for moving meaning that they are stronger. They also come in a variety of sizes so you can order medium-sized moving boxes for your toiletries and wardrobe boxes for your clothes.

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