As a freshman in college, I feel that I am vastly unprepared for the craziness that is college living. I have lived in many different places with a lot of different people, and I have become quite the packer (not to brag). However, I have never had to pack like this. Now I have to worry about dishes and cleaning supplies as well as clothes and shoes. These are some of the tips I have learned along the way from other college students and from my own experiences.
Lists, lists, lists
You may think "why do I need a list? I know what I have and what I need.: But actually, you do not. Like I said , packing is not just shoes, clothes and hair products. You are making a new home and you have a lot that you will need to get for this home. There are so many little things that one does not think about until they see it on a list. For example, a tool kit. Seems like something you don't need, right? Well what happens when you can't put together that new organizer you got for under your bed because you don't have a hammer? Now you have to waste time getting a hammer and screwdriver when you could be on to organizing your closet. Speaking of closets, when you are deciding which dresses and other items to take, it is good to list them out to see if you need any more or if you have everything. We are human so we make silly mistakes. You don't want to go to college and realize you forgot your underwear, do you? If you put it on a list, you won't have to find out.
Most schools provide some type of list for things you can and cannot have in a dorm. Things like fairy lights and desk chairs are things that some schools allow but others do not. When you see them on a list, you can remember it all. Go to your schools website or search for the list online. And, checking things off of a list makes you feel more prepared. You just know that you've got it all, no need to stress more than you have to.
Look for good dealsFile:Back-to-school sale at Wal-Mart, Newburgh, NY.jpg - Wikimedia ...
College is expensive. We hear it all the time. From books to dorm rooms, it feels like all we're doing is shelling out cash for all these things. It seems endless. Especially now, when everything is so uncertain and no one know what is actually going to happen when the college kids go back. No one knows if we will even stay on campus for long. So, it is imperative that we save money whenever possible.
Use the list I know you made and search for deals on the college essentials. You can find coupons at many stores for things like razors, hair care, hygiene, and cosmetics. There are also sales for back to school that reduce the prices of larger items like electronics. You should also check around your house to make sure that you aren't re-buying something you may already have.
Good places to look for the essentials as well as decor could be Target, Walmart, Staples, Best Buy, Office Depot, Bed Bath & Beyond, or Home Sense. They all have good sales and can have reasonably priced items.
Only pack the essentialsFile:Minimalist Packing List.jpg - Wikimedia Commons
No, your five pairs of converse that are pretty much the same do not count as must-packs. Just pick your favorite pair or two pairs if you have the room. Take the time to really consider the things you are taking. Decide what you need and what you don't. What will make you feel your best and also be a practical item. Lists make this easier because when you see everything written down, you might realize that you don't need as much of something or you might need more.
Get the dimensions of your room/optimize your spaceFile:Escalante Dorm Room.jpg - Wikimedia Commons
Optimizing space is important. Before you even consider what things you need, look up the space you are working with. Find out what you have to work with. Some rooms have desks, some don't. Some have closets, the weird ones don't. This helps when picking out things like carpet. How much floor space needs to be covered? Do you have a roommate who might also use the carpet, too?
If you know what is in the room, you can also figure out what storage you should bring. If you don't have a closet, you might bring hanging racks or under the bed storage bins. You should also see what your roommate (if you have one) is bringing. One of you can bring the mini fridge, the other can bring the microwave and carpet. It is beneficial to communicate with one another so that you both don't bring the same things and take up your already cramped space.
Storage is key
Like I said, dorm rooms do not have a lot of space to work with. they are like shoe boxes. So, picking good storage containers that will save space as well as look nice, is important. A good recommendation to add more storage to your room is to loft your bed if you can. If you do, there is more space under the bed to put storage cubes or other types of bins.
Things like space saver bags from Ikea are also great. They are better than cardboard boxes because hey are more durable, more spacious, and easy to fold up and use again. Also, when transporting, it is easier to take some things out of the packaging and combine them before you leave. For example; makeup can all go in to one space and the new things can be removed from the more bulky packaging.
Fold clothes properlyUnsplash
There are so many ways to fold your clothes. Some people don't even get that far and just cram their clothes into a suitcase or box. this is not an effective or practical method. There is a lot of empty space that could be used when we just cram clothes into bags.
One easy way to put your clothes in is to roll them up. For most shirts (long or short sleeved) you can place the shirt flat, fold the sleeves and edges of the shirt in to a rectangle with whatever width you like and then roll from the top (tightly and keeping the fabric that has not been rolled yet as flat as possible). Pants are easier; fold them in half and make them flat, then roll (tightly) from the top of the pants to the bottom. Underwear are similar as are dresses or skirts.
There are other ways that work, but I have found that the rolling method saves the most space when I pack.
We don't know much about the future right now. Us college students are being cheated out of a lot. But we can make the best of it. Packing properly can reduce some of the stress of getting to college and if you have packed well, it should be easier for you to pack again when it is time to leave. whether that be at normal time or a moments notice.