Heading off to college is one of the most exciting times in a young person’s life, and there’s a lot that needs to get done. No matter the institution and no matter the state, one of the first lessons you’ll learn happens before the first day of classes, and that’s how to pack up your belongings and make the long distance move to higher learning.
Get it Sorted
Every packing task begins with sorting things out. Just like with moving into a new house or apartment, it’s best to sort items into three piles: keep, give away and throw away. It can be difficult deciding what to keep, which is why it’s best to only keep items and clothing that have been used and worn in the last six months. While there’s always the possibility of the item or article of clothing being used in the future, your past habits are a good indicator of your future habits. For anything you have a truly hard time deciding whether to keep or give away, you can always ask your parents if it’s okay if you leave the item home while you decide.
Items that are to be given or thrown away should be handled first. This is a good time to think about having a garage or yard sale, if there’s time. If not, the items can be donated. The only items that should definitely be thrown away are those that are broken, ripped or chipped.
Plan for the Seasons
Familiarize yourself with the weather of the area in which your college or university is located. Doing so is a good way to determine how many jackets, pairs of shorts, heavy coats, thick socks and scarves to pack. It’s also best to pack clothes that can easily be mixed and matched, to keep from packing more items than absolutely necessary. Just like with sorting, packing for seasons should include only essential items that will be worn without a doubt.
Remember Items Can Be Bought Later
All notebooks, pens, backpacks and other school supplies as well as toiletries can be bought when you arrive on campus. While you’re checking the weather in your new location, check the sales there to see if any items you need will be available at a discounted price when you arrive. You want to make your move as easy as possible, yes, but there’s nothing wrong with saving some money at the same time.
Think About Bringing Your Academic Essentials
While you can buy some school supplies at your new destination, there are some items that are simply too expensive to buy again. Scientific calculators and any style guides or books that can’t be downloaded should be brought with you. You might want to check with your professors to see if you’ll actually need such items and if they’ll help you during the course of your studies, that way you won’t be packing things you don’t actually need.
Have Items Shipped to You
While you’re packing, think of items you won’t need for a few weeks or months. You can have these things shipped to you later on, but make sure you leave yourself room for them in your dorm room or apartment. Make sure you box these items up and leave instructions for your parents or friends for when you want the items shipped and how you want them shipped. If you ask your friends to take care of the shipping, you may also want to leave some money for fees.
Keep a Calendar Handy
It’s best that you use a calendar to keep your dates straight. Moving and packing has a way of skewing your sense of time, either making you think you have more or less time than you actually do. A quick glance at your wall calendar lets you know how many days you have to decide whether you want to take that poster of your childhood idol with you or find a new idol for college. Calendars are also a good way to keep yourself organized, a lesson you’ll want to start learning as soon as possible when you start college.
Take a Bit of Home With You
No matter how independent you are, you never know when a wave of homesickness will threaten to pull you under. Be sure you leave room for family pictures, mementos, contact information and anything else that reminds you of home and your family and friends. These items will help you to nest in your new space and can serve as an anchor during any hardships you might endure in the future.
Talk With Your Roommate
If you’re going to have a roommate, be sure you talk with him or her before you start packing to see if there are any items you can share. No matter if you’re moving into an apartment or dorm, your space will be limited, so it’s best that you only take what you absolutely need. Talking with your roommate can also help you both decide if there are any items you can go half and half on.
Utilize these packing tips to make the beginning of your college adventure a smooth success. Just make sure you’re on time for your first class.