| Jul 29, 2014
It’s that time of year when thousands of new high school graduates are getting ready for their first year at college. By land, by sea, and by air, students are traveling hundreds of miles to get a quality education—and they’re bringing boxes and suitcases full of belongings with them.
Amid all the excitement and anxiety, it can be easy to forget just how little space you’ll have in your new dorm room or apartment. Although packing for college isn’t always easy, here are a few tips for making the most out of your experience.
DO know the rules in your dorm or apartment. Most dorm rooms have rules against open flames, cooking appliances, pets, and other potential hazards. Learn the rules ahead of time so you don’t make the mistake of packing up a microwave or hot plate they won’t let you keep in your room.
DON’T pack furniture unless you know you’ll have space. Dorm rooms almost never have space for anything but a bed and a desk—both of which are usually supplied. Furniture is the heaviest and most expensive thing to move, so know ahead of time if and where it will fit.
DO start early. Organization is your best tool in enjoying an easy transition, so start your shopping and packing during the summer months. Find a checklist of supplies (many colleges provide these to first-time students) and purchase one or two plastic tubs in which you need to make it all fit. You’ll have plenty of time to figure out the logistics that way.
DON’T overpack or worry about the small things. A toothbrush, shampoo, a lampshade that goes well with your new comforter, snack foods…all these things are important, yes, but they’re also going to be available in your new city. Plan on going shopping soon after you move in to pick up all those small items you forgot or didn’t want to bother packing.
DO use labels. For once, we don’t mean labels on the boxes (with things like “kitchen” or “toys”). Instead, put your name on items that might get mixed up with your roommate. It might seem silly to start writing your name on tape on everything, but you’ll appreciate it during the transition stage.
DON’T bring your winter gear just yet. Seasonal rotation is a must in a cramped dorm closet. Consider leaving your winter coats and heavy sweaters at home for the first few months. You can always swap out your clothes when you go home for a visit.
DO bring a comfort item or two. Although no one wants to believe they’ll be homesick on this grand new adventure, it’s common for students to feel a pang for the room and home they left behind. Bring a few posters or a stuffed animal that means something to you—the homier you can make your room feel, the better you’ll feel overall.
DON’T forget to thank your movers! It doesn’t matter if you relied on your parents, a few friends, or a professional moving company—always take a moment and thank them for helping you make this important transition to the next stage in your life.