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Packing for College: What's Necessary and What's Not

by Jackie Heath on Aug 3, 2016
Moving someone off to college? Here's a quick list of what's necessary, and what really isn't.

college student deskYour first impulse when packing up and heading out to college will probably be to include all those creature comforts you’re sure you can’t do without. Sure, you’ve heard space will be limited, but you still need clothes to wear and books to read, right?

Not necessarily. If you’re like most new college students, chances are, there’s quite a bit you can do without.

What to Pack for College

Although every college is different (and your packing list will vary depending on whether you’ll be staying in a dorm room or apartment), almost everyone considers these items a necessity:

> Mattress/bed (assuming one is not provided)
>  Sheets and bedding for the bed
>  
Pillows 
>  
Computer
>  
Power strip/cords
>  
Lamp
>  
Alarm Clock
>  
Garbage Can
>  
Showering accessories (including towels)
>  
Daily toiletries
>  
Weather-specific clothing (note the weather-specific designation; for many students, it’s best to keep a closet rotation that allows you to store your seasonal items at home when not in use)
>  
Hangers 
>  
Wall décor
>  
Music/headphones
>  
Laundry basket or bag
>  
First-aid kit

Of course, not all of these items have to be purchased in advance and put onto the moving truck. If space is limited, you may want to make a list of items to bring with you from home and a separate list of items you can buy once you arrive. A last-minute trip to the drugstore can usually provide you with everything you need to get settled in.

What Not to Pack for College

More important that what to pack for college is what not to pack. These items tend to be bulky, heavy, or not relevant—which means that not only will they crowd your room, but you’ll pay more for the moving van, as well.

>  Air conditioner
>  Printer (the campus should have plenty)
>  
Cooking appliances (with the possible exception of a microwave and/or mini fridge)
>  
Stuffed animals
>  
High value items, including jewelry
>  
Books (with the exception of a few favorites and/or a well-stocked e-reader)
>  
Furniture other than a bed and desk chair
>  
Off-season sporting equipment (like skis during summer or a bicycle in winter)
>  
Bookcases and shelves
>  
Weight-lifting equipment

We also recommend not bringing things like school supplies, as you may not be sure what you need until you arrive and attend a few classes first. 

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