Common Mistakes Students Make While Packing For Freshman Year of College

Here are some common mistakes people make while packing for their freshman year

Flickr user Martin Deutsch

It’s easy to make mistakes heading into college. Most of this will be new to you and possibly your family. Packing for your dorm the week before is easily one area, however, that freshman students regularly make mistakes. Here are some common errors you will want to try to avoid.


You know the feeling: You’re on the first day of vacation and you realize you forgot your toothbrush. It happens to everyone. The same thing can very easily happen when you’re on your way to college. You’re so used to having these items every day that you could forget you need to actually pack them.

Making a list is absolutely the best way to help prevent underpacking. Start a week or two or even a few weeks prior to your move in date. Write down the necessities, the items you use every day. You don’t have to think of everything that first day; other items will come to you as the days progress and you realize “I need that.”


Overpacking is just as easy as underpacking though it can’t be corrected by a simple run to the store. Overpacking can lead to a very cramped space for you and your roommate. It’s best to try to avoid this as soon as possible.

This mistake can also be avoided by making a list, but then checking it over. You will obviously want to bring the necessities, your hobbies, and other items. However, ensure you’re not bringing anything you absolutely don’t need. For example, you don’t need five sets of bedsheets. You will be doing laundry often and that will be taking up precious drawer space. Start by checking off the “must haves” and work your way down. Keep in mind how much space your dorm room actually has and start mentally planning where everything will go.

Bringing Banned Items

Some students forget to check the banned items list on the school’s website or paperwork. This is an extremely easy mistake to make as something you deem a “must have,” like an air conditioner, could be banned. Always double check your school’s specific list before packing up. Each college is different so an item that may be banned at your sibling’s or friend’s school may not be banned at yours.

Common items that are banned include pets, air conditioners, waterbeds, candles, toasters, hotplates, and extension cords.

Avoid mistakes by making a list

Most first-week packing mistakes for freshman year can absolutely be avoided by making a concise list of everything you need and want. However, don’t make the list once and leave it. You will want to go over each item and think “Do I really need this?” During your freshman year, you will learn from your mistakes as well. Did you have space for an item after all? Bring it next year or after winter break. Didn’t use this item at all your first year? Leave it at your parents’ house the following year.

We all learn from our mistakes, and that’s true for your freshman year packing list as well!

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