How To Avoid Packing Too Much for Freshman Year of College

Red van loaded with packed boxes for freshman move-in day.

Flickr user Mike Mahaffie

As you enjoy the summer before your freshman year of college, you should also remember that there are a few things you need to be thinking about. One of those is “what to pack.” However, one of the big problems students make is packing too much. There are a few ways to avoid that.

Make a List

The first thing you should do during the summer is make a list of everything you want to bring to college. Add things as you think of them, but also remember the essentials (toothbrush, blanket, shampoo, etc). You can add as many things as you would like to this list over the next few weeks. Consider your hobbies, free time, and self care. Even if it’s something you’d slightly like to bring or are on the fence about, write it on the page. And don’t forget school supplies either.

Ask Your Parents

Your parents can be a great help when it comes to creating this list. They will absolutely think of things you may need that you completely forgot about. Cleaning supplies are often forgotten, especially if you’re staying in a suite style dorm. Or they can point out that you really wrote too much clothing down, as you can do laundry at your school.

However, keep your own interests in mind too. If you enjoy particular hobbies you’ll want to bring those too. Video games are a great example, but also keep moderation in mind. You don’t want to skip classes or homework to play them or participate in any other hobbies you may have. But you’ll have these items for when you really do have free time.

Look at Others’ Lists

If you had a sibling or a friend attend college before you, ask them what they brought and didn’t need. Question them also about what they didn’t bring and needed. They can provide a lot of insight into your own first semester at your new school. If they made the mistake of bringing too much, they’re the perfect people to ask.

Narrow It Down

Once you have a tentative list, it’s time to narrow it down. Before you start packing, take a close look at everything you wrote. Consider what your parents and others said. What did they think is absolutely needed and what did they end up not using? There are probably a few things you were on the fence about and you may realize you don’t need to bring ALL your painting supplies, all your favorite books, or every video game you own. You’ll absolutely have free time, but you won’t have time to do everything you enjoy in a single semester.

Packing too much is definitely one of the biggest mistakes students make as they get ready for their first semester of college. If you found, on move in day or later, that you still have to much even after narrowing it down, you’ll know exactly what you’ll need for future semesters.

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