Common College Packing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Flickr user Lance Fisher

As you get ready for your upcoming freshman year, the summer months are the time when you should be starting to decide just what you want to bring with you to college. However, packing is one of the areas where freshmen make the most mistakes. Here are some of the more common errors and how you can avoid them:

Packing Too Much

This is by far one of the biggest mistakes freshmen make. Overestimation will lead to extremely cramped dorm rooms, something your roommate will not appreciate and an aspect that can become equally frustrating for you as you search for things you need. Many students bring too many clothes, too many books, or just trinkets that aren’t really needed at college.

Keep the decorations for your desk or dresser at home. Bring only a few of your favorite books and you don’t need your entire collection of materials for your hobbies. Think carefully on how you will want to spend your time when you’re not in class, studying, or hanging out with friends.

Packing Too Little

In the same vein, another mistake freshmen tend to make when it comes to packing is bringing too little. You want to be clear on just how much clothing you will need before you will have the opportunity to do laundry. You may be expected to clean the bathroom as well, depending on your dorm type, so you don’t want to forget those supplies.

Free time is also something to consider. Don’t ignore it. Make sure you bring books, video games, or other hobbies. Although you absolutely want to spend a majority of your time on your studies, that doesn’t mean you don’t get time for yourself.

Forgetting the Essentials

Similar to packing too little, it’s easy to overlook the “essentials” when you’re packing. You’re busy thinking about what you need to bring to fill free time or clothes you’ll want to wear or what school supplies you’ll need that you forget about all those little things you use in a day.

These essentials you’re forgetting could include blankets, toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo, towels, hangers, tape, first aid kit, broom, garbage bags, cleaning supplies, a lamp, bed sheets, hair brush, and more. If you’re not quite sure on what you’ll need, ask your parents for advice.

One of the easiest ways to avoid all three of these packing mistakes is to make a list. During the summer months, start writing down what you’ll need. Start with the essentials and then work your way to your needs and wants. Consider school supplies, cleaning materials, clothes, hobbies, and more. Also take into account the size of your dorm. How much space do you really have?

Even if you end up packing a little too much or too little, you will learn from your mistakes. At the end of your first semester, take inventory. What didn’t you use? What did you need that you were missing? You’ll know what you will need to bring (or bring home) after your winter vacation from any errors you made!

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Hilary Cairns

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