Packing for College

· School / College

By Guest Blogger Aviva Leshaw, McGill University Incoming Freshman

After working as Barbara’s intern for the past 3 years, I’ve definitely learned a few things about organizing.  In less than a week, I’m moving to Montreal for my freshman year at McGill University.  And, as my college move­-in day draws nearer, I’ve been packing and planning.  Here, I’ve shared my tips for college packing.

  1. Write your own packing list, rather than printing one from the internet. Online or store college packing lists are great for ideas, but these lists are geared to getting you to buy things you may not need (e.g., a magazine rack or an alarm clock). Put your own personal items on your list so you won’t forget them.
  2. As with any packing project, lay your clothes out on your bed before putting anything into the suitcase. You’ll have a clear view of what you have, and can remove what you don’t need.
  3. Start with your favorite clothing, the essentials of your wardrobe, and add from there. You might realize you don’t want or need much beyond the favorites.
  4. Roll rather than fold clothing. You may not have access to an iron when you get to school, so rolling individual articles of clothing not only takes up less space, but it’s also less likely to create wrinkles.
  5. Bring clothing that’s easily washable and not likely to need ironing.  Save your delicate hand wash blouse and dry clean only dress for when you’re home!
  6. If you’re going to a school in a city, bring sample sized shampoo, conditioner, and soap just to last the first few nights.  When you get there, you can purchase what you need. It’s not worth wasting space in your suitcase that could be used for clothing.
  7. Know which back­to­school purchases are worth the splurge and which are not. Plush pillows for restful sleep when you need it: splurge. Rubber shower flip flops: Old Navy, $2.50.
  8. Go shopping AFTER you pack. That way, you’ll only buy what you truly need.  You may realize after you’ve laid everything out that you only own five good pairs of socks, or a single hair band.
  9. Bring a Brother P Touch label maker! Use it to put your name on your belongings or for categorizing which boxes or drawers are for which items in your room. Don’t forget to label chargers and electronics!
  10. Consider bringing foldable boxes that fit at the bottom of a suitcase…or bins that can be used as underbed storage. You’ll need to maximize the storage space in your dorm!


Written by Barbara Reich · · School / College
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