Packing For Your First Semester Away At College: Seven Survival Tips

Going away to college is a big, exciting step in your life. But before you move into that dorm room, first you have to pack your things! It can be hard to find that delicate balance between bringing everything you need and over-packing. Here are a few tips to help you achieve that delicate balance.

#1: Only bring clothes for the summer and fall.

Chances are, you will be returning home over Thanksgiving or winter break. You can pack up your more winter-appropriate clothing then. For now, just focus on packing the clothing you need for the summer and fall. Maybe pack a winter outfit or two in case there are some unseasonably cold days in November, but leave the snow boots and heavy coats at home until the next time.

#2: Avoid duplicates.

This advice holds true when it comes to clothing and everything else. You don't need to bring three umbrellas, for instance. Pick the one you like best, and leave the rest behind. Try to pare down your clothing options, too. Just because you own 20 pairs of underwear does not mean they all have to come with you. In fact, restricting your collection to just 10 will motivate you to do laundry more often.

#3: If you can buy it cheaply and are not sure whether you need it, leave it at home.

As you pack, you're sure to come across items that you're not sure whether you need or not. If the item can be repurchased for $10 or less, just leave it at home. If you do decide you really need this item when you're at college, you can repurchase it easily. (Chances are, if you're not confident that you'll need it, you never will.)

#4: Bring the small sizes.

You're going to need to pack consumable items like laundry soap and dish detergent. Whenever possible, try to bring the smaller sizes of these items. They will take up less space, and you can buy a new container when you run out -- which won't be nearly as soon as you think! If you have some extra containers of these items, you may want to have your parent send them in a care package. Dorm rooms just aren't large enough to store five extra containers of laundry detergent.

#5: Bring a dressy outfit.

You'll probably wear lounge clothes when you're around the dorm and casual attire when you're in class, but you should pack just one dressy outfit. You'll be glad to have it when you have a surprise job interview or a presentation in class. Don't forget a pair of shoes to go with your dressy outfit.

#6: Don't worry about stocking up on food and snacks before you leave.

It's common to see students rolling up to the dorms with bog boxes of snacks and food items. But packing these in advance is really just a waste of space in your moving truck. There will be grocery stores near your campus, if not directly on your campus, and you're better off buying food once you know exactly how much storage space you have and what your roommates want to share.

#7: Check with roommates about big items.

Before you pack anything like an area rug, curtains, or a dorm fridge, reach out to your roommates and make sure they are not bringing the same thing. You don't need two pairs of curtains, area rugs, or microwaves -- so decide who is going to bring the large items before you pack.

Follow the tips above, and you should have an easier time fitting everything into boxes and your moving truck. For more information, visit websites like Enjoy your first semester of college!