For Freshmen. By Freshmen.
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Aug 18 2016
by Kat Roth

10 Ways to Make Packing Easier

By Kat Roth - Aug 18 2016

Packing and moving are some of the most daunting and stressful parts of going to college. The idea of putting your life into a few boxes and starting a new chapter in your life is intimidating at best, but you have to do it – Don't procrastinate any longer and get packing!

1. Narrow down what to bring. 

It may be tempting to bring everything that reminds you of home, but this is a bad idea! You have a much smaller space in a dorm and the effort it takes to pack up boxes upon boxes of unnecessary stuff is not worth it. Do you really need your entire collection of action figures? Or every single book you own? Probably not. Whittling down what you bring is the first and most essential step to making packing easier.

2. Buy things after you arrive. 


This tip is especially important for those flying to their new schools. Shipping large items can be very costly and some bulky items can be purchased at a store close to your school. Items like bedding, fridges, and furniture will be a pain to transport, so stop by your local Target to pick up any extras once you arrive at your school.

3. Pre-pack your storage. 

If you do plan on shipping your possessions, especially if you live fairly close to your school, consider pre-packing any storage pieces you’ll be bringing. If you already have your under-the-bed storage bins handy, pack them with whatever you planned on storing before you move so you have less to sort later.

4. Label your boxes. 

This is so important! Pack your items by theme and label each box on two sides and the top so you know what is in each box even if they are stacked up. Separating your desk supplies from your bedding will save you from scrambling to find a specific item and unpacking will be so much easier.

5. Have essentials handy. 


Whether you are driving or flying to campus, having a bag or box of essentials for the first few days is super helpful. Pack some toiletries, a change of clothes, ID’s and instruction papers so you always know where they are in case you don’t have time to unpack everything or need a shower right away.

6. Utilize checked luggage. 

If you are flying to your campus, shipping your belongings can be expensive. Because you only really need to ship your clothing and some other essentials (see #1-2) utilize the checked luggage allowed by your airline. If you are traveling with any family or friends, ask if you can use their checked baggage so that you can stuff multiple bags with your own stuff without needing to deal with the hassle of shipping.

7. Pack clothing efficiently.

Clothing will probably be the bulk of what you bring to college. Make packing easier by tailoring your packing to how you’ll be traveling. If you are driving, you may have more room for boxes so you can actually pack your clothing on their hangers to minimize your unpacking time. If you are flying and need to pack as much clothing into a small space as possible (like the checked baggage in #6), try rolling your clothing to compress your clothing and maximize the space you have.

8. Take pictures of your room. 

Whether you are living in a dorm or an apartment, it is helpful to document any problems in your room so you aren’t fined when you move out. Plus, you can get some pretty sweet before and after shots.

9. Bring snacks. 


Packing and unpacking takes a lot of work. You and your family will be tired throughout the day and the stress of moving away can cause a lot of emotions. All of these factors can lead to some hangry people! Make sure to bring snacks like snack bars or nuts to keep everyone energized and happy.

10. Bulky items first. 

When moving boxes and furniture, move the larger items first. Moving bulky pieces like a mini-fridge and storage is a lot easier when you don’t have to navigate around small suitcases and boxes. Trust me, it’s a lot easier to carry a duffel around a desk chair than it is to heave your chair over a stack of luggage. 

The hardest part of packing is getting started, so get up, turn on some energetic music, and sort! Once everything is in its proper place, you only need to deal with some heavy lifting and you'll be well on your way to living in your new home!

Lead Image: Charles Wiriawan via Flickr Creative Commons

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Kat Roth -

Kat goes to UC Davis and studies Food Science.

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