For many rising freshmen, this fall is the first time you will experience the adult life of living separately from parental supervision. It’s a tough transition packing up your entire life and moving in with a hall of strangers. To help alleviate packing stress, here are some tips on what to bring, what to avoid, and how to have a smooth move-in.

Things you think you are necessary but aren’t really

  • Iron and an ironing board: In theory, it is nice to have neat and wrinkle-free clothes for special events, interviews, or dinners. In reality, most college students get by with doing the least possible laundry and recycling outfits. Just use some fabric de-wrinkler and you’ll be good to go in most situations.
  • Television: Even if this fits into a room, you won’t have as much time as you think to lounge in your room and casually watch television. If you do have time, a TV won’t be ideal for your productivity. Plus most common rooms and floors have a TV set if you’re really dying to catch the latest episode of Scandal.
  • Printer: Libraries have printers. You will be spending a lot of time at the library. Most students won’t have trouble getting access to one. Unless you are a writing intensive major, it’s not worth the space and upkeep (buying paper and ink) to maintain a printer.

Things you will definitely need

  • Brita filter: Not every city will have clean tap water. If that’s the case get a Brita filter jug or a water bottle so you’ll be safe.
  • Electric kettle or Keurig: Hot water at the touch of a button is essential. You’ll be able to have a cup of tea or coffee on a cold day without splurging on it at the campus coffee shop. Also very important to cook the college staple… cup noodles.
  • Plastic utensils: Sometimes you’ll have to eat in your room and if you don’t have silverware or a kitchen, disposable utensils will come in handy.
  • Clorox wipes: These are your best friend. Use them for spills, in the bathroom, kitchen, for sanitation… the uses are endless. Having a container (or several) of these will save a life.
  • Rug: Instantly makes a room cozy and inviting. It’s especially good for having guests over.
  • Poster putty or masking tape: Tape can peel paint off walls, but using putty or masking tape to decorate your wall with photos, posters, and ornaments won’t get you in trouble.

Things that make your life easier

  • Shoe rack or organizer: Shoes haphazardly piled make a room look incredibly messy. Have a rack or organizer that hangs on the wall for easy access and a neat room.
  • Air freshener: Sadly, you will be needing this for some of the more unpleasant smells that come from several college-aged adults living on the same floor and sharing bathrooms.
  • Duster: Keep drawers, desks, and windows clean.
  • Command hooks: Hang towels, jewelry, hats, jackets and all that jazz on walls for easy access.
  • Two sets of bedding: If you can squeeze in two sets of bedding, it’ll be a great back up to have in case of spills or general laziness. Having fresh sheets and switching them out will make the laundry load easier for you.

Packing tips

  • Organized chaos: Divide boxes according to their uses. Clothes, bedding, books, electronics, toiletries, and similar items should be in clearly labeled boxes. It’ll be much easier to unpack when things are grouped.
  • Use t-shirts as padding: For all the fragile items like mugs, lamps, and electronics, use your t-shirts in lieu of bubble wrap. It will save space by packing away shirts while keeping delicate items padded.
  • Vacuum seal bags: Bigger items like coats and jackets are super bulky. Placing them in vacuum sealed bags will remove all the excess air and reduce the space clothes take up by almost half. Invest in these if you can.
  • Under-the-bed storage bins: To make the most of crammed dorm room spaces, pack seasonal items in plastic storage bins under your bed. Switch out your closet when seasons change. Also great for miscellaneous items you will undoubtedly acquire, spare pillows, shoes, etc.
  • Save your boxes: Don’t forget that in a blink of an eye, you’ll be moving out at the end of the year. Recycle move-in boxes for when you move out!

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the author

Jilliann Pak hails from the suburbs of SoCal but is currently attending school across the coast at Johns Hopkins University. When she’s not complaining about the cold weather or sleeping in the library, she’s probably eating, cuddled up into a blanket burrito, or watching Parks and Recreation, preferably all at once.

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