College Tips: Packing List

Getting everything ready of college can be super stressful. My younger sister is getting ready to join me at USC and we are counting down the days with less than a month until she moves into her dorm. So in order to help her (and my mom) out I’ve come up with a list of things that I remember packing or wanting. Now some of these things aren’t necessary, especially depending on your dorm style, so of course it can be edited to fit your personal preferences.

College packing list

Some things to consider when packing:

  • Storage. Storage is necessary in any dorm room but what you need will depend on your personal preferences as well as your dorm room itself. Like over the door storage products are great but only if you have doors to hang them on. And plastic storage drawers and bins are great but only if you will have the space for them. So when you figure out what your dorm is supposed to look like consider what will make the most sense for YOU in YOUR space.  Keep the receipts for anything you buy ahead of time and make sure you will be able to return any items you can’t use.
  • Clothes. Closets in dorms are notoriously small so some editing of your wardrobe might be necessary when packing for school. My first tip when editing is consider the climate of your school. For example Columbia, SC is hot. HOT and HUMID. Most female students wear athletic shorts (Norts= nike shorts) and an oversized t-shirt to class everyday. Why oversized? Because when you are sweating 2 minutes in to your walk to class, you don’t want your shirt sticking to you, its very uncomfortable. Also a good pair of rain boots and a rain jacket is an important addition because we tend to have periods of rain. During my move-in day freshmen year, it was pouring so rain gear came in handy. Tip number two, if you are considering going through recruitment make sure you have outfits for that. My school details what the dress code is for each round, so plan out your outfits in advance and have a few back ups. Also once you are in a sorority, some have a dress code, like mine Pi Beta Phi requires us to wear more business casual/meet the parents/church attire, what we refer to as “Snappy Casual”. My third tip is to have at least one “grown up” outfit, especially if you are a business major, have something you can wear to an interview, conference, or other events that may require business or business casual attire. You need to be prepared to dress to impress at these events because this can impact your career. Last but not least some advice for packing t-shirts. We all have t-shirts we love and often a college t-shirt is a favorite gift during senior year but do some major editing of your collection. I have so many free t-shirts from college so only bring 5-10 of your favorites from home. Here at USC you will want 10 simply because you might change shirts frequently when the one you are wearing is covered in sweat, so 10 is a good number to start you off.
  • Shoes. Bring at least 1 comfortable pair of shoes to walk around campus in, whether you prefer flip flops, Chacos or Tevas, converse or tennis shoes. The first few weeks of a new semester are always the worst because of the blisters from walking all over campus so comfy shoes will be your best friend in managing that. Also bring a pair of shoes that are more professional, so cute flats or a pair of pumps that aren’t crazy high. Boots to wear when its cold or rain boots for walking across campus in the rain should also be on your packing list. I also like to make sure I have a pair of cowboy boots, not only because I love them but it’s a Carolina tradition that girls wear black dresses and cowboy boots to football games (obviously its not necessary but many girls do because its cute).
  • Decor. While decor for your dorm room is not the most important thing to think about when packing, its definitely something to think about. Dorm rooms are usually bare, white, sterile spaces so adding personality can help. Not only because decorating can be fun, but because it makes the dorm feel more like your home. It’s probably your first time living away from home, so surrounding yourself with colors and things that make you happy can help alleviate some homesickness and calm you down. One way to add personality is to bring some of your favorite pictures of family and friends. I personally bought some cheap frames at the dollar store and since they were lightweight I could attach them to the wall with Command Strips poster tape. Also if the glass happened to crack during move in, I was only out a dollar. So bring things that will comfort you in your new home away from home but be budget conscious because once at school you can literally find hundreds of other things to spend money on.