Get ready for a long and extensive post….
On Friday I’m loading up my parents’ car and heading back to the Bronx for one last year. My first year, I had no idea what I was bringing. I showed up and my mom had to immediately mail me things I needed. And then had to bring even more things every time they visited.
My sophomore year I had it together a little better, but I still ended up with way too many clothes and not enough of what I needed. Junior year I got into my swing and really started developing my own personal style and I’ve finally come to know what kinds of things I need, and what I don’t.
So, after a lot of planning and cleaning and sorting and list-making and list-editing, I finally compiled my first comprehensive college packing list.
For Clothes and Accessories, I’ve learned to keep it relatively simple and basic, especially when I first move in in the fall. A combination of light sweaters, jeans, shorts and button downs are perfect for transitioning, as well as a blazer and a vest, for when it gets a little chillier. And a rain jacket and wellies. Because nothing is worse than being unprepared for rain. Or hurricanes.
I usually go home around Columbus Day, so I don’t need a lot of my winter jackets and riding boots. A pair of basic flats and a shorter pair of boots are my go-to’s, as well as a pair of sandals that I can wear with anything.
Regarding accessories, I have a large Longchamp Le Pliage that I use for my books and for work, and then a clutch that I can carry my keys and ID around in. For nights when I go out and don’t want to lug a huge bag, I also have a cross body bag. That way, I can just sling it over my shoulder and toss in some cash, my ID and maybe some lipstick and be off for the evening.
Admittedly, I have a lot of toiletries. It’s always a challenge to fit them all when I have to pack to come home, but these are the things I typically use on a daily basis. I swear by Dove shampoo and conditioners, as well as It’s a 10! leave in conditioner. I swear it saved my hair. Not to mention, all of the makeup I’ve been acquiring since I started to grow my collection.
Electronics are pretty self-explainatory for college. A phone, a computer that can handle four (or more) years of heavy use, and chargers are essential. Until this year, all of my roommates have brought a printer that they are more than happy sharing, so long as I pitch in for ink and paper. I did get one this year from Target for super cheap.
In regards to a TV and fridge, I’ve always split them with my roommate. My freshman year, I brought a mini fridge and my roommate brought a TV, and we just shared both. Now that I don’t need a mini fridge, my sister can take mine to school for her and her roommate.
I’m pretty basic when it comes to school supplies shopping. I get one folder and one notebook for each class, and then a few pens and some highlighters. One thing that I do think is really essential is a planner. In high school I’d always throw mine out after the first day, but in college it’s something I can’t live without. I write down all of my assignments and appointments and it keeps me organized when everything starts getting frazzled.
One thing I totally forgot about packing freshman year was a stapler. It just wasn’t on my radar ass essential, but after a week or so, professors started getting annoyed with my unstapled papers.
Another one of my school supplies lists can be found here!
Storage is key. Most dorms and apartments are small. My freshman year I had my mom ship me extra hanging shelves and they have been lifesavers. And the plastic drawers? I couldn’t live without them. When a room only comes with a desk, a closet and a dresser, extra space is essential. I’ve also had this over the bed storage unit since sophomore year and it is amazing.
I’ve had a rug since sophomore year that has seen so much nonsense and is still in great shape. Every summer I give it a good vacuum and shampoo and it’s good as new. It’s best to get a pretty neutral color though, so it doesn’t show as much dirt throughout the year.
Also, how perfect is that Kate Spade bedding? I’m very seriously considering ordering it for when I graduate and have a big girl apartment.
I’m sure dorm shopping varies from person to person, but these are the important things I remembered. I’m no expert and I’m definitely still learning but this should help anyone struggling to get ready.