As much as I hide away a lot of my stuff in campus storage every year, I still have to lug most of my things for university across the country. So, for those headed off to university that need to pack all their life belongings into a few suitcases, I’ve got you covered.
Here are my tips for what to pack, and what to leave behind.
What to Pack:
- Portable electronics you’ll need. This means your cell phone, iPod, laptop, and all those goodies. Make sure you pack all the necessary chargers and cases as well.
- Any prescription medication, glasses, and prescriptions. Do not forget any medications you are taking or will need to take. Having all of these will save you many hours at the doctor or pharmacist, and keep you healthy.
- A few school supplies. You don’t need to bring every notebook and pen in your room, but if you want to pack some essentials in a pencil case, that’s perfect. You can always buy more when you get to campus.
- Clothes, of course! Try and pack items that can easily be layered or worn through multiple seasons. Make sure you do have clothes for nights out, interviews or other formal events, and for comfort. Don’t forget underwear, bras, socks, or pajamas too!
- Some special things from home. This could be anything from family photos to a special scarf. It’s really nice to have at least a small part of home at university.
- A backpack and a small everyday bag. You’ll need a backpack for university, and often I use mine as my carry on bag for flying. I also usually pack a small purse for nights I want to go out, or if I’m up to something off campus.
- A small first aid kit. Trust me, nothing’s worse than getting a small injury or a headache, so it’s best to have some supplies on hand. I usually keep a variety of band-aids, some Polysporin, medical tape, gauze, and Advil in my first aid kit.
- Various forms of ID. When you’re off at university, you’ll probably need ID at some point for anything from going out to getting a job. I would recommend you have your passport or provincial ID, driver’s license, student ID (if you have it already), health insurance, and health care cards.
- Your wallet and debit/credit cards. Even if your bank account is a little low from tuition and textbooks, how else are you going to buy anything you need?
What Not to Pack:
- Bedding and Pillows. Unless you’re driving up to school or have a very special blanket you need, it’s best to buy these when you get to campus. They’re very bulky, and chances are there’s a store nearby that sells them.
- Lots of shoes, because they’re bulky. I recommend that when you’re packing to choose shoes that look good with everything, and that you can wear in any season. You can also pack more shoes if they can be packed flat.
- A ton of makeup, or toiletries. You can always buy shampoo, soap, and most makeup at stores around campus when you get there.
- Textbooks. Unless it’s as thin as a book you’re reading for pleasure, it’s best to get these when you’re on campus. Plus, these make your bag more liable to be overweight if you’re traveling by plane.
- Food. Unless it’s plane snacks that you really need, don’t pack food. You’ll probably do a massive grocery trip once you’re back on campus, or you won’t really need any if you’re eating in meal hall.
- Lots of cooking or cleaning things. You can purchase these later on along with food, and usually in first year, you won’t need these as much. If you do purchase these items over the year, find somewhere to store them for summer.
- Heavy jackets, winter boots, or other seasonal attire. Since winter is over the school year, it can be tempting to pack all of your winter gear at once. My advice is to either get all those shipped to you right before the season changes, swap out seasonal clothes during trips home, or leave it in storage on campus.
- Lots of room decorations. As much as having a cute dorm room is great, I don’t recommend you pack a lot of decorations. Instead, buy them during the school year, and keep them in storage.
What do you guys usually pack or not pack, or what have I missed? Leave your suggestions in the comments below!