As you transition from living at home to living on-campus—or just living on your own for the first time—effective packing skills are necessary for keeping you organized, happy, and most importantly– sane. The last thing you need is to discover that you brought too much stuff, or didn’t bring enough.

Here’s a list of helpful tips from someone who once had to move five times in a summer.

  1. Know what to pack

First thing’s first: talk to your roommate(s). Discuss who’s bringing what as far as big items go. Mini-fridges don’t seem so mini when there’s two of them in the same room—same goes for televisions, coffee-makers and microwaves.

Along those same lines, check what is and isn’t allowed in your residence hall. Things like kettles, hot-surfaces, candles and inappropriate memorabilia are better left at home.

If you’re someone who has a large and varied wardrobe, separate your clothes by seasons! You can leave more wintry clothes at home during the warmer months, and then switch them out when it starts to get cold. WSU rooms have pretty large closets, but you’d be surprised at how much space shoes take up.

Don’t forget school materials! You’ll find that first-week-of-class anxiety is greatly reduced when you feel prepared. So be sure to stock up on binders, notebooks, pens and other supplies.

Pro Tip: some students only use one multi-course notebook with dividers for all of their courses, others have two—one for Mon. Wed. Fri. courses and the other for Tue. Thur. courses—that way you won’t have to worry about bringing the wrong notebook to class.

  1. Label your boxes

Sure, this seems like a given—or maybe you’re confident in keeping track of everything—but trust me, when you’re surrounded by a sea of boxes, it’s easy for things like your office supplies or winter gear to get misplaced.

  1. Other necessities

These are the items which might be overlooked while trying to box up all your worldly processions—as recommended by actual students.

Bring dryer sheets, detergent, fabric softener and the like along with a plastic laundry basket. Pro Tip: Use this basked as a hamper as well as clean basket to conserve space—make sure to get one with handles for easy transportation.

With all your toiletries, grab a shower caddy so you won’t have to juggle them in your arms to the bathroom every time. Also, don’t forget shower flip-flops! No one wants to walk barefoot to the bathroom or in the bathroom.

For dorm room electronics: fans, all of the fans, an inordinate number of fans. It is your room may not have air conditioning—increased air-flow will keep you cool. An ethernet cable to connect your television to the internet is helpful (Netflix can be finicky with wireless internet), as well as extension cords to ensure you have enough outlets.

These last few are optional, but very helpful tools for living in a residence hall:

  • command strips or hooks (most residence halls don’t allow nails)
  • plastic totes for storage
  • extra chargers for your phone and laptop
  • blankets
  • band-aids, Neosporin
  • cold medicine and pain medicine
  • a hand-held vacuum and other cleaning supplies
  1. You’re done!

Great job! All that’s left is to fit everything into your vehicle(s) Tetris style, and you’re on your way. Now you’re prepped to move-in to your new home. See you on Move-In Day!

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Breanna McGeorge

Breanna McGregor graduated in 2018 with a BA in English Writing and a Literature and Language minor. She is from Sussex, WI and enjoys writing, reading and drawing.