I used to dread packing for winter break because a month is a long time and if you’re like me, an extreme over-packer, it’s even more difficult. Now that I am a junior, I am a seasoned packer with a few tricks up my sleeve to ease the packing stress for winter break. Here are a few of my tips and tricks that my friends and I use when packing for our long winter break. 

1. Make a List

This one seems like it would be obvious, but it actually helps. I plan and write down all pants, sweaters, pajamas, dresses, shirts, etc. that I need and it’s a lot less overwhelming than just staring into your closet wishing your clothes would pack themselves. 

2. Pack with a buddy

My roommate always helps me out when I pack and I do the same for her. She helps me pick out which outfits I should bring and which ones I should just leave at home. It helps to have someone there to talk you out of packing 35 different shirts that you don’t need! 

3. Make use of your small amount of space

Being an over packer, bringing home three duffle bags full isn’t uncommon. Rolling clothes instead of folding them flat make them a little smaller and more things will fit into one bag. Organizing clothes by category of pants, sweaters, shirts, etc. is also helpful for me since I live out of my bag once I get home and end up not knowing where anything is if I don’t organize. 

4. Limit yourself to only 1 or 2 suitcases

By limiting suitcases, you’re already helping yourself not over pack. Besides, you usually end up not even wearing half of what you brought. 

5. Give yourself time to pack

I hate feeling rushed, especially when I’m packing. By giving yourself a day in advance if you can or even a few hours, it will help the process – trust me! Plan on packing the night before you are leaving for winter break and you will thank yourself. 

6. Think about what you have at home

I learned the hard way my first winter break freshman year and decided to pack every single thing I owned and forgot about the fact that my mom and younger sister would loan me shampoo, a brush, toothpaste, etc. I also had old sweatshirts and sweatpants at home (a necessity) and didn’t need all the ones I had packed from the residence halls. 

7. Keep in mind all the family holiday events you will have to attend

Be sure to plan outfits to pack for all the occasions to keep mom and grandma happy. Sorry, but your sweats and sweatshirt won’t cut it this time! I always make sure to bring something for every occasion just so I’m prepared for anything. 

8. Save time for cleaning your room

If you are living in the residence halls, your RA should be giving you a checklist of things you need to do to prep your room for winter break. In addition to completing that checklist, you might want to spend some time picking up the aftermath of the busy finals week and your winter break packing session.  

9. Don't forget to donate

There are lots of places around Winona to donate an assortment of things.  

If you want to donate textbooks: 

If you want to donate some clothes: 

If you want to donate food: 

If you want to donate furniture/room décor: 

I would recommend calling each of these places to make sure they are taking donations, and to see if what you are trying to donate is what they are looking for.  

With the help of these tips, I hope packing up your room for the month-long vacation is a little easier. Packing isn’t so bad when you aren’t feeling stressed and overwhelmed about what to bring and how much to bring.


Edited by Megan Johnson