Organizing Tip: 8 Dorm Room Packing Tips

posted in: Organizing 2

Image of a bell tower on a college campus, photography by R. Isip July is almost halfway done and you know what that means…back to school season is just around the corner!

In just a few weeks, students headed back to college and/or university will soon be packing things up for the next school year.

Whether you’re headed back to campus or know someone who will be, check out these eight tips to help make packing for a dorm room go a little more smoothly.

Make a thorough list.

If you’re going away to school all you need are clothes and a laptop right? Oh wait, there’s toiletries…and bed linens…and bath linens… a hair dryer….oh, and some school supplies and… This list just got really complicated, didn’t it?

Consider all the different aspects of your life as you pack including personal grooming items, a variety of clothing (casual clothes, pajamas, workout clothes, dress clothes, seasonal wear), and any other items you can think of. Put the list aside for a couple of days and review it again to see if there’s anything you may have missed earlier.

Pack lightly.

Unless you have the exact room dimensions and know the specific storage capacity of your new dorm room (and even then, things can get iffy…) you should always err on the side of caution and pack less than you think you’ll need. For example, do you really need to bring 15 pairs of jeans with you? The space of a room can be awfully deceiving once roommates arrive with their belongings, or when you realize your closet makes a broom closet look spacious. Pack lightly, you’ll thank yourself later.

Check with roommates for duplicate appliances.

 If you’re sharing a room with roommates with whom you have previously roomed, and all of you get on relatively well, you may want to consider seeing if you can share larger appliance and other such items. This way, you can end up with one microwave in your living space instead of a whopping three. Similarly, you should check with your school to see what communal appliances are available in your dormitory — it doesn’t make sense to buy and bring a microwave you will only use a few times a month for popcorn when you can use the one in the dormitory kitchen. Of course, if you’d rather just pack and have your own personal items at your own disposal, by all means do so.

Be choosy about sentimental items.

It’s nice to have sentimental items on hand for those times when you get homesick. Instead of packing up large items or materials that take up a lot of space, choose a few small, meaningful mementos to have on hand while you’re away. You’ll treasure these items even more so.

Don’t forget extension cords, power strips, and chargers.

Need I say more? With so many electronic items nowadays, you’ll really need as much help you can get when it comes to plugging in, powering up and charging your devices. This is especially important if you’re moving into a room that wasn’t built for 21st century living and has limited numbers of electrical outlets.

Think of the little things.

Slippers to protect your feet from a cold tile floor… A travel mug that keeps your favorite beverage hot… Your favorite brand of pens or pencils (you know you have your favorites)… These little things can make all the difference in the world when you’re away at school and don’t take up much packing space in your boxes or bags. Before you start pulling out large items to bring with you, think of the little things first.

Don’t overpack boxes or containers.

Leave some room at the top of boxes and containers when you pack to ensure you can actually close and/or seal lids and flaps. You should also opt for packing more medium-weighted boxes versus super-light or super-heavy loads. While you might have help moving things around, you should at least be able to lift and move most of your things by yourself; you can always ask someone to help you out when it comes to moving one or two really heavy boxes versus ten heavy boxes.

Label your belongings.

Consider labeling all of your boxes in black permanent marker with your first initial, last name and year. Make sure everything is taped up or properly sealed as well so things don’t spill out in transit. Another good idea is to count up how many boxes, packages or parcels you’re moving around at any one time and take a photo of all of your boxes and other materials so you know what you have.

How about you? When it comes to packing, for a dorm room or vacation or anything, are you an under packer, overpacked or fall somewhere in the middle?  Join in the conversation and leave a comment below!

Follow Rashelle:
Rashelle Isip is a New York City-based professional organizer and productivity consultant who helps people get organized so they can stress less, have more fun, and be happier at home. Her work has been featured in Good Housekeeping, Fast Company, Cosmopolitan, The Washington Post, Business Insider, and The Atlantic. Get access to her free guide, 10 Simple Ways to Make Your To-Do Lists More Effective, by clicking here.

2 Responses

  1. Janet Barclay

    In regards to appliances, I would add to find out what you are and aren’t allowed to have in your room. I know things have changed a lot since I was a student, but we were only allowed to have a toaster, electric kettle, and a small fridge. Especially in older buildings, they electrical system may not be able to handle more than that.

    • Rashelle

      Good point! It’s always smart to be safe than sorry.