I remember when I moved into my first dorm when I was 15 (boarding school!). I had my clothes in literal trash bags, basically bringing my entire wardrobe from home. I way over did it and had no idea. In my defense, I wouldn’t be going home until late November and this would be my first ever upstate New York winter. As a Floridian, I had to seriously over prepare! To help you avoid making the same clothing mistakes I made when I first moved into the dorms, I’ve compiled the complete college clothing packing list!
There are a lot of things to keep in mind when packing for college. Most importantly, you’ll need to consider how frequently you’ll be going home. For me, in boarding school, I went home very few times a year. However, if you live pretty close to your campus you might find yourself going home for long weekends throughout the semester.
If you’re going to be away from home until winter break, you’ll probably need to bring more clothing than if you plan to go home a few times before December. Remember, it’s always better to bring less than to bring too much! I know this sounds crazy and downright terrifying if this is your first time living away from home, but trust me! You’ll likely buy more clothes once you get to campus, and you can always grab more clothes when you do eventually go home. I’ve even had my parents mail me clothes from home before!
Less is more
I honestly cannot stress enough the importance of bringing less rather than more. If you don’t wear it at home, you’re not going to wear it at college. It’s the truest fact of life. Honestly, my wardrobe, for the most part, consists of like two shorts, maybe a pair of jeans, and like three shirts that all look exactly the same (why do I only own black striped shirts?!). Knowing this, I brought my wardrobe staples and left the stuff I don’t usually wear at home.
Dorm rooms are TINY. Literally, tiny. Once I lived in a
closet dorm so small, there was no dresser. I had to get seriously creative to make that work! So always bring less, and you can add on from there!
Consider the season. If you know you’re going home for winter break, don’t drag all of your winter clothes to campus in August! I’d recommend bringing a few sweaters and light jackets that will get you through to the break, and leave it at that! Similarly, don’t bring your summer clothes in the dead of winter if you’ll be going home for Spring Break.
Also, keep in mind the climate of your college when packing. For example, when I went to boarding school I was going from Florida to upstate New York. What I wore at home wasn’t really going to cut it in the dead of winter. I had to adjust my wardrobe accordingly. I didn’t need to pack all my bathing suits for New York! However, now I go to college in Florida. My school is a few miles from the beach, and there’s a massive pool in the middle of the quad. This being said, bringing all of my bathing suits was actually practical. Think about what is and isn’t necessary for your college and pack accordingly!
Finally, I would like to comment on shoes. When I studied abroad, I was SHOCKED at just how many shoes some of my friends deemed necessary, when in reality they only wore two or three pairs the entire semester. You DO NOT need 5 pairs of stilettos (unless you wear these all the time and are superwoman in which case ignore me)!!! I repeat: YOU DO NOT NEED 5 PAIRS OF STILETTOS!
I would recommend taking no more than 1 pair of heels and keep in mind your outfits so you can be sure they match. Your favorite red pumps will mean nothing if you don’t have any outfits that match! Sandals take up very little space, so feel free to bring more of those instead. Also, odd are you only will need one pair of sneakers and rain boots. Bring LESS than you think you need! You’ll see that my college clothing packing list only recommends one type of each shoe, and I completely support this!
When you’re moving away to college it can be tempting to bring all your clothes. I challenge you to stick to my college clothing packing list and bring less than you think you need. When you get to your dorm and adjust to college life, you can start adding more necessary pieces to your wardrobe.
Happy packing! What’s on your college clothing packing list?