Packing for College

By Dave Berry

The time has come to start thinking about what you want to take with you to college. Some ofyou will be leaving for freshman orientation in early August. Others of you won't leave until early September. In either case, packing for college can be a real challenge.

The challenge comes in knowing what to leave behind. One of the best ways to determine what you need to live is to do a "lifestyle inventory." A lifestyle inventory is a chronicle of what you use in your everyday life to maintain your current standard of living. It involves taking some notes and pausing for thought, but the result can be quite practical.

Pick a week when you anticipate that your life will be "normal" within the context of your family's lifestyle. Then pick two weekdays and either Saturday or Sunday as your three sampling days. Get a small notebook and devote two pages to each day. Divide each day's pages into sections for morning, afternoon, and evening.

For each of your three sampling days, make entries in your notebook at the end of each day's three periods. At noon, review the morning and write down everything of yours that you needed during the morning. At dinner, recap the afternoon, and before bed review your evening's needs. You'll then have a list of 85-90 percent of everything you'll need to pack for school. The other 10-15 percent will come in the form of suggestions from your Mother.

Women tend to pack much more than guys. In fact, guys tend to forget stuff they need, requiring supply runs during the year. If you have to travel long distances to get to your school, it will pay to do your research now. A good generality is to think cool for early Fall and late Spring and think warm for late Fall and early Spring. At a minimum, you'll need your fan and a warm coat (and gloves) to meet this requirement.

Put a little thought into planning what you need to take to college. Some foresight now will make things a whole lot more comfortable this Fall. Have a great freshman year!