Packing for College Requires Thought & Planning

Those of you who will be heading off for college and leaving home for the first time may be wondering what to take with you. Packing for college can be a challenge.

The challenge comes in knowing what to leave behind. The best way to find out 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. 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 college. The other 10-15 percent will come as suggestions from your mother.

Women pack much more than guys do. Guys 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. Assuming “traditional” climates, 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 pack for college. Some foresight now will make things a whole lot more comfortable this fall. Have a great first year at college.