Packing for College? Here Are 5 Things You Totally Shouldn’t Forget While Doing So


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You’ve made your list and checked it twice – and, no, we’re not referring to that classic holiday jingle! We’re talking about your college packing list, which currently includes everything from a microwave oven and extra sheets to the biggest 4K smart TV you could find in your price range. You’ve considered college-friendly food items, basic kitchen necessities, warm and cozy decorative items… but even the most planned packers might be forgetting a few imperative items.

No pressure or anything, but leaving for college marks a pretty huge life transition. You’re not only heading to your first-ever off-campus apartment but also bidding farewell to your family and hometown friends for the foreseeable future. You’ll be on your own for the first time in your life, and while that’s incredibly exciting, it’s all the more important that you don’t forget important items before you hit the ol’ dusty trail.

Your friends at uCribs have already conquered this milestone, and in doing so, we’ve made mental note of several items that college students commonly forget while packing for college. Allow us to impart our wisdom onto you with the following 5 things you shouldn’t leave behind when making the all-important move to college.

Laundry supplies.

If you’re lucky, your new off-campus apartment will come supplied with an in-home washer and dryer that you can use at all hours without the worry of sharing with other residents. I mean, private laundry appliances are pretty much the epitome of college-level luxury! But, when you’re still new to the whole concept of renting (and affording) your own space, it’s more likely that you’ll find yourself in a community that only offers a communal laundering space – that is, if they offer one on-site at all.

If you’re looking forward to at least two semesters of sharing a community laundromat with your neighbors – or a larger demographic of locals – you’ll want to bring ample supplies to get the job done as quickly and efficiently as possible. Pick up a few laundry baskets, an oversized bag for transporting dirty clothes, and detergent. You might also consider buying fabric softener and/or dryer sheets if you have a bit more cash to spare. Finally, don’t forget an ample supply of quarters – you’ll need more than you could have ever imagined, and begging random strangers to make change is going to get really old, really fast if you’re not stocked up.

A small first aid kit.

Life happens. And by “life,” we mean inconvenient paper cuts just as you’re hitting your homework stride, an unfortunate shaving nick that turns into something resembling a crime scene, or a random cold that makes attending classes almost unbearable. Health-related emergencies can strike at any time, and when you’re living off-campus, you unfortunately don’t have immediate access to an on-campus health center or a friendly RA, who always keeps extra Band-Aids and ibuprofen on-hand. For that reason, you’ll want to make sure that you don’t overlook a simple first aid kit when packing your belongings for college.

As you’ll soon come to find out, your first aid kit is your best bet against illness and general discomfort. In some circumstances, you might even have to rely exclusively on this little box of remedies until you can get your sick self to the nearest pharmacy. For that reason, you’ll want to stock the kit well, with plenty of OTC medication for seasonal colds, allergy attacks, or killer headaches. Additionally, be sure to include basic supplies, like antibiotic ointment and gauze pads, for small cuts and wounds. And, if you require any other daily medications, don’t skip out on those, either. When you’re acclimating to your new surroundings, the last thing you want is to realize that you’ve forgotten your asthma inhaler and have to overnight your prescription—this would be quite the shock to your tight student budget.

A filtered water pitcher.

Mmm, water. This deliciously simple drink is vital to boosting energy, preventing headaches, and keeping your body generally healthy. If you’re dedicated to drinking those eight glasses a day, we applaud you – and we’d also like to remind you not to overlook a filtered water pitcher, as you’re filling up your college shopping cart. Ha, get it? Not only does introducing one to your new college pad scream “adulting,” but these affordably-priced receptacles will also help reduce your grocery bill and plastic consumption simultaneously.

You might not realize it yet, but nothing adds up faster in cost and waste than bottled water. Seriously, just consider how many individual bottles you’ll inevitably go through to keep yourself hydrated, especially in the current late summer heat. And, we probably don’t need to remind you how much plastic waste discarded water bottles produce—1,500 plastic bottles per second by Americans alone, making single-use plastic bottles are the third most common item found in our oceans. Yep, you read that right. Do something good for your body and your environment by chucking those 36-pack water bottles for a reusable pitcher that can be filled up multiple times a day with tap water. Boom, problem solved.

Outfits for formal events.

Nervous about packing the correct college clothing? Don’t be – to the delight of newly minted university students everywhere, about 98 percent of your college experience will be spent in jeans or sweats. However, there will come a time that you’re expected to attend a dressier event, to which you can’t turn up in your signature collegiate t-shirt and track pants. Hey, eventually you’ll have to learn how to put together an outfit that makes you look, well, put-together… so, don’t overlook one of college packing’s most forgotten items: a few formal outfits.

Whether it’s a silent auction benefitting your Greek organization, a university fundraising event, or a big project presentation, there are countless events common to college life that could require formal dress. This is even more likely if you have a part-time job or internship, especially if the dress code is strict or if there are regular company or networking events. So, be sure to pack the appropriate clothing, or else risk making a costly trip to the mall for an outfit that is much more expensive than what you’ve already got hanging in your closet at home.

Rain gear, including rain boots, a jacket, and an umbrella.

Don’t ask us why, but it seems like every college student under the sun forgets to plan for crummy weather when it comes to curating their college closet. When you’re in college, though, you don’t get a free pass to skip class when an unexpected rainstorm hits just minutes before walking out of your front door. We’ve all woken up to the sound of a torrential downpour before realizing that we don’t own a single piece of water-resistant clothing or even an umbrella to speak of – and, yes, trudging across campus in a rainstorm is as miserable as it sounds!

Heed our warning: little compares to the discomfort you’ll feel while sitting in a pair of wet jeans or socks and shoes for two hours. That’s why you’ll need to be prepared to trek to class, no matter the elements, using a solid pair of rain boots, an all-weather jacket, and a large umbrella. Thinking of these items now will not only save your sanity when you have to stay true to your schedule in the middle of a thunderstorm but also rescue you from being “that kid” in class, who shows up fully drenched from head to toe. Let’s face it – no one wants to be that person, so do your future self a huge favor and stock up on plenty of stormy weather supplies.

Comfortable hoodies, extra smartphone chargers, and noise-canceling headphones are undisputed college necessities, but have you stopped to think about those supplies that will come in handy when you’ve got a bad cold, an important presentation, or a huge pile of unwashed laundry? Moving to an on- or off-campus college apartment is, indeed, one of the first lessons in adulting that you’ll ever receive. And, part of adulting successfully is stocking up on crucial yet commonly forgotten items, like the ones on our list. So, open up those suitcases one more time, triple-check that they contain these items, and get excited: you’re finally headed off

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Meghen Jones is a graduate of Louisiana State University Shreveport, where she earned her B.A. in Mass Communications. With the experience of working in a newsroom and public relations office, she loves everything pertaining to journalism, public relations, and media. One of her favorite things to do is visual storytelling through videography. Meghen relocated to New Orleans to pursue graduate school, so that she can obtain her M.A. in Hospitality and Tourism Management. Outside of working as a Content Strategist, she enjoys writing, traveling, cooking/baking, and spending time at parks.

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