The hardest part of packing this week was trying to figure out how to get everything I need for the semester down in only a suitcase and two carry-on bags. It was honestly so stressful, but totally manageable.
Since I feel like a bit of packing pro now (though I haven’t totally unpacked yet so I could’ve missed a few things and I just don’t know it), I thought I would share some tips on packing for a whole semester in only a suitcase. A college lifestyle is the best part of your life.
I’m going to make the assumption that if you’re reading this post in hopes that it will help you pack for college a) you’re a girl with a ton of clothes and b) you’re mostly just packing clothing. I definitely focused most of my available space on clothing, because that’s the one thing you really don’t want to have to purchase at the beginning of the semester. It’s easy to run to Target for bedding, bathroom, and kitchen supplies, but not so easy to re-purchase your whole wardrobe.
Here are things to keep in mind while you pack:
Pack only what you love
Okay so maybe you don’t have to love every single item you bring, but make sure you only bring things that you already wear often. With so little room to pack in, you can’t afford to bring that dress you bought three years ago but only wore once.
Pack what you love, leave what you don’t. If you realize you really need that dress because you finally found the right occasion, have it shipped to you or pick it up during a break when you go home. There’s no reason to pack “just in case” items if you’re short on space to pack or store them.
Aside from only packing what you know, you’ll wear, don’t just throw your clothes into your suitcase. Carefully fold each item and stack it nicely in your bag. If you’re really low on space you can even try tightly rolling your clothes to save even more space.
Packing like this will make unpacking easier because you can take your already folded clothes and just put them away when you get there. You’ll save a ton of time, because honestly who really wants to unpack immediately after they get to school (or even in the first week) when there’s so much happening on campus?
Clothes in the suitcase, shoes in a carry on
Most likely your largest items that you will be packing are your shoes, and not only that but they probably aren’t very clean either. Rather than putting them in your suitcase and having to do laundry when you get to school or sacrifice valuable space that could be used for something else, pack your shoes in a carry on size duffel bag.
By packing them this way you can avoid having an overweight suitcase. This also forces you to only bring what you know you’ll wear. All of your shoes should be neutral colors (black, brown, and gray) that will match almost any outfit.
Here’s my list of essential summer/fall shoes:
Although it’s tempting to bring every statement necklace, scarf, and bag that you’ve ever purchased, you definitely don’t have enough space for those. Layout all of your accessories alongside your clothes and match them with your favorite outfits. Pick out a maximum of five of your favorite statement necklaces that you know you will wear often.
Anything that is too bulky, heavy, or catches on your hair leave at home, it’s not worth the discomfort. If you wear scarves in the fall choose two of the favorites that you can wear with different outfits.
Then, choose two bags that go with the most outfits. Generally, a cross body and a tote are best to bring with you so depending on where you’re going or who much you have to carry you always have a bag to match your outfits. Black and brown bags are the best for matching with your outfits. I brought a black crossbody, a brown crossbody, and a brown tote. This is definitely one more bag than I really need, but I chose not to bring any scarves.