This list is probably your longest, and your biggest challenge space-wise. Plan and prioritize to decide what to bring from basics, such as:
- Clothes and clothing care items-- If space is a concern, think seasonal: Pack only what you'll need for fall, winter or spring. You'll want a bathrobe and flip-flops if you're sharing a shower. Extra socks and underwear will tide you over between laundry days. Detergent and a laundry basket or hamper are other basics. (If you'll be using a laundromat, start hoarding quarters now.) A sewing kit, compact travel iron and tabletop ironing board are useful when appearances count.
- Kitchen items -- Choose lightweight, durable plates and bowls. Add items needed to fix and serve food, like pots, ladles, freezer- and microwave-safe containers, and, above all, a can opener. Keep in mind your own cooking skills and schedule, whether you're on a school meal plan, and what cooking facilities are available. Refrigerators and microwave ovens are usually allowed, but learn the size and power limits.
- Toiletries -- It's time- and stress-saving to have things like shampoo and toilet paper on hand when you move in.
- Bed sheets -- Dorm beds typically take extra-long sheets, which you can buy online or through the school.
- Room decorations -- This is your chance to cheer yourself with reminders from home or create a new identity. (Just don't bring anything you don't want new roommates to see.) Plants add color and recycle the air. Calendars can be amusing, inspiring and practical.
- Cleaning supplies -- A dorm needs at least furniture polish and rags for dusting. For a house or apartment, bring cleaners, buckets, brushes and mops.
- Car care needs -- Keep emergency supplies, especially if you're living far from home: extra coolant and motor oil, flares, an aerosol tire sealant and inflator, nonperishable snacks, and bottled water. If needed, also pack a blanket and collapsible snow shovel.
Of course, chances are you'll be be studying in college, too. What are some important school-related things you should bring?