How to Master Packing for University: 8 Important Tips for New Students

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How to Master Packing for University: 8 Important Tips for New Students


Packing for university is an art. In fact, packing in general is an art.

Sadly, it’s almost time to say goodbye to summer road trips and beachy tans. Back to school is just around the corner, and if you’re heading away to school for the first time, those jitters might be setting in.

When it’s time to start getting your life together, it’s stressful to make sure you have everything you need and you’re not forgetting anything important. It’s also stressful to try not to overpack and show up to moving day with your entire bedroom packed into way too many suitcases.

These tips will help you master packing for university to take some of the stress away from this amazing experience.

1. Get in Touch With Your Roommates And Coordinate Household Supplies Before You Leave

Many universities now have Facebook groups where you can get in touch with your future roommates and floormates ahead of time. This is particularly useful if you’re heading to an apartment style dorm.

Coordinate with your future roommates and figure out who is going to bring what kitchen item so you don’t end up with 4 sets of dishes. This helps make sure that you’re only packing what you need.

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2. Bring Something That Reminds You of Home

No matter how excited you are about moving away to a new city and starting university, chances are once the reality sets in you’re going to get a little homesick.

This will be especially relevant during the first week, when you’re just starting to make friends and getting used to your classes.

When you start packing for school, throw in something that will remind you of home. It doesn’t matter what it is- it could be a teddy bear, your favourite blanket, or even a couple photos. It’ll bring you comfort when you start missing home or feeling alone.

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3. Ask Yourself 5 Simple Questions For Everything You Pack

The Globe and Mail recommends you ask yourself 5 simple questions while you’re packing to make sure you’re not overdoing it.

  1. Will it be provided?
  2. Can it fit? (This applies to the vehicle as well as your room)
  3. Is it allowed?
  4. Will someone else bring it?
  5. Is it something I can get there?

Your university will let you know what items will be supplied for you when they send you your residence assignment package, which usually includes a dorm packing list.

Additionally, as long as you aren’t going away to school in a remote area, you can usually find basic toiletries on campus. If you don’t have room for these things, just buy them there.


4. Don’t Bring all Your Winter Clothes at Once

In September, the weather is still warm enough where you don’t need your parka and winter boots- unless you’re going away to school in the far north of Canada.

Since you’re still going to be wearing lighter clothing for the first month or two, you don’t need to waste tons of space in your suitcase.

There are exceptions to this. If you’re going away somewhere that’s really far from home, and you don’t know if you’ll be able to get home before winter, then you’ll need to bring all of those items with you. However, if you’re close enough where you can come home for the weekend, you’ll likely be doing so before it starts snowing. You can get your winter clothes then.

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5. Take Only The Necessities at First

Just like your winter clothes, there are some other items you won’t need right away.

Do you need that TV? Probably not. That big bag of decorations for your room? Don’t bother. Chances are you won’t even have much time to decorate because the first few weeks are full of activities and adjustments.

It’s better if you only take what you need for the first few weeks, and then figure out what your room is like before you completely settle in. When you go home for Thanksgiving, or if you go home before then, you can grab more things.


6. Learn the Best Way to Pack a Suitcase

Believe it or not, there is a best way to pack a suitcase. Put the heaviest items on the bottom, then leave your clothes and odd-shaped items for the top. Fill in the spaces with other, smaller items.

You want to maximise every inch of space. Rolling your clothes helps you to maximise this space, and it also helps to eliminate wrinkles. It also helps to roll your clothes around smaller or breakable items to keep them secure in transport.

Try to get as much use out of what you’re bringing and put items inside of other ones. For example, you’ll need a laundry basket, so use it to pack loose or larger items.

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7. Wait Until Your First Week to Get Textbooks

Don’t bother stuffing a bag full of heavy textbooks and class materials and dragging it to school with you. Wait to get your books until you’ve started attending class.

When you go to your first class, your professor will give you a syllabus with the specific books you’ll need. Sometimes this list has been altered at the last minute, and you might not end up needing some of the books you’ve pre-purchased. There’s also the chance you drop the class.

Additionally, it’s extremely expensive to buy books brand new from your campus bookstore. Look for secondhand sales around the first week or so of school. You can also find great deals online on textbooks.

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8. Don’t Overlook Important Documents

During your first week, you’re probably going to need certain documents, like your SIN card or your health card. Bring the papers you’ve received in the mail from your school as well, just incase there’s something you need.

You’re definitely going to need some of these documents to fill out paperwork, especially if you’re receiving a provincial student loan, so it’s best to have them with you.


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