Packing for College in Another State

Young girl moving to college holding a bin filled with stuff
 Ariel Skelley/Blend Images/Getty Images

Packing your things and moving to college is difficult enough, add in a long distance move, and things get a little more complicated. If you're moving to another state, across the country or to another country, then these tips on how to pack and move are just for you.

Sort Your Stuff

If you're moving far away for college and won't be back home for a while, it's a good idea to sort through your closet and drawers, dividing your things into three piles: 1) keep, 2) giveaway and, 3) throw away. If you're having a hard time deciding what's a "keeper" and what's not, ask yourself when the last time you wore it or used it.

Once you have your keep pile, set it aside and tackle the giveaway and toss piles first. If you know of a friend, sibling, cousin, or another worthy person who might want the things you're giving away, ask if they can use it. Chances are you'll find a good home for your once-loved things. If not, maybe check with a neighbor, friend, or your parents to see if anyone is planning a summer garage sale—or have one your own. Garage sales are a great way to make some extra cash while clearing out the clutter.

The things you can't give away, donate to charity. There are lots of charities around that will take gently-used items. Just make sure that your things aren't ripped or broken or chipped. Stuff that's in poor condition should be added to your "toss" pile. Remember to not be too hasty in throwing things away. You may want to set aside childhood keepsakes you may want later, just in case.

Plan for 3 to 6 Months

Try to think about what you'll need at school for the next three to six months—think seasons. What are the essential clothing pieces you'll need in the fall and what can carry you through to the winter if you plan on staying away from home longer? Think of packing only essential pieces, like a coat, boots, a couple of pairs of shoes, etc. Don't take every jacket or coat you own, rather, pair down as much as possible.

If it helps, divide your clothes by season. You'll probably find that your fall clothes can substitute for spring quite easily depending on where you'll be studying and the local climate. Don't take it if you aren't sure you'll wear it that much; again, think essentials, not "maybes."

Buy Things There

Don't stock up on school supplies at home that you'll only have to move with you. Plan to buy some of your essentials at your new location, especially items that are easy to find. In addition to school supplies, rethink whether you want to pack all your toiletries (e.g., shampoo, soap, etc.). Toiletries can be heavy and bulky. It might be better to go shopping after you arrive and it will be more fun, too, and a great way to get to know your new city or town.

Textbooks should also be purchased at your new school. Try not to take books with you. You'll have access to libraries, bookstores, and textbook shops where you're going.

Stuff to Ship

Set aside the stuff that you aren't packing for immediate to be shipped later. If you have time, you can even prepare it for shipping. Box it up and leave instructions for your parents or friends to send at a later date. You can also decide how best to ship your things to your new home, so you're not leaving this decision to the last minute.