What to Pack for College

This is the first of what will probably be quite a few back to school posts. But I'm sort of just now realizing that this is the last time I will be in this back to school mode. If you didn't already know, I only have one semester left of college. 
Anyway, I just finished up my internship and I am trying to start thinking about packing. Oh and shoutout to Katie, from Chic in Carolina for responding to my tweet and suggesting to make a "what to pack for college" post. I was out of post ideas and I can actually use this myself! So here is how I have packed for college the last three years, and will be doing all over again next week. It's a pretty long winded post, but I hope you find it helpful!

My school is 8 hours from home, so at the beginning and end of the year my parents drive with me to move in and out, but I fly back and forth for breaks, Freshman and sophomore year we just took my mom's SUV to move everything in and out. Last year, (and this year) I wanted to have my car up at school (that I didn't get until right after I finished sophomore year) so we had the SUV and my small car. Wow, is it easier with the two cars! My dad did become a pro at what he calls "packing tetris" in the SUV though! But if you're an incoming freshman that isn't allowed to have a car on campus (mine was that way) getting it all into one car isn't that difficult. 

I usually bring way too much stuff up to school, but for this one semester I'm trying to really cut that down (you're welcome roommates!). Now for packing clothes, here are my typical outfits for fall, winter, and spring. However I should say that I typically have a good medium of dressed up and dressed down for class.

Typical College Outfit: Fall

1. Sweatshirt or light sweater, or a long sleeve tee, pack them all! They're always nice for chilly days
2. Basic skinny jeans, easily my most worn item, but I know a lot of college that switch them out for leggings instead 
3. Puffer vests, the best for fall, this one is my favorite
4. Riding boots (I have these in a different color)
5. Lighter scarves
6. I prefer a tote over a backpack, but this is obviously for all of the other seasons too!
7. Baseball caps for those bad hair days, like the bag, can be used in all seasons

Typical College Outfit: Winter

1. Thick sweaters, just because winter (this one is actually still available on major sale!)
2. Jeans, again. I also wear some corduroys in the winter because they're a little warmer
3. Snow boots, my best friend at school. It snows from November- April, so I have 2 older pairs of these Sperry boots and they have served me well!
4. Camp socks, keep your feet nice and warm for walking across campus through snow!
5. Thick scarves, the wider the better because if the wind is really bad they can cover part of your face (maybe that's only needed where I go to school though...) when walking to class.
 6. Big puffer coat, the longer ones are very nice for walking around campus

Typical College Outfit: Spring

All of this I also wear the first few weeks of school when it's still hot out:

1. T shirt dress, so easy and comfy to just put on and go to class, my favorite are Lilly Pulitzer
2. Long sleeve tee, stripes are my favorite for shorts, skirts, and pants
3. Chino shorts
4. White jeans, always a nice alternative to regular jeans when it's warmer out
5. Sandals
6. Rain boots, not sure what I would do without these. Like the items in the fall post, I also wear these a lot in the fall too (they don't do very well in the winter though).
7. Umbrella, same as the rain boots. When you're walking all the way across the campus, and my campus is really small...it's always great to have at least the umbrella or rain boots with you.

But of course I also include, pajamas, work out clothes, underwear, socks, etc. for the whole year.

Also, limit the amount of t shirts you bring because you lots of either free or very cheap ones in college. I probably have up to like 12 by now, and my school doesn't even have a Greek system. But I know they get t shirts all the time!

And for the packing itself I find it easiest to put clothes in space bags and storage containers!


College Decor

I usually have some prints on my wall (see a post from last year for some of that) that you can print out and put on the wall with washi tape! I also use some things on my desk like this Lilly Pulitzer tray, a wooden monogram I painted (see the top photo of this post), and a jewelry organizer on a wall. A little tray like in the above set would also be great for organizing smaller pieces of jewelry.

And of course all of your bedding! And fun pillows and things like that, mine is mostly white, I honestly rarely ever make my bed though...

And if you're looking for for some free prints, Classy Cathleen has made a huge round up post for those!


College bathroom

If you have a communal bathroom, portable shower caddys and shower shoes are a must! I've always had my own bathroom in college, but I used to spend summers in dorms at ballet intensives that had communal bathrooms. If you have your own bathroom, you will probably need a hanging shower caddy, a shower curtain, a bath mat, a toothbrush holder, soap dispenser, a mini trash can
And then the basics like:
Shampoo, conditioner, body wash
Hair dryer (the one I use), straightener (the one I use), curling iron (the one I use), and I love this holder for them!
Toothbrush, toothpaste, retainers if you have them
Facial cleanser and makeup remover

Other college needs

This is the most random assortment of things, but I promise they're all useful!

1. Brita water filter (yes I did a sponsored Instagram post for them, but this part is all on my own), seriously they're the best
2. Travel mug
3. Water bottle
4. Laptop case, to bring to class and the library
5. Power strip, for all of your chargers and adapters
6. Steamer, much easier than an iron
7. Vaccuum, and other cleaning supplies (if my family or roommates are reading this, they're probably laughing that I even included that...)
8. Laundry basket and detergent, and quarters if you have to pay for your laundry
9. Microwave
10. Printer, my school has free printing in some of the main buildings like the library, the union, the academic buildings, but it's much more convenient when you finish a paper at 3am to print it out at your own place!
11. Keuring, I use mine at least once a day!

And last but not least your school supplies! I usually don't buy mine until I get to school. However, I'll have a post dedicated just to that coming up soon!

And although you're probably not even thinking about moving out of college and the end of the year, here's a little tip for moving out.
 If you also live far away from your school, storage units are great. My roommates are all fromfar away places too so we shared one after freshman and sophomore year. My parents and I planned on getting one for just me this year but we were actually able to fit it all in the 2 cars!

Thanks for reading!
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  1. Thanks for sharing Cara! I loved seeing this and will definitely be saving this post for using my freshmen year (in two years!).


  2. This is super helpful! I always always always overpack. :-)
    Julia // Little Miss Haute Couture

  3. Thank you so much for sharing! I'm frantically trying to finish up my packing for my first year of college. Best of luck to you on your last semester!
    Marisa Quinn

  4. Great tips !! Makes me wish I was going back to college :)

  5. These are such great in-depth tips, thanks for sharing!!
    xo, Syd