Shopping and packing for college

Packing and moving away to college – even if your campus is within the same state – can be daunting. For many students, it's their first time away from their family and friends. However, moving away to go to college is also one of life's greatest adventures and can be a terrific experience for a lot of young people. Moving away from home isn't something you're likely to get a lot of advice about from your college admissions adviser, so how do you go about actually making it happen?

When you move out of your parent's house, you might be surprised by the amount of things you find yourself needing. Kitchen utensils, trashcans, clothes hangers, laundry bags – the list goes on. One of the first things you should do is talk to your parents about what you think you could do with. As you pack up your things, start making a list of things you know you'll need.

If you're lucky enough to have had a decent-sized room while living at your parents' house, you might be in for a surprise. College dorms are typically smaller than bedrooms in many houses, and you may have to share with someone else, so pack light. Only bring what you absolutely need.

Fortunately, most stores run specials during the early fall as they know that many students are heading off to college, or are going back for the next year. As such, many of the everyday essentials you'll find yourself needing will be on sale. Some stores even sell entire lines of products aimed solely at college students, making it easier to shop in a single store.

When you're out shopping for things you need from your list, try and remember that although it could be tempting to buy the more expensive items, things get broken and damaged. The last thing you want to do is spend a lot of money on things that may need to be replaced. Save your money for books and materials, and stick to the cheaper alternatives for things like trashcans and laundry baskets.

When you're read for the big move, remember that less is more. Sure, you could pack for every possible scenario, but accept that you're probably going to forget something, or find yourself in need of something further down the line when you've already moved in. Set aside some cash for these kinds of emergency purchases so you don't find yourself going without when you've moved into your dorm. 

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