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How to Pack Your Clothes for College

A mother and son pack clothes in a box for college.

Let’s be honest, packing your clothes isn’t high on the list of the best parts of the college experience. However, it must be done, and you’ll have to do it multiple times through the years. The first couple of steps to packing for college is knowing how much to pack and what to pack.

Collegeboxes is here to help you ace packing your clothes for college. We have supplies, techniques, and tips to make the process as easy as possible.

1. Decide What to Pack

What should you bring? That depends on a few circumstances. Where is your college? What are you going to be doing? What clothes do you love and can’t live without? 

If your school is in Arizona, you’ll need more shorts. Heading up to the Midwest? You probably need to bring a few jackets and coats for the winter weather. 

Ultimately, your wardrobe is up to you. If you go to the gym a lot, you need multiple workout outfits. If you love wearing baggy sweatshirts to class, make sure you pack two or three in case the shared laundry gets backed up, and it will. 

Remember, you’re likely to go home during semester break and can always switch out clothes. So, don’t overthink it too much! 

2. Packing the Right Amount

Whether you’re moving to a dorm room or renting your first apartment, the closet there isn’t very big. It’ll be impossible to bring your entire wardrobe from home to college with you. But how much of it should you bring? We recommend bringing about 2-3 weeks’ worth of clothes to wear while at college. The versatility of your outfits will determine if you have more or fewer clothes. 

We encourage you to bring enough underwear for three weeks, and multiple pairs of shoes that have different uses. Try to stay basic, the more a shirt or a pair of pants can be used for various outfits, the more outfits you can have without having too many clothes. Don’t worry, if you need a new piece for your closet that’s okay, everyone buys more clothes once they get to college too. 

3. Pack an Outfit for Special Occasions

Another thing to consider is your routine during the school year. Are you planning on working during the semester? Will you try to be a part of a fraternity or sorority? If that’s the case, you’ll need a few classier outfits for job or Greek Life interviews.  

Even if you don’t plan on doing those things, you should still pack one nice outfit. College is about experiences; those experiences show up in a variety of ways. An internship related to your dream job could open or you might have to put on your best look for a date. It’s better to have an outfit ready than to scramble to find one. 

4. How to Pack Your Clothes in a Box

Duffel bags, suitcases, and other types of luggage work wonders for packing clothes for college. But don’t underestimate the extra space and versatility provided by cardboard boxes!  

When using boxes, avoid over-stuffing. Using another box won’t hurt anyone. This keeps your boxes light and prevents the bottom of the box from falling out. Although a medium to large sized box can fit a lot of different items, that doesn’t mean you have to throw everything into one box. 

Separate the boxes based on shoes, clothing, or other accessories to make them easier to unpack. Try the “military fold,” which essentially means rolling your clothes into tight bundles, when it comes to lightweight clothing. Do a standard flat fold for jeans, sweaters, and other larger pieces of clothing.

Pro Tip: The Collegeboxes Supply Kit has everything you need to pack your wardrobe and then some!

The kit comes with 5 double-walled boxes, 1 roll of packing tape, 5 zip ties, 1 marker and 10 label pouches.

5. Keep Clothes on Hangers

If you don’t want to fold all your shirts and other items that hang, wardrobe boxes are a great choice. Wrapping a trash bag around hangers trick is a useful trick, that is until the bag rips and makes life harder on you. Wardrobe boxes let you store clothes on hangers fast and simple, and you won’t have to deal with tearing/breaking.  

6. Consider Shipping Your Clothing

Are you shipping your clothes? You need to know how much fits into the box if you’re using services like Ship to School and Direct Shipping through Collegeboxes. How much can you fit in one Collegebox? You can fit a lot of clothes. Including a list of other things, you can fit five t-shirts, two pairs of jeans, two pairs of shorts, one hoodie, and a winter coat. If you dedicate certain boxes to clothes only, you can probably fit everything in five boxes, which you can get and more in a Collegeboxes supply fit. 

If you need more help, don’t be afraid to ask your parents. Parents, here are 10 tips for your freshman to learn how to pack for college

When you need to move to school, Collegeboxes is the No.1 student storage and shipping provider, powered by U-Haul. We serve over 350 schools across the country for all your college needs. After you pack your clothes, sign up with us, and we’ll handle the rest.