College students know the ups and downs of the fall semester. The excitement of going to sporting events and seeing your friends. The piles of work each week that seem endless. And the unmatched joy of knowing that a break is right around the corned. Fall is the best because it’s filled with fun mini breaks that help to make the semester feel less tiresome. One of the challenges though is deciding what and what not to pack. If you’re anything like me, packing can be a real nightmare that leads to your bag being stuffed fatter than the Thanksgiving turkey.
After years and years of overpacking (three years of boarding school and 4 years of college), I think I finally have found the perfect system that avoids piles of clothes and a bag that won’t zip.
The key is to try and plan your outfits in advance. This helps to alleviate the panic of “I need to pack this too because I might wear it!” Trust me, you probably won’t. Half the stuff I packed was stuff that I wanted to wear but didn’t put together in a full outfit, so it just got thrown to the side and then repacked.
The best place to start is with a clean space. Clutter around you only makes packing seem more overwhelming and puts things in your line of sight that you may accidentally end up throwing in too.
Before I pack, I always tidy my room and make sure my bed is made. It gives me peace of mind and a clean spot to lay out my clothes. It’s always best to do laundry first too (that’s a big stretch though, especially if half the reason you are so eager to go home is so that you can finally do your laundry in peace without fear that some random is going to waltz by and steal your dryer).
Once you have a clear space in front of you, plan out one outfit for each day that you are home. Sometimes I start by writing out a list, sometimes I start by laying out clothes…it all depends!
When you’re planning think of what you’ll be doing that day. I know for certain that I won’t want to be wearing a skirt and heels on Black Friday, when I’m running around like a crazy person. And I know that I won’t want anything tight fitted on Thursday because I plan to eat my weight in food (mostly dessert).
As you’re going through your outfit plans, make sure to ask yourself “will I actually wear this?” If the answer is yes, then put it in the pile, if the answers no, it’s best to leave it at home. It’s also good to try and think of pieces that you can wear multiple times. I planned at least two outfits around my tan vest so that’s one less thing I need to pack.
Be sure to be realistic with yourself. You probably won’t be home for more than a week, so you probably don’t need to pack three different pairs of jeans and 5 different pairs of leggings. I try and keep it to one pair of jeans, one pair of nice black pants, and a pair of leggings. Also try to keep in mind what you already may have at home. I know that I keep extra pajamas at home so I don’t need to worry about taking them back and forth.
The one thing you can never pack too much of is socks, I always seem to need more socks! Try and keep your shoes to a minimum as well. This is where I always struggle the most! I want to bring home all my boots and flats and booties and they just take up so much space! This year I am sticking with my tan boots (last seen here), my black heeled booties, my black Tory Burch flats, and my Hunter rain boots. Even that is probably too many pairs but hey, nobody’s perfect!
Anyway, once you’ve chosen all of your outfits and consolidated as much as possible, try and find a bag that will hold everything. I sometimes pick a bag that is too small and end up with multiple. My go to for weekends are the Vera Bradley Large Duffles. They come in lots of pretty prints and hold everything!
If you need a little inspiration, here is my packing list for this year. A few more things may slip in, like my cozy blanket scarf, but for the most part this is it!
Now that you’re packed and ready to go you can sit back and relax and think of all the delicious food you get to eat!
Do you guys have any go-to packing advice? Or any suggestions on what bags are good for travel (I’m always on the hunt for new ones!)? Feel free to share below!