I always dreamed of driving off to college in my own car and the back filled with boxes and suitcases. I ended up going to school about 1,000 miles away from my home and I flew. Let's just say it was not all that fun and packing was a nightmare. I couldn't just fit everything into a car because most of it I couldn't actually bring with me. I had to ship a lot of stuff to school and luckily I had a relative who lived near by who could take some packages. Then when I got to school I had no car and no way of getting to the nearest Target or Container Store to get everything I needed. Here is a list of things you should ship to your campus (or buy when you get there if you can) so you don't have to worry about packing them!
1. Feather Bed (and all other linens and towels) || This will be the best purchase of your entire life. It will transform that dingy mattress to one of similar standards to your bed at home. Pair it with the cutest sheets and comforter and you are all set. Nothing is better than at the end of a long day getting into a comfy bed. Also, you definitely do not want these taking up space in your suitcases that could be used for clothes and shoes.
2. Step Stool || You will probably raise your bed to fit your massive suitcase and other drawers underneath. In doing so, your bed will be almost impossible to get up on so I recommend a stepping stool. Based on what kind you get will determine if you can pack it or if you should ship it. Some people I know had tiny fold up ones while others like me had monstrosities. I actually used one of the cushions from Target that is like a seat with storage in it for extra room! I loved it and it doubled as a seat for when people were over.
3. Vanity Mirror || I know a ton of people that did their makeup in the bathroom but I much prefer to do it at my desk. I would suggest getting one with a light so that you can use it in the morning if your roommate doesn't like you turning on the dorm light if your class is before hers. Definitely ship this bad boy with caution because you don't want to take any chances on the mirror breaking.
4. Vanity Storage || I assumed my freshmen year that I would just end up keeping all my makeup in the makeup bags I brought to school. And while I did end up doing that, I think it would be way easier to have a few little awesome storage devices that you display and so you had easier access to your makeup. Also, maybe get a simple jewelry hanger so you have a place to hang your jewelry instead of keeping it in tins in your desk drawers like I did. This is something you can buy at the container store and have them ship it!
5. Command Hooks || I had cinder block walls in my dorm and absolutely nothing would stick to them. The only thing my friends and I found that worked were the Velcro Command Strips and Hooks. Also, sticky tack worked great for hanging photos! You will use way more of these than you think and other people will definitely need some so stock up. Instead of throwing these in your suitcase, toss them in one of the boxes you ship because you will probably use it with more of that stuff any way.
6. Trashcan || You would think that the dorm would provide one of these for you but they don't. So make sure to remember your own if you don't want to walk all the way to the bathroom every time you need to throw something out. Also, make sure you and your roommate each have a separate one because then you just have to worry about taking out your own trash and not sharing the responsibility which can lead to some unwanted fighting. Fill this with odds and ends and put it in the box too.
7. Notebooks and School Supplies|| If you ship them early there is no worry about forgetting them! That way you have them when you get there and don't have to rush to the bookstore and buy overpriced ones like everyone else.
8. Surge Protector || If your room will be anything like mine we only had two outlets on each side of the room. My surge protector had like 10 plugs and I had things plugged into it at all times! Also, be wary of buying extension cords because most dorms do not allow them because they are fire hazards.
9. Fan || Buy the best fan you can afford because you will need it. My dorm didn't have air conditioning and that first month was a terrible. I felt like I was baking in my own room and it was pure torture. This might have to be something you just buy when you get there...I did and it turned out okay.
10. Huggable Hangers || Best. Invention. Ever. Honestly how did I never think of putting felt on a hanger before? These will save you so much room in your tiny closet. But they are extremely awkward to pack so ship them early.
11. Desk Lamp (and light bulbs) || Don't be like me and remember the lamp but forget the bulbs. This is another clunky item that you cannot travel with and will have to ship or buy there. You need this when it comes to late nights or early mornings when your roommate is asleep and you are up doing work. Also, most dorm rooms are just poorly lit in general and any extra light is needed!
I recommend going to either Bed Bad and Beyond or the Container Store and buying everything there and having them ship it. It saves you so much storage and you usually don't have to pay for all the boxes and shipping then is normal charge. If you know anyone remotely in the area of your school ask them if you can send it there, if not, most schools let you start sending good early because often there are students there for a month in advance who need to use the mail room.
What are some of your college packing essential tips?