Starting school can be one of the most important steps in your life – this will set you up for the future in terms of knowledge, skills, and friendships but can also be one of the most stressful times as well. This is the time when most children move away from home for the first time.
Moving away to college was one of the most transformative experiences for me as well. Even though I moved away from home to study abroad a year earlier, this is the first time that I realized that I am becoming an adult.
With this being such a pivotal moment in every student’s life, sorting out practicalities like how much clothing to bring to college can help you out in different ways. You will need to find an optimal way to pack. Having your wardrobe sorted out can help you relieve the stress of moving to the unknown and the anxiety about what is to come.
Why Is Your Wardrobe so Important?
As I mentioned above, finding and packing the right clothes for college can help you add a sense of control in a situation that is completely new and unpredictable. It can be hard to know how much clothing to bring to college.
You are going to meet new people, learn new skills, and attend very different events – most of which for the first time. With all of this in the pipeline, having your wardrobe organized, clean, and practical can give you a sense of security.
Dress to Impress
Another very important thing is – Eat to please thyself, but dress to please others, as Benjamin Franklin puts it. Some of the people you meet in college will be an important factor in your future. Some of these people you will have around for a very long time as friends or as a part of your professional calling.
You want to dress accordingly and paint a certain picture of yourself.
Which Look are You Looking for?
When I started law school, I knew what look I was going for. I wanted to look business oriented and professional, so I packed my wardrobe with white shirts of all kinds and pencil and pleated skirts. I also wanted to stand out in a class of 650 people – that is why I also brought a bright red coat and strong statement pieces that are loud and grab attention.
Make a vision board of how you want your professors, peers, and future colleagues to see you. Are you in the art or entertainment industry? If so you need to look unique and original. If are you majoring in sports, then you can spend most of your time in tracksuits or outdoors.
Yes, you can wear a college hoodie, but using clothes to paint a picture that will serve you professionally is a big advantage.
How Much Clothing to Bring to College
Now that you have a general idea about what your wardrobe needs to look like – let’s dive into the quantities.
Every college student knows that this is very individual. It depends on many factors like lifestyle, available closet space, transportation, distance from your home, and how often you visit home – all of which you should take into account.
Everyone is Different
You have to find a silver lining that works for you – that is very individual.
However, there are some rules that can help everyone pack, organize, and move. More is not always the merrier.
You don’t need your entire wardrobe to take on with you. As a matter of fact, you shouldn’t. You need to separate clutter and hyper pieces you wear once in a blue moon with the staples.
Embracing New Chapter
I find that events like these are a great opportunity to clear some space in our life both practically and symbolically. Letting go of material things from the past and creating space for the new can be great therapeutic exercises to prepare you mentally for the next stage in your life.
My 4 Baskets System
What I did at that time is that I took out every piece of clothing on my bedroom floor and prepared 4 baskets, each one of them labeled to show what I wanted to do with that pile of clothes in them.
I divided everything into 4 groups: clothes I want to take with me, clothes that I want to keep in my memory box as a souvenir, clothes that I want to let go of and give away, and the clothes that have served their purpose and are ready to go to recycling
When I do this practice, I try to make an experience out of it. I don’t rush it, or try to speed up the process. This is a great time to reflect on the past and think of the future you want to create. Each piece of clothing I pick up sparks different emotions in me. I sit with it and decide whether this is something I want to include in my new chapter or leave behind.
Letting Go of the Past
Letting go of certain items is very important – you have to let go of everything that doesn’t match your vision for the future. Also, embrace the empty space that you are creating. Accept that you are creating space for new experiences, people, and items by doing so.
Creating Your Memory Box
One of the things I love in this process is creating a memory box. This is a box or basket that you use to dispose of items that have sentimental value and remind you of important events but are no longer part of your day-to-day life. This is where I dispose of my old rowing leotards, AP Calc team shirts, drama section costumes, and my ex-boyfriend’s hoodies.
One of the techniques you can use when packing for college is the KonMarie method. Marie Kondo, the genius lady behind this idea, teaches you how to create a space filled with items that spark joy for you. KonMarie method is a very specific step-by-step technique. However, you can also have your own take on the method once you grasp the idea behind it.
One thing I learned when it comes to clothes, unlike what you might expect – with years you have fewer and not more items.
When I first went to college I packed 3 suitcases. I packed everything I could think of.
Just one example would be shoes. I brought shower shoes, gym shoes, 2-3 pairs of flats, heels, 3-5 pairs of ballet flats, 1-2 pairs of boots, my favorite pair of slippers, and of course snow boots, waterproof boots, rain boots, and boots for warm weather. I was prepared for all weather conditions. And that’s just footwear.
By the time I started my 4th semester, I was down on one pair of white sneakers, one pair of black heels, and one pair of ballet flats that you can roll up and keep in a purse.
Mastering the art of a capsule wardrobe will save you tons of time, space, and energy. You will have less decision fatigue and surprisingly more options.
Once you learn how to build a capsule wardrobe, you will see that you have all you need once you have your core capsule. You will use these pieces to create at least 10 outfits that incorporate them.
No matter how limited your space is, there are some items that you should never skip. You should pack workout clothes as staying active will help you with your overall productivity. You should always pack enough pairs of underwear. Also you should have some warm winter clothes, like winter coats, warm socks and so on, just in case.
Conclusion How Much Clothing to Bring to College
How much clothing to bring to college? The answer is very individual. Take into account your lifestyle, occupation, finances, storage space, and climate. No matter your personal situation, having a method to organize your wardrobe for a new chapter in your life will be therapeutic.
One of the best skills when it comes to packing clothing for college is mastering the art of the capsule wardrobe, a minimalistic and smart way to dress. No matter how small your closet space is, don’t forget to pack staples.
Also, remember that college life is a beautiful experience that will teach you tremendous lessons, so enjoy every part of the process including packing!