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Making the Move to the College Campus

Off-to-College Checklist


Use this checklist to make sure you have everything you need for your first year at college. These are just suggestions; you should adapt this list to suit your own situation.
To save packing or shipping, it might make sense to buy some of these items after you arrive. It might also make sense to pack for one season at a time and switch items when you go home during breaks.
Check off as you pack.

Bedside lamp • Alarm clock/clock radio
Mini trash can • Storage bins
Under-the-bed storage trays • Desk lamp
Fan • Drying rack for laundry
Bulletin board and pushpins
Dry-erase wall calendar/board
Mini toolkit (including screwdriver, hammer, wrench)
Picture hangers (double-sided tape for concrete walls)

Sheets and pillowcases (2 sets. Check with college for size needed — some college twin beds are extra long.)
Towels (3 each of bath, hand and face)
Pillows (2) • Blankets (2)
Mattress pad (check with college for size needed)
Comforter/bedspread • Clothes hangers
Laundry bag/basket
Laundry detergent, fabric softener and stain remover
Lint brush • Mini sewing kit

Electronic storage media such as memory cards and USB flash drives
Stapler and staples
Printer paper (if you decide to bring a printer)
Pens and pencils • Pencil holder and sharpener
Notebooks • Folder with pockets
Labels of various sizes • 3 × 5 index cards
Sticky notes • Paper clips and binder clips
Rubber bands • Tape • Scissors
Highlighter pens (multiple colors) • Ruler
Stackable desk trays (at least 4)
Stamps and envelopes

Laptop (printer is optional; there are usually computer labs where you can print)
Portable speakers (if you want to play music from laptop/MP3 player)
HDMI cord, Ethernet cord for computer (check if your room has wireless)
Surge protector • Extension cords
3-2 prong adapters • MP3 player
Headphones • Camera
Cell phone

SHARED ITEMS (Check with roommates)
Audio equipment • TV and DVD player
Coffeemaker/hot pot/microwave, if allowed
Small refrigerator (if not provided)
Area rug • Posters/art

Antacid • Aspirin or other pain relievers
Vitamins • Antidiarrheal medicine
Adhesive bandages, antibiotic ointment
Cough drops • Shower caddy
Shower shoes (flip-flops)
Shampoo and conditioner
Hairstyling products • Bath and face soap
Travel soap container(s)
Toothpaste and toothbrush
Dental floss • Comb/brush • Tweezers
Nail clippers
Hair dryer/straightener/curling iron
Razor and shaving cream • Cotton swabs
Lotion and/or facial moisturizer

Underwear and socks • Pants/jeans
Shirts/blouses • Sweats
Pajamas • Slippers and/or flip-flops
Sweaters • Light/heavy jackets
Gloves/scarf/hat (and other foul-weather gear as needed)
1 pair of boots
2 pairs of sneakers or comfortable/walking shoes
1 set of business-casual clothes
1 pair of dress shoes • 1 swimsuit

Paper towels • Trash bags • Lightbulbs
All-purpose cleaner • Plastic storage bags
Food-storage containers • Dish soap
Wet wipes • Tissues • Bowl, plate and cup
Coffee mug • Water bottle • Silverware
Can/bottle opener • Miscellaneous
Umbrella • Backpack • Sports equipment

Moving to a college campus is an exciting experience for both students and parents. Whether you’re destined for the dorms or will be sharing a modest apartment with other students, you’ll need to pack strategically and move mindfully so you get just what you need to feel comfortable and be productive.

The moving experts at Penske Truck Rental offer 10 smart tips to help make college moves go smoothly:

1. Verify move-in dates
Colleges establish dates when students can move into on-campus housing. If you’ll be leasing an apartment off campus, agree with the landlord and any roommates on a date for your move. Once you know when you can move in, you can start preparing.

2. Use a checklist
When packing, use your college-provided checklist as a guide, and start setting aside the essential items needed to make your first term at school a success. College dorm rooms and apartments tend to be small, so avoid bringing unnecessary clothing, knickknacks or valuables and plan to revisit home to retrieve seasonal items later.

3. Ready tools
Gather cardboard boxes, packing tape, bubble wrap, scissors, moving blankets and markers so they are ready for packing. Keep in one location for easy access.

4. Reserve a moving truck
Make sure you call at least two weeks ahead of your moving date to reserve a moving vehicle from Penske. A 12- to 16-foot truck is typically the ideal size to transport the contents of a dorm room or apartment, but these trucks book fast during the college moving season, so a reservation is recommended.

5. Label all boxes
Start packing several days ahead to reduce stress, saving daily-use items for the last 24 hours. Mark the outside of packed boxes with your name and descriptions so contents are unmistakable and will be easy to find even if mixed with other students’ belongings.

6. Keep necessities separate
Instead of inadvertently packing away important papers, identification, credit cards, medications, glasses or contacts and other important items, set aside a special bag you’ll keep in your car during your travels. Make sure to bring this bag with you or secure it in a locked space during any stops.

7. Pack the truck strategically
Position heavier items in the back of your vehicle before proceeding with lighter items. Not only does this allow you to fit smaller and lighter items into the remaining spaces, but that positioning helps to optimize the vehicle’s power so it drives better and you get more efficient gas mileage.

8. Drive safely
Driving a moving truck is different than driving a normal vehicle. Handling the extra size, height and weight requires that you avoid sharp turns, brake earlier before stopping and navigate around low branches and building overhangs.

9. Drive strategically
Depending on the length of your drive, you should consider pre-mapping your route, reviewing weather forecasts, avoiding rush hour and leaving yourself extra time for breaks, refueling and unloading.

10. Stay secure
Unfortunately, college students are a target for theft during the hectic moving process. Protect your belongings by parking only in well-lit and well-attended areas when you stop, and padlocking the back doors of your vehicle when it’s not in use.

Enjoy the excitement of moving to college without the stress when you follow these 10 simple tips. For more insight on making your move to campus smooth and easy, visit