Essential Rules: Packing for a Dormby Kelsey Moty on Aug, 08 2012
I would like to think of myself as an expert packer– always finding the perfect balance between underprepared and overpacked. After 19 years of vacations, overnight sports tournaments, and one successful move-in to the dorms, I have come to realize what exactly should be deemed worthy enough to make it into my bag. Whenever I am trying to cram everything into boxes or suitcases, I try to keep a few key rules in mind.
Rule #1: Do I actually use this?
Unless you are conveniently located in the Clark Kerr dorms (the magical place where even in a triple, all the beds magically lay on the floor), space will be limited. When looking at an item, you need to consider thoroughly, “When will I use this?” If it ranks somewhere in the range of ‘sometimes’ to ‘rarely’, consider leaving it at home and see if you end up missing it at all. Chances are you will forget all about it. This is an important rule to abide by – especially you who has too many clothes.
Rule #2: Does the memory need to be represented by an item in my room?
Just because your collection of Pound Purries and stacks of books going as far back as kindergarten have always found a place in your room (or at least a prize spot in your closet) doesn’t mean that they necessarily should make the trip to Berkeley. That’s not to say you shouldn’t bring some things that remind of you home. However, if you bring too many physical representations of old memories, there won’t be much space to add new ones. Pick and choose a few of your favorites and let the rest exist in your mind and your room back home.
Rule #3: How does the needs of Berkeley differ from my hometown?
Chances are there a few differences between the two. If you grew up in Minnesota, you probably won’t need your warmest Winter clothes in Berkeley. Other items, such as fishing poles, skies, etc., might prove to be useless unless you plan on making trips outside of the city.
Tip to all: If you don’t have an umbrella, buy one. Immediately.
Rule #4: Do I need this item before I go home next?
Even an international student or out-of-state student will probably have the chance to go home at least for Winter Break. For those who plan on going home before the cold hits, consider leaving the majority of your warm clothes and blankets home until later when you will actually need them. Don’t be afraid to take your things to Berkeley in multiple trips, especially if you plan on going home within in about month.
Rule #5: Do I have all my bases covered?
While you don’t want to overpack, failing to pack something you absolutely need can be a far worse situation. Don’t let your college experience feel like that one summer vacation to Eureka where you failed to bring a jacket forgetting that it remains in the 60s there even in August. Be thoughtful of all the situations you might come across and plan accordingly.
Basically, everything falls under one rule:
Rule #6: Do I need this?
Some things you do need that you may have not thought of:
- First Aid Kit:
When you are bleeding profusely from the finger and really need a bandage, you will always have one on hand. (Corny pun totally intended.)
- Tool Kit:
For that random, unexpected time when you need to take your closet door off (or maybe that only happens to me?), a screwdriver and hammer will be waiting.
- Small, lightweight vacuum:
Does the dorm come with a vacuum you can check out? Yes.
Will you ever check that vacuum out? No.
Kitchen or not, bring silverware. Eating soup with a plastic fork (the only utensil you can find in your room) is no bueno.
- Power Strip/Extension Cord:
There is never enough outlets and the outlets never seem to be where you need them.
- Ethernet Cord/Router:
Dorm wifi sucks. Enough said.
- Rug (Optional):
No matter how much I vacuumed, the old carpet never quite got clean. What better way to fix a problem than by just covering it up!