The College Freshman Checklist: Tips for Moving Out of State

Going off to college is always a big move, both physically and mentally. But there’s a big difference between going to college a few miles away from home and going a few hundred miles, which means you should plan differently when you’re moving out of state. The typical college freshman checklist for moving away from home will need adjusting.

Deciding what to pack and what to leave behind becomes critical when it’s probably going to be several months until you’re home again.

“The seasons are likely different than what they’re used to,” says Dawn McMullan, a Texas mother with sons in college in Brooklyn, NY, and Denver, CO. “[My sons] were used to wearing shorts until Thanksgiving, so they didn’t think they’d need winter clothes. That’s something you need to think through.”

Also important are those essential items like prescriptions, retainers, and favorite personal items like photos and maybe a pillow you can’t sleep without. Other than that, McMullan suggests to go for minimalism and remember that “everything you take has to be brought back eventually — plus whatever else they’ve acquired.”

What to Ship and What to Skip

It might be tempting to load up a truck with furnishings and make a road trip out of it, but McMullan says to be selective about what’s staying and what’s going. Both of her sons traveled by airplane, so there was a limit to what could go with them. She recommends buying and washing things like sheets and towels beforehand, then either packing them in an oversized suitcase or shipping them.

“In our case, the stores [near the college] were pretty cleaned out by the time we got there,” she says. “It saved money to buy beforehand, plus they were clean and ready to use when the boys unpacked. Remember that the more you plan, the less you’ll pay.”

It’s easier to pick up items like hangers, trash cans, laundry detergent, soap, and other basic but common necessities once you’re in new surroundings. The same goes for bigger items, like shelves or lamps, which may be difficult to pack or costly to ship.

“Just think about what things you’re going to be more picky about — like sheets and towels — and prioritize those things.”

The Well-Furnished Dorm Room

If you’re going to college close to home, then it may make sense to buy furniture, such as a desk, lamps, mattress, or other items that you can move yourself. For those who are moving out of state, however, McMullan reminds that in addition to the expense of the furniture itself, there’s an expense every time that furniture has to be moved. There’s also the question of what happens to the furniture if you go home for the summer.

Whether living in a dorm room or in an off-campus student apartment, keeping the number of new items acquired to a minimum can help keep costs down and resolves the problem of what to do with those items over summer break or if you decide to attend a different school.

As you’re researching tips for moving out of state for college, check and see what CORT Furniture Rental can do to provide everything you need to make your new dorm room or apartment feel like home.

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