Bring it or leave it: How to decide if you should move with or without it

Photo Credit: Jessica Lin

When leaving for college or moving out of your parents’ house, you may stress over what closet staples to stuff into your suitcase in an attempt to bring all of your favorite outfits and then some.

For students traveling from out-of-state or driving several hours from another city, you’re most likely going to be limited to one or two suitcases full of clothes to bring on move-in day. 

Now, for those of you who live in or around Austin, you might be tempted to bring four suitcases of clothes and another one just for shoes. I’ve got news for you: if you’re living in a dorm (or in certain cases in an apartment), that’s not practical.

There are ways to prioritize what you need to bring so that you don’t end up taking five suitcases of clothes home at the end of the semester.
Think about it this way: if you didn’t wear it that often at home, you’re not going to wear it at school. Remember the basics. It’s always convenient to have pieces that can be mixed and matched for unlimited numbers of outfits. A good rule to stick to is to never take more than three pairs of any one item that can be interchanged. That goes for jeans, shorts, dresses and jackets. 

Since most of your time will be spent walking across campus, it is most important to dress for the weather. No matter what season it is, your body will always generate heat walking around campus. With that being said, usually less is more, even in the winter. On days when you think you need a coat, you could probably get away with a light jacket.

Since Texas winters are fairly mild, leave the heavy coats at home. They take up more space in a suitcase and in your closet. Instead, use long-sleeve shirts, sweaters and jackets to layer. This method also works better for walking across campus, so you can easily take off one layer when it gets warmer later in the day.

Shoes are another entity entirely. Comfortable walking shoes are something to keep in mind. They don’t have to be tennis shoes, but you don’t want to be rushing to class in a pair of shoes that are giving you a blister the whole time. Keep the shoes to a minimum because they can be bulky and take up more space. If you just can’t live without them, the best way to store them is in a hanging shoe rack. This will allow you to stack them vertically and hang easily in your closet.

If you have a lot of tops, there is a simple way to organize them efficiently to utilize the most drawer space (because hanging space will be minimal). Instead of stacking shirts into vertical piles, you should make horizontal rows. Start by folding the shirts in half length-wise and tucking in the sleeves as you do so. Then vertically fold it in half twice. This makes a nice rectangle that allows you to still see the design of the shirt when placed in horizontal rows in your drawer. 

While your closet may suffice for your summer clothes, when winter comes around you’ll be desperate to find more space. My tip is to use storage bins to store unneeded summer clothes and keep them under your bed. That way your closet is cleared out to make room for winter clothes, and you don’t have to send all of your summer clothes back home. And since the winters are so mild, you may find yourself digging through your summer clothes to find something suitable for the warmer days.