• Kat Fenton

The Ultimate Packing List

For a recent college grad who just got their first full time gig.

That's right, I'm moving again and if you're reading this, it probably means you are too. The only difference between us is that I doubt you've moved cross-country 4 times in the last year. So the first step on your journey to moving out is to pair all of your stuff down. Those heels you haven't worn in 2 years, toss 'em. Those stacks of old college books (if you haven't already) throw them out the window. Try to get rid of as much stuff as possible. The less you have to move, the cheaper it will be. If you're sentimental like me and find it hard to get rid of old junk, put aside a small box of mementos. Little things like the teddy bear from your childhood or that flower crown from your first renaissance fair can go in there.


The next step is to determine how you're moving. Is your company paying for a full service move? Do they just cover a u-haul? Are you towing your car behind the u-haul or vice versa? How long do you have to move? These are all important questions. If your company was so kind as to cover a full service move, you can kick back and watch as other people pack your life away into a nice big truck. If you're like me and you are getting a u-haul, it's time to roll up your sleeves and get to work. A lot of guides tell you to go room by room and start early, but my life isn't organized enough to even try to lie to myself like that.


Folding is great, but rolling up your clothes, particularly t-shirts, saves a lot more room

I recommend starting with your smallest peice of luggage and putting the essentials in there. Pack that bag like you would for a normal vacation. A few pairs of clothes, toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush, shampoo, conditioner, soap, makeup, and maybe an extra pair of shoes. If you have extra room, pack more clothes in there. I would highly recommend rolling up your clothes to save as much space as possible.


Once you've got your first bag packed, move on to your next piece of luggage. Put as much of your remaining wardrobe in here as possible. You probably still have some clothes left after this, so go ahead and put them in a box (or another storage container) and make sure to label it. If you want to be super organized and have the time, you can separate your clothes by season. I wear sweaters in 100°F heat though so that doesn't really work for me. Once the clothes are all set and done, start packing up the shoes. The more you have, the more space you'll need so I recommend pairing down your selection. I find that sneakers, 2 pairs of flats (one grey one blue), hiking boots, flip flops, 2 pairs of boots (one black and one brown), and 2 pairs of pumps (same as the boots) are all I need. It sounds like a lot, but it all fits in one medium size box so it's perfect.


You can get Tie Downs(4) for large furniture from Home Depot for $15 and packing tape from the Dollar Tree for $1. Save money!

After clothes and shoes are done, I'll move on to sheets and blankets. If I have room in any of my clothing boxes, I'll put most of those in there. If not, they get their own box. If you're really strapped for cash, you can wrap your breakables (plates, glasses, photos, etc) in your thicker blanket and pack them with your sheets. Just make sure you label those boxes as fragile and make a note of exactly whats in there. You can see I'm kind of transitioning into the kitchen here. I tend to just resell plates and silverware if I have time. They're pretty cheap to buy (you can get a dish-ware pack on Amazon for as little as $15) if you're hopping from place to place. I do keep my pots and pans though since those are non-stick and super cute. I recommend wrapping these in butcher paper, which you can buy at u-haul and other moving stores. It's cheaper than bubble wrap and provides the same amount of protection.


Once you're done with the kitchen, it's time for everything else. This usually means miscellaneous decorations and in my case, plants. Plants can be difficult to move so I have a few recommendations regarding these. Put all of the plants you are moving in one place, preferably an open top box, one or two days before loading. I like to put my plants in my car the night before my move, so I don't have to worry about them getting damaged by the movers. I also don't put them in the back of the moving truck since it's going to take me 3 days to move cross country and they need sun to live.


Of course, I'm also traveling with my kitties. This one can be tough as they aren't as outgoing as dogs. However, there are some tricks to making sure your feline isn't yowling the entire trip.First things first, leave your carrier open and put a blanket or bed they like in it a day or two before you move. Put them in your car last! In the meantime, leave them in the bathroom or someplace quiet where they won't be underfoot. The less they are part of the move, the less stress they will experience. I also take a food and water bowl, litter box, and 2 cat huts for them to sleep in overnight. I leave the litter box empty while traveling though and have them go potty outside at rest stops.


If you didn't feel like reading through the entire article, here's a quick bullet list of to do's on and before packing day:


• Put your plants in the car the night before your move

• Make sure your pets are well acquainted with their carriers

• Start by packing an essentials bag

• Pack your clothes, then your bathroom, sheets, and then kitchen items

• Try to get rid of as many knickknacks and unnecessary items as possible

• Ask your movers for recommendations.


Here's some more articles that I found helpful when moving the first time!

Pack Fast, Move Fast

Moving Your Kids For College

Buzzfeed's Moving Tips

PopSugar's Moving Hacks


Stay tuned for moving in tips such as designing a space, house touring, and more! You can also share these tips and tricks with your friends and family who might have an upcoming move. Got some advice? Feel free to drop it in the comments down below!

Kat Fenton | Little Rock, AR | fentonke@mail.uc.edu

  • Grey Facebook Icon
  • Grey Pinterest Icon
  • Grey Instagram Icon

Kathryn Fenton