Packing Tips: Keep it Simple

We gathered information from seasoned parents to help plan for an exciting and fulfilling year. The message from all seems to be the same–keep it simple! Here are our top tips to get you started:

  1. Bring as little as possible: Rooms are small and storage/closet space is limited. Every room is fully furnished, with an explicit request from the Dean’s office that it remains that way. Fire codes prohibit many items so refer to the Packing List. Also it is fun to let the decor of the room evolve during the year–come equipped but leave room to add “flair” along the way. Posters, pillows and throws are easy to buy online or in the many second-hand shops in the nearby towns.
  2. Ship ahead: The always-helpful folks in DA’s Shipping and Receiving office will accept packages in mid-August. Visit Shipping and Receiving for more about their services during move-in and throughout the school year. Boomerang Storage Company will accept all incoming students’ packages received by August 25th and will deliver them directly to your child’s dorm room at the start of school (up to 5 boxes costs $75). Boxes are defined as: clothes, books, school supplies, and shipments from Amazon, Staples, etc. Don’t forget to include your student’s name and dorm. See Boomerang contact information.
  3. Wardrobes will evolve: In addition to the suggestions on the Packing List, take a look at the Dress Code guidelines as you decide what to pack. While some girls spend time thinking about what to wear each day, many boys do not. In fact, some boys are likely to wear the same blazer for weeks at a time! Start with a solid assortment of basics (blazers, button-down shirts, ties, shorts, pants, sneakers, dress shoes and flip flops) and add as needed for seasons and preferences. For the girls, flexible basics (sweaters, shirts and skirts, a few dresses, and comfortable shoes as there is a lot of walking throughout the day) can be combined in many ways and livened up with scarves and other accessories to extend options. “Two layers” is a helpful guide for Dress Code shopping for girls. As with room decor, it is best to err on the side of less to begin the year and let them figure out what they like, use most and need as they go along.
  4. Don’t overstock essentials: With limited dorm space there is no need to keep a large supply of toiletries, food or other ongoing items. Plastic storage bins on wheels that slide under beds are helpful. The Hitchcock House carries school supplies, inexpensive posters are found at, Amazon has everything, and Target, CVS, Big Y Supermarket and BJ’s are all nearby.
  5. Miscellaneous: This list of items from home simplify set-up on move-in day: screwdriver, hammer, scissors, tape for labels and storage, S-hooks and fishing line to hang picture frames on molding, laundry marker, permanent marker for labeling clothes and other personal belongings, and liquid laundry detergent if your child will use the washing machines located in dorm basements.
  6. Let your student be in charge: If your son or daughter tackles the packing list at home and is in charge of the unpacking at school, it will pay off in the long run. They will know what they have, have what they like and know where it is. This is no guarantee that they will have a spotless room but it sets the tone that they are capable, equipped and responsible for their belongings.