I will admit that I absolutely HATE PACKING : I always leave it to the last minute, I am always afraid that I will forget something, so I always end up bringing too much stuff. When going to University abroad, for a whole year: packing is a real challenge and can be an emotional process. Before jamming all you can in your suitcase and crying because half the stuff you want to take doesn't fit, think strategically. Here are my few tips for packing:
1-Make a list of a) what you NEED to take b) what you WANT to take and c) what you SHOULD take but won't.
2-Ask yourself these essential questions:
- What's the weather going to be like over there?
- How long are you going for?
- By which means of transport are you a) going and b) think you'll come back with?
- How often do you'll be coming back home?
- What will be provided at the place you'll be living at?
- What are the clothes that suits you best?
- Where's my passport?
- What can you easily buy over there?
- Are you a compulsive buyer, and thus going to buy yourself a new wardrobe over there?
- Think of the personal items that you'll like to have with you, when and if you're going to be home sick.
Based on the answers to these questions you'll get a rough idea of how much and what to bring.
3- Make categories like "Clothes", "Shoes", "Important documents", "Electronics", "Kitchen", "Cool/Weird items" (YES I'M BRINGING MY BIG ORANGE BUCKET TO PRAGUE!) etc... so it is easier to check to that you've got everything.
4-Go through all your stuff and sort it between what you want to bring and what you want to leave at home (you'll generally leave all the clothes that you never wear).
5-Put your stuff on display in your room (as shown on the picture above) grouped into your categories so at a glance you can see what's missing and what you should remove.
6- Fold everything so each item takes as little space as possible = you can bring more stuff
7-Find a suitcase/box large enough - put your your staff in as if it was a 3-D version of Tetris- push it all in- weigh it - DONE!