Packing for boarding school can seem overwhelming, with too many things to try to remember. Now we’re in Lower Fourth, we’ve had our fair share of packing experience. Here are our top 12 tips that we wished we’d known the first time we packed for school.
This is a classic trap for lots of people. You will pack too many clothes, you won’t wear them and they’ll use up so much space in your wardrobe. Eventually you’ll end up taking it all home defeated.
We recommend a set of comfy clothes – a hoody and trackies which we promise you’ll wear lots; they’re really great for wearing on top of your dance clothes or any activities or events you have in the evening. Add on jeans and a nice top for weekend trips and something smart for socials and you’re almost there! Bring both lightweight and thick pyjamas so you’re ready for all temperatures. Finally we recommend buying both short and long-sleeved school blouses so you’re always prepared whatever the weather.
There is nothing worse than a bare pinboard above your bed. It makes such a difference to cram it with photos of your friends, family and pets. Fairy lights are also a nice touch, which will make your area nice and cosy in the evening. And obviously, don’t forget your teddies!
Similarly to clothes, don’t pack too many pairs of shoes. We think you probably need a pair of mufti shoes for weekend trips, your school shoes, trainers, studs and something you can slip on easily like sliders for when you want to pop outside to call home. It’s important you have a pair of suitable shoes by your bed for the fire alarm; sliders or slippers with a proper sole are a good option.
This one’s simple. Sometimes they fall off, and sometimes you buy new clothes or uniform.
Your new school shoes might look shiny and clean, but wearing them all day at the start of the year can be a challenge if you haven’t worn them in. Your Housemistress will have blister plasters too but it’s always a good idea to bring your own supply.
Usually half way through the term there’s a scramble to order extra folders and file dividers as your notes, past papers and revision pile up. Beat the rush and bring them with you!
This one is an essential. Before coming to School, make sure your parents have topped up your Squid Card account. This is the ID card that you carry around with you and is how you buy things from the school shop and more importantly the café!
Think sensibly and look ahead for each term when packing for school. Will you need three woolly jumpers in Summer Term? Are there lots of socials in Lent Term? Think about the weather and the upcoming events. In the Summer Term of Remove there is a five-day residential trip to an activity centre so it’s important to bring extra appropriate clothing for this.
Wednesday and Saturday evenings are everyone’s favourite in Lower School with the chance to get into your pyjamas to eat tuck (snacks) and watch a film with your friends. When everyone is piled into the Common Room it can get warm so something cooler than a duvet is useful. Plus, this makes a good extra cosy layer on your bed for winter.
Offsite trips, birthdays and special events mean that you’ll always be packing and wondering where on earth all this stuff came from. Our top tip is to think ahead and start taking things home at Exeats and Half Term; plus, don’t forget to bring back more bags (we recommend the big plastic zip laundry bags).
You’ll run out of your shampoo quicker than you think. It’s easier to store an extra supply of all your toiletries in your cupboard and saves asking to borrow a friend’s constantly whilst you are waiting for more to arrive.
Things that we immediately thought of included a mouthguard for lax, a sturdy water bottle, a toothbrush charger if necessary, a case for your Surface, a padlock for your tuck box or bed drawer, a watch, a torch (we won’t say what for…), a hot water bottle and a little bag or small backpack for trips.
Packing can seem daunting and you’re probably nervous for the first day of school. But don’t worry! If you forget anything, your Housestaff are always there to make sure you have everything you need. The most important thing is to be ready to have lots of fun!
The best way to find out more about Downe House is to experience it for yourself. We tailor our virtual Open Mornings and Virtual Tours to suit your family.Discover