Stuff. We have a lot of it. The goal of PACKSmart is to pack more strategically and with sustainability in mind during Move-In. Not only does packing smart save you money, but it also saves the landfill space from all that stuff– especially during  Move-Out.

PACKSmart Tips for a Sustainable Move-In

1. Have roommates? Compare notes on items you can share!
2. Bring your own stuff from home- don’t buy new!
3. Take your time- live on campus for a few weeks to determine what you can’t live without.
4. Think outside the “big-box” stores- visit NC State’s Surplus or local thrift stores in the area!
5. Strive for zero waste! Think about the life-cycle of products you bring on campus and remember that NC State has great reuse, recycling, and composting programs.

For students that have materials to dispose of after move-in, simply follow the directional yard-signs to the dumpsters and:

  1. Flatten boxes and place in RECYCLING dumpsters. Remember to remove styrofoam!
  2. Recycling must be BAGLESS. Plastic bags are NOT allowed in recycling bins, carts, and dumpsters.
  3. Look for special recycling collection bins near dumpsters for styrofoam and plastic bags/plastic film. They can be found at:
  • Bragaw Residence Hall
  • Lee Residence Hall
  • Sullivan Residence Hall
  • Cates Avenue (across from Owen/Tucker)
  • Bowen, Carroll, & Metcalf Residence Halls
  • Becton Residence Hall
  • Syme Residence Hall
  • North Residence Hall
  • Wood Residence Hall
  • Avent Ferry Complex (F Bldg.)
  • Wolf Ridge Apartments
  • Wolf Village Apartments

Watch the video to learn more!

PACKSmart Tips


  • Toiletries (toilet paper provided in residence halls): Check the labels and try to purchase environmentally friendly items.
  • Bathrobe: Only buy one if you think you'll actually use it. If you buy one, make it last!
  • Towels and washcloths: Take the ones from home! No need to buy new.
  • Shower shoes: Ok, you need these. But, if you already own plastic flip-flops then don't buy more!
  • Shower caddy: Check the thrift stores to make this purchase or upcycle an old sand-pail!
  • Toothpaste/Toothbrush: Check out zero waste options for these items- remember at NC State, we can compost bamboo toothbrushes!


  • Twin extra-long sheets, 36”x80” : You probably don't already own these, but if you move into a bigger bed next year, donate these sheets at Move-Out or find a great diy project to reuse them.(Hint: the flat sheet from this set can be split and made into curtains!)
  • Pillows and pillow cases: No need to buy new; reuse the ones you already own.
  • Bedspread, comforter or blanket: Rather than buying one of those coordinated bed-in-a-bag sets, consider making a t-shirt quilt out of all of your beloved high school tees. Or make your room feel like home by bringing your bedspread, comforter or blanket from home instead of buying new.
  • Mattress pad: Look for a hypo-allergenic pad if you typically use one.
  • Alarm clock: Don't we all use our phones now anyway?


  • Small house plants: Plants are great for indoor air quality!
  • Pictures & posters: Remember to recycle prints when you are done!
  • Area rugs: Talk with your roomie first! Remember to donate rugs during Move Out at the end of the year.
  • Curtains: Wait to see if you need them first. If purchasing, consider making them from old sheets from a thrift-store.


  • Dishes, cups, and cutlery: Bring only what you need, and consider purchasing items that can be reused across campus- like a reusable cup and straw and spork. Remember University Dining provides reusable containers for those times when you need a to-go meal! If you want to keep items on-hand, bring a spare single set from home or buy them cheap from a thrift shop!
  • Can opener: Does ramen come in a can? Unless you think you'll be cooking and buying canned goods, you may be able to leave this home.
  • Coffee/tea maker: Coffee is offered at almost every NC State Dining location, so use your meal plan and avoid the mess and expense of brewing your own. If you need that late-night java in your room, purchase reusable K-cups or filters and be sure to buy ground, fair trade, shade grown coffee! Plus, check with your roomie so you both don't bring one!
  • Reusable water bottle: YES! YES! This is an absolute must. Many locations on campus now have water-bottle refilling stations available as well.
  • Sealed plastic containers/ bags (food storage): Instead of plastic, consider Pyrex or some other form of non-toxic container.
  • Napkins or paper towels: Forget the paper towels and bring washable hand towels and dish rags that can be thrown in with your laundry. Or, remember to compost your paper towels in a compost dumpster on campus!
  • Snacks and drinks: Buy snacks in bulk with your own BYO container. Plus, nothing beats the H20, but if you need something out of a can or bottle, remember to recycle it!

Doing Laundry

  • Laundry basket: For your roomie's sake, yes, you might want this. But think about how you can upcycle a box or bag or perhaps use an item for dual purposes (laundry and seat perhaps?)
  • HE Laundry detergent: Choose biodegradable and environmentally friendly brands (such as Seventh Generation) or make your own!
  • Dryer sheets/fabric softener: Consider a reusable dryer ball or a DIY alternative. Check for ideas!
  • Clothes hangers: You can find these in abundance at thrifts stores and yard sales!
  • Iron with auto-off/ ironing board: The number one item that students say they NEVER used! If you still think its a must, at least check with your roommate- you will only need 1 after all.
  • Clothes drying rack: A great sustainable option vs. the energy of a dryer-- but will you really use it? If not, leave it at the store.
  • Lint roller: If you don't use this now, then don't bring it.
  • Closet organizer: Don't buy new until you've lived in your room for awhile- You'll get a better feel for how you want to organize your space and can make smarter purchasing decisions.


  • Desk lamp: Try an energy efficient bulb and get your lamp used/second-hand.
  • Computer printer: You may not need your own since you have access to printing through your All Campus Card and Wolfprint stations are located all over campus (several of them in the residence halls). If you do want a room printer, consider sharing one with you roommate. Look for EnergyStar or EPEAT certifications.
  • Backpack: Obvs, right? But consider using the same back pack from high school (it's not a big deal).
  • Desk supplies (paper, notebooks, binders, etc.): Be on the lookout for our Free School Stuff Bins the beginning of each semester! We give these (gently used items) away for free! (Hint: we place them between Bragaw & Sullivan)
  • Calendar or planner: Go digital with your NC State gmail account’s Google calendar - link your class schedule to your calendar and link your calendar to your phone!
  • Bulletin/dry-erase board: Find these at thrift stores!


  • Face masks: Choose reusable face masks vs. disposable if possible. Be sure to stay updated on how to Protect the Pack!
  • Cell phone and charger: YES!
  • Power strip with a surge protector: Look for “smart” strips that save energy
  • Plastic bins w/ lids (under-the-bed, on wheels, tubs, etc.): Upcycle boxes from home or check out local thrift stores before buying new ones!
  • Cleaning supplies (dust rags, sponge, multipurpose cleaner): Choose products that are environmentally friendly and multi-purpose! Bring cleaning cloths from home that can be washed.
  • Small vacuum or broom: Check with your roommate before bringing!
  • Portable fan: All residence halls have air conditioning and climate controls, so only bring a fan if you think you'd use it.
  • Batteries for electronics: Purchase rechargeable batteries! Remember, NC State can recycle batteries and electronics in the yellow electronic-recycling bins on campus.
  • Dish Soap: Biodegradable is best! Consider environmentally friendly brands such as Seventh Generation, Method, and Mrs. Meyers.(Hint: add a touch of your dishsoap to a spraybottle filled with water)
  • Bicycle with U-bolt lock: Check out NC State Transportation for great tips for biking on campus here.

Leave at Home

  • Drugs and alcohol
  • Pets other than fish (10-gallon tank limit per person)
  • Dart boards
  • Water beds
  • Weapons
  • Extension cords
  • Air conditioners
  • Lava Lamps
  • Ceiling fans/lights
  • Toasters, burners or hot plates
  • Heaters
  • Fireworks
  • Explosives or unsafe chemicals
  • Candles and incense