As you begin packing for college, you will begin to realize just how quickly things start to add up. From shoes to t-shirts to bedding to computers to luggage to posters, you will believe you need it all. And every time you step into a superstore, you’ll also believe you need the new dorm room gadgets and gizmos. From white board calendars to fancy toaster ovens to a hanging shoe rack. They seem feasible and trendy up until the moment you move into that dorm room and realize just how much space you don’t have.
So, to help you minimize your packing, let’s talk about seven things you can, and will, survive college without.
During orientation students are often too caught up in the whimsical idea of college that they don’t realize just how small their dorm rooms are going to be. And even more so, the realistic size of their closets.
As a college student, you must do yourselves a favor and pack your clothing seasonally. There are enough breaks and trips home each semester to exchange for the next season. If you’ve chosen to go to school across the country and not able to get home as often, choose to pack layer-able clothing. Don’t pack that tank top you’ve only worn once but pack that graphic tee you can wear solo or underneath a cardigan.
In addition, you will not end up wearing everything you pack. You will get used to wearing the same shirts to class each week and on weekends, you will figure out a few outfits you feel the best in and will want to repeat these more often than not. No one will remember what you wore the week before, so re-wear those items you love the most and forget about those you don’t.
Aside from a microwave for your single serve mac and cheese and ramen noodles, there is no need for additional appliances. There are convenient of enough meal plans that all daily meals, plus most snacks, can be purchased at a food court on campus. You will rarely toast your own toast, nor will you brew your own coffee. And these appliances will take up unnecessary space and outlets.
- Air Mattress and/or Sleeping Bag
Unless you’ve chosen a major in national parks or wildlife, your weekends will not be spent sleeping on an air mattress or in a sleeping bag. Many students bring these in order to be more hospitable when friends visit but if your friend is visiting you in college, you should be close enough to share the same bed. It’s a gracious thought but these objects take up more space than needed. Instead, use that space for your shoe container and allow your closet to be less cluttered.
This will be your first place away from home and you’ll want to make it cozy. But making it cozy doesn’t mean making it fancy. There is no need for large pieces of art, mirrors, hand clocks, or expensive lamps. Instead, bring your favorite pillow, some homey bedding, a few posters that express your personality, and two picture frames, one for your family and another for your friends. These objects will provide comfort and simplicity in your tiny new space.
In addition to dorm décor, be cautious about packing holiday decorations. They sound like an adorable idea as you prepare for your first Halloween and Christmas in a new place but that table top Christmas tree you packed only looks adorable for three weeks but takes up a lot of space for those other 10. Instead, go to the thrift store and purchase a hand me down wreath, hang it outside your door for that season, and donate it back it’s over.
Keep your school supplies minimal. Today, most college work is done online. Papers are written on the computer and submitted online and printed as well in the college printer library if needed. Textbooks can be purchased online. Handouts are uploaded online. This makes your school supply shopping easy. Purchase a notebook for each class, a handful of pens, a few highlighters and a backpack. All others supplies will end up wasting space.
- Anything your roommate already has
Whether you are best friends with your roommate or randomly selected one another, be sure to create a list with them on what one another are bringing. If they have a printer, ask if you can share and help with the paper and ink. If they have a rug, then you can bring the curtains. If you have a mini fridge, suggest they bring the microwave. There is no need for two fridges, two microwaves, and two televisions sets in one dorm room. Be proactive with this and communicate with your roommate early on.
In the end, what you remember from college will be the friends you make, the professors that believe in you, the Saturday night outings, the organizations you join, and the weekly rommate dinners. It won’t matter what shirts you brought, which bedding you had, nor the size of your TV. So keep it simple and indulge in the experience.
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