Last year I made a blog post listing Dorm Essentials. And with move-in season fast approaching I thought it was necessary to make another dorming post: this time focussing on what you should leave behind. College students, primarily freshman, tend to overpack because they really want to be prepared/make their dorms feel like home. And while I certainly feel at home on campus, nothing says home like a permanent address: remember your dorm is temporary. Go ahead, dress it up so it feels like home, just remember that you’ll need to pack all of it 9 months from now.
As a rising junior, I’ve spent every year trying to lighten my load while still making my dorm feel personalized; it’s always a struggle. Here is a list of things I’ve learned not to bring to college.
1. High school yearbooks
I get it. You love your high school friends, you were in band and had the lead role in some play, but what purpose do these yearbooks really serve at college? Whether it’s to obsess over the past (which was really only a few months ago) or annoy your roommate by showing them a picture of the best friend you keep talking about there is no place for these in your dorm room. No matter how touching Sarah’s goodbye/have a great summer message was. Personally, I brought my hs senior yearbook as a college freshman and never opened it once.
And while I’m on the topic: please do not wear your AP ____ shirt in public. There’s no shame in being a freshman, but there is some shame in being a walking stereotype.
2. Your collection of _______.
I made this mistake too. I’m building a collection of coffee mugs and honestly, drinking out of them was great. The reason I collect them in the first place is because they’re souvenirs from great moments in my life or they’re just aesthetically pleasing. Drinking out of my favorite mugs is like drinking positive vibes. However, transporting them back and forth was a pain. Since these mugs actually meant something to me I really didn’t want them to break (which meant they took up more space than they should’ve). I did this my first year (in a traditional dorm) and my second year (in a suite). It was nice to have them & share them with my suitemates but they’re definitely not necessary. Next year I’m packing a generic mug and buying a few throughout the year.
Which is another reason not to drag collections with you: you will be buying things & bringing them from college back home. Same thing goes for CD or DVD collections. Maybe grab a few that you can’t find online (or if you want CDs for your car), but keep it light.
3. An unrealistic amount of recreational reads.
Just know yourself for this one. How many books do you actually read for fun? You probably won’t be using your free time to blaze through novels. Pack light. Don’t bring your favorite books just to have them–you won’t be rereading them. And, if you find yourself doing a lot of recreational reading, you can stock up on more books over the holiday or merely get them from a local library.
Remember: books can get heavy, and if you’re not planning on selling your textbooks you’ll be bringing dozens more home my default.
sentimental items can make you feel at home, but do you really need that bionicle motorcycle you made when you were 9? No. And I know this because I brought mine (pictured on the left).
5. Whatever your roommate is bringing
The worst thing you can do is not talk to your roommate about what communal items you’re bringing. This isn’t Noah’s Ark: you don’t need two of everything–especially in the small space provided by most freshman dorms. Figure out who is bringing the mini fridge and who is bringing the tv.
6. Excessive amount of knick-knacks
I’ll probably be guilty of this every year. I love all my tiny decorative possessions, but remember that you probably won’t miss the ones you leave behind. For instance, I’m pretty sure not being able to look at my cedar point snow globe isn’t going to disrupt my academics or well-being. That being said, I’ll probably bring it anyway–but that means leaving a few other knick-knacks behind (sorry small laser crystal model of the St. Louis arch).
7. Anything you can easily buy in your college town
Groceries, toiletries, etc. Why pack more than you need to? As long as you have a car, a roommate/friend who is willing to drive, or access to public transportation you can easily pick those things up the weekend before class starts.
9. When in doubt leave it out
If you really need it you’ll notice and can get it second semester.
In preparation for writing this blog post I searched online for other dorm packing donts and these two came up often:
Iron/Ironing board: Ideally, you shouldn’t bring this. It takes up a lot of space and you can probably get away with a steamer, anti wrinkle spray, and plain old hope. But I’ve worn my share of wrinkly shirts on campus and I can honestly say there have been times I wished I had an iron/ironing board.
Printer: I agree that a printer is unnecessary. But it’s really convenient for small print jobs or when you’re feeling lazy. However, you’re already paying for printing on campus and ink can get expensive. I’d recommend not bringing it but if your home has 2 printers and your family doesn’t mind parting with one then I think it’s fine. But if you’re thinking of buying one for college.. Don’t.
Hope this list was helpful! Comment below if I missed anything.