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Packing for College: Nightmare or Nah?

 Written by    April 7, 2017

There are about three more weeks left in the semester, so naturally I started taking inventory of my dorm room and comparing it to the inventory I created before I started school in the fall. Yeah, there are a lot of things that don’t add up.

Anyway, I realized just how much stuff I brought to school that I don’t even use! I probably just read way too many “comprehensive” lists on the necessities of college. There is definitely a fine line between making your dorm room feel like home and not being able to let go of home. Hopefully the following list will help you distinguish between the two for yourself (because it is definitely different for everybody!).


Bring a little bit of your favorite snack for the first week but wait and see what your meal plan is like before you bring your entire non-perishable pantry


  • Shower shoes are a big thing if you’re into avoiding foot fungus
  • ONE bottle of shampoo and ONE bar/bottle/thingy of soap (it lasts longer than you think, and you ARE allowed to go to the store when you run out!)
  • Same rule as above for deodorant and body spray
  • Please bring a toothbrush and possibly toothpaste
  • Shower caddies are wonderful
  • A towel or a robe is key
  • A good mattress pad and some comfy sheets are also a good idea


  • Don’t overthink it
  • Remember, you can bring seasonal clothing if you go home for break
  • There is not a lot of storage space so prioritize what you bring (do you REALLY need 13 pairs of shoes? Probably not…)
  • Go easy on the dress clothes, unless you know you’re a business major!

…and that is everything you need to survive.

Most people do bring personal items (gaming consoles, books, pictures, musical instruments, crafting supplies, fish bowls, decorative items, knick knacks, the handmade box they’ve had since birth, every single piece of their rock collection, etc). There is nothing wrong with bringing personal items–they really tie together an ugly dorm room! However, clutter is not your friend, especially since you will want your desk space for textbooks, laptops, and note-taking (if you’re into that kind of living). Minimize the items that you can’t hang on a wall, and try to bring things that have a purpose (i.e., those cute little precious moments statues are cute but all they do is sit there and mock you).

It is hard to visualize what you will need for something you have never done, but it is not the end of the world if you forget something. It is a lot easier to have your mom pay for shipping if you need something (or you could just go to the store–you’re 18, dang it) than trying to manage too much stuff in too small of a space.

Don’t freak out about the stuff, and adjust the list according to your needs. There is no shame in rolling up to the residence hall with your entire life in your mom’s mini van. Hey–the more stuff you bring, the longer your parents can stay to help you unpack.

Advice, Author, Campus Life, Home, Housing, Personal, Student Life, The Future, University Housing

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