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Packing for School: This Year vs Last Year

 Written by    July 27, 2017

Last time I blogged, I talked about how my first housing worry was how will all my things fit, so this time I want to talk about what came second on the list of Housing Things I Worried About: what do I bring?

Obviously after living in a dorm for a year, I know a little bit about what works and what doesn’t. I also want to talk about what works for Taylor Tower specifically. So, presented below is everything I’m bringing back, the things I’m not bringing back, and the extra things I want to buy. (You can find my freshman list here, and my sophomore list here!)


  • What I’m bringing back this year: Twin XL sheets, comforter, blankets, two solid pillows, and at least two sets of sheets.
  • Last year I bought a back support pillow from Target that was super nice and useful. I didn’t even do a lot of my homework in bed, so when I say useful, I mean it was really nice to relax on.
  • This year I want to add a throw pillow to give my bed a little more personality.

I love cats!

  • I had a bedside caddy and did not use it much, but I’ll be bringing it back this year just so it can sit there and not be used again. It is, at the very least, a nice option for extra storage.


  • What I’ll bring back this year: at LEAST two towels plus a hand/face towel, bath mats, and necessary toiletries.
  • I bought a shower caddy and didn’t use it in the shower. I kept it instead on the shelf above my desk and kept things like my hairspray, contact solution, and after-shower hair care so I could minimize my time in the bathroom. (With three roommates, that is important).
  • There are three mirrors (one full length), but this year I want to bring a standing desk mirror with lights so I can do make-up at my desk.


  • What I’ll bring back this year: pens, pencils, erasers, paper clips, binder clips, stapler, scissors, tape
  • I got a desktop computer for Christmas my junior year of high school, and it was honestly the greatest lifesaver all year. I realize this isn’t an option for all of you, but definitely consider getting one in the future. I’m currently considering getting a second screen.
  • I got an office chair! Since I spent so much time sitting at my desk in good old Tay Tow (we did the math…if I studied there every day for 5 hours, that’s the equivalent of sitting in that chair for 40 whole DAYS). I wanted to be as comfortable as possible.
  • I also bought a rug to go under my feet and chair when I sit down. I scratched up the floor a little last year, and plus it got a little dirty down there after a whole year of tracking things in on my shoes.
  • Also, I have a kitchen utensil drawer holder that I use to hold all my office supplies. It’s great to go into the drawers of the fixed desks in Taylor, and also keeps me very organized.

From empty…

…to organized!

  • Noise cancelling headphones are amazing. Not only can they nonverbally tell your roommates “hey I’m busy go away,” but they also can give you the slightest edge to your productivity, even when you’re not even listening to anything.


  • What I’ll bring back this year: notebooks, textbooks, pens and pencils, and a laptop
  • To me, note taking is an art. Before each lecture I sit down and organize myself; I color code by class and midterm, and I also have a rigid outlining system to make sure the lecture makes sense months after I sit for it. So flags, post-its, multiple highlighters and colored pens (preferably of similar colors to the highlighters) were a must.


  • What I’ll bring back this year: plates, bowls, forks, spoons, mug, mug big enough for soup, to-go cups, dish soap
  • My roommates and I used to *ahem* borrow plastic silverware from dining services for days where we didn’t feel like doing the dishes. So my reusable silverware perhaps did not get as much use at I originally thought they would.
  • Non-perishables are really nice. Last year I survived off Pringles, and this year I’ve decided that I don’t really want to see heart disease in my future, so I have things on my list like Oat-based cereals, nuts, chia seeds, dried fruit, and sweet potatoes. Popcorn is another really good snack that I ate way too much of, and it’s coming back with me this year.


  • What I’ll bring back this year: pepper spray, clear plastic Buck-ID holder and key ring,
  • Jacket hangers or hooks. This is something I didn’t have last year, as I would hang my winter coat, raincoat, and wet umbrella from the back of my chair. That was not my best plan. This year I bought to go over the front door so that my roommate and I can hang our miscellaneous things without worry.

Target + On Sale + On my list = Perfect Purchase

  • I forgot personal pictures? Somehow? Bring pictures! Your dog, your family, your high school friends! Last year I was so SO worried about storage and space that I figured I would have absolutely no room for pictures. I definitely did; we even started hanging pictures from the ceiling.

What not to bring

  • Glassware (mason jars, glass cups, etc. An exception to this is mugs, but BE CAREFUL). We broke a lot of glass and could never clean it all the way up. Do I still have shattered mason jar in my foot to this day? Probably.
  • Anything that violates your housing contract or the student code of conduct.
  • Big pieces of furniture (extra chairs, huge shelving units, etc.).

Hopefully that was helpful. Feel free to let me know if you have any ideas that aren’t on my list!

Author, Housing, University Housing

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