Useful things to bring to college: how to pack

So a year ago I probably would have wanted to have more advice as to what to bring to college as a freshman so here’s some useful things to bring to college. I’ll also mention things that you should probably leave behind. I’m not gonna put super obvious stuff like I trust you freshman will know to bring undies but I’ll give tips on the basics, ya feel? Now of course these vary from person to person but hopefully it will be helpful overall.

What to bring:

  • Bedding: Get a nice comforter and be sure it really is size “twin XL” because college beds come in a weird size. Find a really cute one cause you’ll be staring at it all year and maybe other years you live on campus too. Spice it up with some cool pillows too! Also be sure to get at least 2 sets of sheets/linens because doing laundry in college is kind of a pain so you’ll find yourself thankful to have plenty of sheets handy.
  • Clothes for the right weather: This sounds a little obvious but I didn’t really keep this in mind at first. Due your research about the area you’ll be living in. Moving to a hotter climate? Invest in more flip-flops, tank tops, shorts, etc.  Moving to a colder climate? Buy more sweaters, a good winter coat, gloves, hat, warm socks, etc. Also as a rule, you can never have too much underwear and socks cause you’ll find that they disappear and as I said, laundry isn’t so fun so the more the better.
  • Old-fashioned stuff like lint brush and ironing board: They seem outdated but you never know when you need to look formal. I ended up having an interview in college and I was thankful I had a lint brush.
  • Tons of hangers, organizers, storage bins: It may hit you as a slight shock how little space you have at first, but if you have organizers both for your clothes, desk, and other things, you’ll use the most of your small space.
  • A laundry bin in addition to a laundry bag: I think it’s a good idea to have a laundry bin for dirty clothes and a laundry bag for clean clothes. Keeps things cleaner. Especially the fact that you’ll probably end up doing laundry in bulk like a couple times a month. At home I don’t need this because my washing machine is across my room so I usually just hold a big heap of clothes but you can’t do that in college.
    • Tip: laundry does get stolen. No one thinks it will happen to them but it’s not unheard of so don’t do things like leave your laundry in the machine for 2 hours. Set a timer and come get it shortly after it’s done. This is also more considerate of other students since there are limited laundry machines
  • Excess amount of toiletries: Maybe I just have weird toiletries but I couldn’t find some of my favorite products like shampoo or razors at the school store and sometimes not even at the local CVS. So it’s probably best to buy them in bulk during college breaks cause in the middle of finals week, you don’t want to find yourself running out of shampoo. Also buy toilet paper in bulk too cause it’s crucial that you have enough of this!
    • Tip: ASK FIRST! Ok let’s be honest, it can be really tempting having all your roommates toiletries handy if you share a bathroom. Maybe you’re having a bad hair day and you see your roommate’s nearly full bottle of hairspray on the counter. She won’t notice if you use a few sprays, right? Well likely not. However, it’s so important to ask first because this is essentially stealing and some people are not comfortable with sharing. Also a few sprays of that hairspray may turn into using it several times a week without asking, then she’ll wonder why she suddenly needs to buy a new bottle. I noticed my shaving cream disappearing and my hair products in different places than I left them and it really bothered me. It really is the polite thing to do to ask first!
  • A planner/whiteboard calendar: College can get busy between classes, meeting with advisors, club meetings, fitness classes, group study sessions, etc…it’s crucial to stay organized. Even if you aren’t typically the type of person who likes to make lists and keep organized (lol I am), you don’t want to mix up a due date or miss a club meeting.
  • Pictures and other decor: This should be obvious but I was too focused on bringing practical stuff that I kinda barely brought any decor and my walls looked so bare at first. Throughout the year I accumulated stuff and room looked awesome by the end but having pics from home and lots of cute decor can make you feel more at home. (Not to mention, cover up the boring cinderblock walls!)
  • Silverware, microwavable containers, a good water bottle, a portable coffee cup

Things that are useful but not necessary to pack (aka you should just buy them from your campus store and save room in your already crowded car):

  • Cleaners: Well ok, it’s obviously important to keep a clean and sanitary dorm but me and my roommates all overestimated how much cleaning products we’d need. By the end of the year I found dozens of barely-used cleaning sprays. Cleaning products like wipes, sprays, etc. are definitely the type of thing you can very easily buy at your campus store or Target/CVS.
  • School supplies: Again, very easy to buy this stuff at your campus store during the first week of classes. Some of my classes, I didn’t really need a binder or large notebook like I thought I would so it’s best to just wait and see what your classes are like before wasting $100 on unnecessary school supplies.
  • Tons of snacks: Not saying you shouldn’t bring any snacks. It’s probably good to have a few ramen packs, popcorn, tea, granola bars, etc. handy. But to save room when packing it’s best to not devote an entire box to snacks. You and your roommates can always go food shopping when you get there.
  • Excess amounts of medicine: My roommate joked that I had a pharmacy in my desk drawer cause I brought tons of bandaids (I ended up using like 2 bandaids the whole year), tons of cough drops, Nyquil, Advil, etc. Now, it’s not unlikely that you’ll get a cold in college. I got my worst cold I ever had in college so these medicines are useful of course. BUT making a quick trip to the campus store/CVS when you feel a sickness coming on is better than bringing a huge medicine supply at the start of the year.
  • A printer: Ok it depends on the college of course but printers and printer ink are not cheap, it takes up a ton of space in an already limited amount of room plus at most schools there are residence hall printers and library printers so there’s really no need. Also the majority of teachers had online submissions for essays rather than printing it out. I used a lot less paper than I did in high school.

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