Packing the right college essentials is vital. However, in our efforts to ensure the best preparation, it’s so easy to overpack! Therefore if you have that gut feeling you are packing too much, you probably are.
For that reason, this post was created to help you pack for college by discussing what not to bring to college. Nevertheless, what you decide to bring or not bring to college is really a personal choice.
Therefore if you believe any item listed below will really help you adjust to college life easier then do what’s best for you. However, continue reading with an open mind you might just have an ah-hah moment!
One of my rationale in life is you could never be too prepared. However, if you consider the economics concept “the law of diminishing returns” you may realize the level of preparation at a certain point is counterproductive – it doesn’t add any additional benefit.
In fact, after a point, additional preparation will cost you dearly. Given these points, bringing excessive items, unnecessary items, items already available at college is counterproductive and is hella expensive. Hence, first, consider these general college packing tips.
General College Packing Tips
Firstly, Request a College Packing List from the College
Before purchasing and packing anything, first, request a packing list directly from the college. This college packing list should give you a general idea of items you should consider bringing to college.
If a packing list isn’t available, you may consider speaking with a resident hall personnel concerning the furniture provided and most importantly the bedding size you should pack.
Secondly, If You Didn’t Use An Item During The Last Two Years Don’t Bring It To College
There’s no need to bring to college things you aren’t using. For instance, that cute pair of pumps your wore two years ago but haven’t worn since should probably be left home.
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Here’s What Not To Bring To College
Disclaimer: These are just a few items I believe you shouldn’t bring to college. Therefore, this list is very subjective so take it with a grain of salt.
Furthermore, bear in mind what I think or what anyone else thinks you should bring to college or should not bring to college isn’t one-size-fits-all guidance.
In fact, ultimately, it’s still your choice based on what the college allows. Now without further ado let’s get right to it!
Expensive Jewelry and Other Valuables Is At The Top Of the “What Not To Bring To College List”
Don’t bring expensive jewelry and other valuables to college unless you can afford to lose them. For one thing, as much as we will like to think and hope college campuses are safe, unfortunately, that’s not necessarily the case – bad things happen everywhere even on college campuses.
Thus, to avoid potential security issues leave your jewelry and other valuables at home.
Second, on the “What Not To Bring To College List” Is Excessive Clothing and Shoes
Girls, some of us are guilty of this! I know I am! We jampack a piece of luggage with clothes and shoes but can’t find anything to wear!
Thankfully excessive clothes and shoes fancy or not isn’t a college requirement so there’s no need to overpack. In fact, you can wear basics every day and most people wouldn’t care or even notice.
Above all, the mini wardrobe closet and drawer chest in most dorm rooms are not built to store excessive clothing and shoes. Given these points, pick your bottoms, tops, dresses, outerwear, and shoes wisely – don’t go overboard.
Third, on the “What Not To Bring To College List” Is Excessive Dinnerware
While some recommend using disposables instead I recommend packing reusable dinnerware. However, bringing a whole brunch to college is not necessary at all.
Instead, purchase a hard plastic microwaveable dinnerware set and bring just what you need to college – don’t bring the whole set.
While You At It, Leave Your Saucepans and other Cookware At Home Too Because It’s Fourth on the “What Not To Bring To College List”
I am about to burst your bubble, but it is what it is. Here we go!
Ladies and gents leave your saucepans and other cookware at home. In brief, I can guarantee your roommate and your future self will be thankful here’s why.
For one thing, most dorm rooms built before the last decade were not designed to accommodate students cooking three-course meals or even scramble eggs in their dorm rooms.
Furthermore, even if you can fry an egg since most of these dorm rooms are so small there isn’t enough space for the smoke to disperse quickly, so a little smoke would be enough to trigger the alarm.
Just imagine how pissed and annoyed your roommate and suitemates would be if the smoke detector alarm goes off while they were sleeping!
Moreover, imagine trying to wash an extremely greasy saucepan in a small bathroom sink after cooking. Just don’t put yourself through that headache – forget the cookware.
These Kitchen Gadgets Can Replace Your Cookware Nicely
While I advise you to leave your cookware at home I am not going to leave you with no solution – it wouldn’t be right. Therefore here are some nifty kitchen gadgets your college may allow in the dorm. However, find out from the college if any restrictions exist before purchasing.
Overall these gadgets will make cooking easier. However, you don’t need any of these kitchen gadgets if you are planning to fully use your student meal plan.
Otherwise, you should consider bringing three to four of these gadgets because bringing any more will just get in your way. Plus, it would be difficult to store all of these items in a small dorm room.
Personally, I only had a used microwave, a used mini-fridge, a random dinnerware set, and some cutlery. Yes, that’s all and I survived the first year living on campus. However, if I had to do college over my top choices from this list would definitely be:
- Coffee maker because a good cup of coffee would work wonders after burning the midnight oil or completing assignments last minute.
- Air fryer because preparing mouthwatering buffalo wings with some fries on the side at midnight without triggering the smoke detector alarm would be a blessing.
- Nutribullet because drinking a nice coffee smoothie while watching Netflix without purchasing it from Starbucks would definitely boost my mood.
- Breakfast sandwich maker because walking in the cold during winter for breakfast is one part of college life I wouldn’t want to revisit.
- Small Air Fryer – Here
- Mini Waffle Maker – Here
- Sandwich Maker – Here
- Toaster – Here
- NutriBullet – Here
Gracing the “What Not To Bring To College List” at #5 is “A Bucket Load of School Supplies”
I did that. Yes, guilty! What a waste of money. Well, after my first-semester “brokeness” ensured I never repeated that mistake again. In fact, I got so cheap by default I recycled even notebooks.
For instance, blank sheets left from notebooks from the previous semester were used at the beginning of the next semester. No joke! I was out here carrying over blank sheets like I was carrying over account balances.
On a serious note, college is all fun and games but the cost of every little thing adds up. So ladies and gents make it a habit to collect all your school supplies at events like college fairs.
Why not replenish your school supplies stash while you distribute your polished resume? After all, killing two birds with one stone in college improves productivity.
Therefore, for the first few weeks bring a notebook/notebooks/binder with filler paper, a black ink pen, eraser, and mechanical pencil then wait for the events to stock up on highlighters, mini staplers, erasers, pens, pencils, sticky notes, note pads, sharpeners, random cups, t-shirts, totes plus more – I kid you not.
Sixth on the “What Not To Bring To College List” Is Definitely A Printer and A Scanner – This List Would Be Incomplete Without Calling These Out!
Stay far away from printers and scanners. Matter a fact don’t take any college packing list serious if a printer or a scanner was recommended – like who what why! Don’t fall for the trap.
Yes, while having a printer and scanner in your dorm room is convenient the ink cartridges aren’t free plus these items take up a lot of space.
Furthermore, you are already paying to print at the college so there is no need to spend money on a printer especially considering the absurd cost of ink cartridges.
All things considered, if your college has a printing limit which most colleges have nowadays, then avoid unnecessary printing.
Instead, use a portable external hard drive to store documents and declutter that hard drive as the semester progresses but don’t bring a printer or scanner to college.
#7 Is Obvious But Just In Case Someone Needs Help Sorting Things Out … Here We Go —> Don’t Bring Clutter To College
Imagine I was honestly about to type “don’t bring clutter to college leave your clutter at home” bad advice … don’t do that either.
If you are drowning in clutter the best “going off to college gift” you can give to your mom and yourself is decluttering before you leave. Actually, before you even start packing decluttering should be your top priority.
In general, decluttering is a good way to get you mentally prepared and organized for this new chapter in your life.
Furthermore, by getting rid of items you may have been hoarding since middle school will significantly reduce the chances of you packing items for college you haven’t used in a while and probably won’t use in college either.
Plus, coming home to a more organized and cleaner room during the holidays can boost your mood especially after a stressful semester.
#8 Is Especially for the Ladies “Don’t Bring Excessive Dorm Room Decorations To College”
I know it is so easy to get carried away with decorating with faux fur throw pillows like these. Unfortunately, you may not even realize it until you collect your diploma and begin the process of packing your life in two suitcases.
I have been there and it isn’t a pretty sight – it hella depressing. In fact, over the years I have seen too many graduates get rid of too many items because “it’s time to go” and there isn’t enough time to properly donate items.
So don’t bring excessive dorm room decorations to college – keep things light and simple because these college loans won’t automatically disappear.
Lastly, Anything That’s Already In Your Dorm Room
Most dorms rooms have a computer desk, a chair, a bed, a small closet, and a drawer chest. So don’t bring any of these items to college. Since most of these items probably won’t fit and you will be forced to get rid of them.
Now if you’re off-campus but the apartment complex isn’t specifically built and furnished for student living then these items will need to be purchased or rented.
Don’t overdo it. Forget all the noise on the internet what you really need:
- Your tuition paid
- Room and board paid (if you can commute do a happy dance unless you really want to live on campus)
- A laptop
- A reliable cellphone on an affordable prepaid plan
- Textbooks (the international versions or better yet previous editions if the professor allows it)
- Some writing materials
- Bedding (at least two sets just in case something happen and you need to change the bed set immediately)
- A pillow
- Mattress cover
- Bathroom and bedroom slippers
- Bath towel (at least 2) and a few toiletries
- Some basic clothes and comfortable walking shoes
- A suit and a pair of 3inch pumps (oxfords for guys) for college fairs
The rest of the items can be purchased after adjusting to college life. So there’s no pressure – take your time.
Instead, focus on getting mentally prepare for college, learning more about your degree, preparing a realistic usable study schedule, getting to know your college and your professor (ratemyprofessors.com is a great place to start), and applying for a part-time job among other things.