How To Not Overpack For College

Congratulations prospective collegiate! You’ve made it to college and you’re on your way to living in your new dorm room. This is a pretty exciting time in your life. Shopping for dorm decor and organizing your new place to fit your unique personality can be so much fun! For the most part, you’ll be packing your entire life with you, but before you pack that one pair of shoes that you know you’re never going to wear again, or before you spend a ton of money on things that you may not need, let’s talk a bit about how not to overpack for college.

Check your college’s website to see what’s prohibited in the dorms.

Normally, most colleges have some type of list of things that freshmen should think about bringing to you new home away from home. Of course, this isn’t a definite list, but it generally tells you what you’ll need. This list should also tell you what not to bring. Most colleges have this type of list on their website, but if they don’t, just browse Pinterest.  There are tons of freshman college packing lists.  Usually, toasters or appliances that could potentially cause a fire aren’t allowed, but coffee makers can be an exception. Those are things to check out before you spend the extra money.

Ask what’s already included in your dorm.

A typical college dorm room comes with furniture already there for you. It usually consists of a bed, a dresser, a desk, and a closet (or an armoire of some kind). A lot of dorms also come with a microwave and a mini-fridge, but this depends on your university, so definitely double-check on that. Unless you specifically get an apartment-style dorm, you won’t have a stove or oven or anything to cook on, so be sure to leave the pots and pans at home; they generally won’t be needed unless your hall has a communal kitchen area.


Clean out your closet before you pack.

If you’ve only worn something once (i.e. whatever you wore to prom, most likely), or you haven’t worn since your freshman year of high school (i.e. the free t-shirt that came with that club you were going to join… but never did), you probably won’t need it in college. You won’t need every shirt you own. Being a college freshman means going to a ton of events at the beginning of the semester that are geared specifically towards freshmen and you’ll get a lot of free t-shirts (as well as a bunch of other cool swag bag items). Keep in mind that packing a few nice and formal articles of clothing is a great idea (especially if you plan on going Greek), but you probably won’t need every dressy thing you have in your closet, at least for the first semester.

Talk with your prospective roommate so that you both don’t end up bringing the same things.

This is also a great way for you to get to know your roommate before moving in. The last thing you need is to buy a brand new TV for your dorm only to find out that your roommate already brought one. Avoid spending the extra money on big purchases if you can.

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You won’t need as much makeup as you think you do.

I had a suitemate my freshman year who literally brought her entire life with her. She had so much makeup and nail polish and hair products and just… stuff. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for all of those things, but I think that for the first year, or at least the first semester of college, take only the things you know you’ll need, especially if you’re sharing a room. You don’t want to be that roommate who takes up too much space in an already small dorm room.

The inevitable truth about college is that you’re going to accumulate more stuff every year. You’ll probably change your style and find other things that you’ll want to invest in. I hope these tips were helpful and good luck next year!

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Shatece Haynes

Shatece is working towards a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theater and a minor in LGBT Studies. She currently attends Northern Illinois University and is incredibly excited to be writing for SRtrends.

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