Packing for college can be super stressful. Lists can span hundreds of items! When I was packing for college, I spent hours poring over those lists, combing for items I might have missed on the last ten lists. And while those lists can be extremely useful, they all tend to say the same thing–toiletries, shower shoes, comforter, clothes, hangers, etc. What they forget to mention is that college isn’t so simple (or excessive). Many of the things I brought with have never been opened, and instead, live their days in a bed somewhere under my bed. Now that I’ve completed my first year of college and am packing up for the summer, I want to let incoming freshmen know a few things. One, an 8AM class at college will be tremendously more difficult to wake up for than an 8AM class in high school. Two, if you’re anything like me, you might actually need some of the following.
1. Small Toolkit
This has been one of the most useful things I’ve owned this year. I just purchased a basic toolkit, which had a hammer, screwdriver, wrench, pliers, and an awl. We used it to hang up decorations in my dorm room, fix some things around the apartment throughout the year, and lent it to our neighbors when they needed them. This toolkit was especially helpful during move in weekend when all of the stores were packed with freshmen and their parents; we didn’t need to buy anything extra for the day.
I brought a small steamer to school in order to cut down on things I brought, but a small ironing board and iron would do the trick as well. I ended up needing to wear business clothes a lot more in college, so being able to get out some of the wrinkles last minute was really helpful.
3. Extra Lighting
I came to school with one desk lamp and left with two and a clip lamp. I keep one lamp by my desk, and the other on my nightstand. The clip lamp attaches to anywhere, so when I sit out in the common room at night, it’s a little easier to focus. Having that extra bit of light late at night really helps to keep you awake and focused.
4. Book Stand
Taking notes became so much easier once I invested in a book stand. Staying hunched over reading or taking notes can be a pain (literally), but a book stand is a nice and cheap solution.
5. Drying Rack
I wear a lot of dresses. In fact, I own a maximum of four pairs of pants (dress pants included). School dryers can be rough on clothes, so a drying rack is a nice alternative (and can save you some money if you have to pay per load of laundry).
I went through AA batteries like crazy. I bought a battery organizer from the Container store and just kept a small variety of batteries, so I didn’t have to go to the store every time I needed some.
My roommates got locked out of the dorm a few times throughout the year, because they lost their keys. If your dorm runs on a key system, attach them to a keychain or lanyard, so you have a smaller chance of losing them.
8. Printer and Ink
I rarely go to the library to do my work, and I’m even less likely to go to the multitude of printing labs my university offers. I know that the printing allowance can be a great money saver, but I normally remember to print things 20 minutes before class, and by that point, the line can be over 30 minutes long. Having a printer in my room has saved me a lot of time and hassle, since I can print any time I want.
9. Diffusers/ Plug-in
Most student housing places ban candles due to fire safety concerns. If that’s the case, seek out candle alternatives. Diffusers and plug-ins are great options, because you’re going to want a nice smelling room. Dorm rooms smell up incredibly fast (like if someone burns popcorn in the microwave), so have something handy to keep the air breathable.
10. An Actual Alarm Clock
I always rely on my phone for my alarm. It’s convenient, and I didn’t think buying a traditional alarm clock was worth the money. I was dead wrong. Whatever the circumstances, have an alarm clock in case of emergencies! Missing a class or shift at work can be really stressful over something as simple as not waking up.
Bonus: Things I Really Didn’t Need
I know that, to many, the Keurig can be a Godsend. For me, it ended up collecting dust for most of the year. I ended up going to Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts on campus a lot more, so the machine was basically a waste of space and money. Consider your coffee drinking habits before diving in.
I brought a small TV with for my bedroom, but I used it maybe five times throughout the year. Instead, I watched a lot of TV on my computer through Netflix or Hulu.
3. Wall Calendar
I bought a big dry erase calendar to keep up with my assignments, tests, and work schedule. It’s May, and the calendar still says February. I really only rely on my physical planner, since I like the day-to-day visualization of it.
4. Small Wastebasket
If you’re going to get a small wastebasket, get one that’s solid. If you forget to put a liner in a mesh one, it can get really gross really fast. Instead of multiple small wastebaskets between you and your roommate(s), consider buying a bigger communal one. That way, you can make less trips to the dumpster.