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Preparing to leave for my freshman year of college involved watching 2-3 dorm hauls daily and compiling a list of things I would need in the fall. As such after watching at least a hundred videos I had an extremely long list of “needs” that I really didn’t need. Some of the things I bought I never used and the things I really needed got lost in all the junk. Trust me on this, if you think you’re packing too much, you are. Your dorm room is too small to bring everything you might have at home. Pick wisely and remember that it is easier to add in the future than send things home when you’re moving in. It’s also easier to move out if you don’t over pack because move in day adrenaline fades by the time you’ll move out. Also don’t forget to check your schools regulations on what you can and cannot bring because showing up with assorted products you’re not allowed to actually use is disappointing.

Food, Beverages, and Related Applicances

Everybody and their momma says that an essential for college is a Keurig. While some avid coffee, tea, and hot cocoa drinkers may swear by it, it really isn’t needed. Most of my friends ended up just using it as a hot water maker which made me thankful I didn’t spend my money on one. What I invested in was far less expensive and far more useful. A hot water boiler that plugs into an outlet is an overall better investment. It easily boils water for tea, coffee, ramen, and all other foodie needs. Its far less expensive and more compact which is essential when trying to fit things into your dorm room.

A Brita water pitcher is not needed. I bought mine used it the first week and then barely used it ever again. It would be a better investment to get a water bottle with a filter that way you can take it on the go and stay hydrated daily. The water fountains outside of your dorm aren’t guaranteed to be any nicer than the ones inside which is why a water bottle with a filter could come in handy. Also, pro-tip hide any plastic water bottles you may have in your room. It makes it seem like you have less and you don’t have to passive-aggressively say yes when your friends ask you for a water bottle.

In terms of snacks get less than you think you’ll eat. If you’re out of your room a lot you’re likely to let them go to waste and they’ll stay on your dresser for a long time. Get the bare minimum and go to a local supermarket to stock up on more once you run low. If you’re sharing a fridge be courteous to your roommate and don’t use up all the space in the fridge. Also don’t let your food go bad, always wash dishes once you’ve used them and throw food out in a trash can outside of your room. This helps with any odors that would build up otherwise.

Bath, Body, Beauty

Only bring 2-3 towels and enough wash cloths for 7 days. An extra towel is helpful when you know you need to do laundry but don’t actually want to. Any more than 4 towels is extreme and will be hard to store. A loofa is also a good investment because they’re good for exfoliating skin. One thing that may seem crazy but was useful is having two shower caddies. One hard one for in the shower and a mesh one to leave outside on a hook. This means you can bring some underwear with you as well as a place to stash a robe or anything underneath before you hop into the shower. You’ll also have a set place for all of your soaps, shampoos/conditioners and shaving needs, including the best nose and ear trimmers.

Only buy one of each product you need unless its hard to find or you know a specific spot near you that is the cheapest and you’re traveling. It is very hard to store giant lotions, soaps, and conditioners. This, however, does not include anything like pads or tampons because running out of those when you need them most is not the best feeling. If a store ever has sales like “buy 2 get 2 free,” avoid it like the plague. While tempting, you’ll be left trying to find a spot to keep all of these new scents or beauty supplies.

Bedding and Bed Room

Small storage containers are nice. Buying 10 of them is not the smartest thing to do. Dollar stores typically sell things in pairs but try to avoid getting more than you will actually use. If you can find a sample image of a dorm room at your college look at it to see how much space you really have and plan realistically. Don’t get a trunk just to say you have a trunk, get it only if you need it. A smaller trunk is good for keeping prized possessions locked away but in general ends up to be a place to store all the junk that you bought and don’t use. Stackable drawers are a great alternative to random open containers. They save space and add storage especially when your dressers are small.

In terms of stuffed animals try to stick to 1-2. Don’t deny that you still sleep with one they can be very comforting but don’t bring all of the ones you have. Your bed is already small as it is so trying to fit you and all your furry friends may not work as you expect. This also applies to pillows. While it is nice to see all of the pillows in room tour videos trying to sleep with them is highly annoying and they will end up on the floor in the middle of the night. If you can, invest in a mattress topper, they truly do make coming back to the dorm bed at night so much better.

If you plan to have your bed raised up definitely invest in a stepping stool. It makes getting into bed so much easier when you’re tired and you can also avoid having to jump up in the middle of the night and accidentally hurting yourself.

In general take only what you think you’ll absolutely need and try and splurge later. Pictures are a great addition because they don’t take up much space and have great memories. Have enough hangers for the things you want to hang up plus a few extra for any other clothes you might buy. Definitely consult with your roommate for what they’re bringing to the room but unless you have a good relationship try to avoid asking to use their stuff too often (i.e. makeup, clothes, hair products, etc.). Pack lightly, and bring a smile with you.

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the author

Stephanie Jones is a student at Villanova University studying Computer Engineering. When she isn't reading or writing she enjoys watching tv shows on netflix, tumbling, and texting her friends. Memes are a sure fire way to make her laugh and she is always available for contact at

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