Sunday, April 26, 2015

Going to College Part 2 || What You REALLY Need to Bring

This post was inspired by an earlier conversation I had with my cousin. She's heading off to her first year at college next year and I was mentally making a list of all the things she would actually need (versus what lists online seem to suggest). This list is more oriented towards first year students who make the decision to live in a dorm... Obviously, you'd need a little bit more if you were to live in an apartment. 

Here's the deal: everything you pack has to be packed up again to go home. No one thinks about that when they're getting ready to head up to their new home for the next couple of semesters. It's twice as hard packing up your stuff to go home than it is to go up to college because it's 100% less fun. That, and you actually accumulate a lot of crap without realizing it over the span of a couple terms.

Here's where my help comes in.

Unpacking all the crap I didn't actually use...


Let's start with the most important thing. (Because hello... Who doesn't love clothes?) When you're packing for your first year at college, it can be really daunting. There's only so much space and you definitely don't want to be in the scenario where you realize you want to wear a certain outfit but you left it at home. *gasp* The horror. 

Actually, as much as I love clothes, I found myself only wearing my favorites. Don't even get me started on shoes. Only bring the shoes you'll actually wear, not shoes you might wear. They take up way too much precious space in your closets. 

  • RAIN JACKET (because nothing is worse than getting to class in the middle of a downpour)
  • umbrella (duh); also, if you're going to be somewhere where it snows, umbrellas are really helpful when the snow is blowing in your face and you can't see where you're going
  • ALL THE UNDERWEAR AND BRAS YOU OWN (because doing laundry in college sucks)
  • swim suit (even though you'll probably never wear it)
  • basics (as in plain v-necks and jeans; anything you can put on in a hurry and not worry if it's matching when you're running late for class)
  • casual business outfit (a lot of clubs have events when you'll need this)
  • something you'd wear to a wedding (same as above; also incase you rush)
  • something for a date! (just incase, of course)
  • no more than four pairs of shorts
  • no more than two sweatshirts (WAY too much space in your closet)
  • no more than three pairs of jeans
  • no more than three pajama "ensembles"
  • no more than three workout outfits (mix and match, baby)
  • a couple pairs of mittens 
  • a warm hat 
  • a couple scarves to spice up your outfits
  • fuzzy socks
  • leggings and sweat pants
  • no weird pieces that only work for a certain outfit; you won't wear it ever

Keep it bare minimum. You can always change out your closet when you go home. Also, don't bring a lot of jewelry. Just the basics. There isn't anywhere to store it and I was always afraid that someone would break in and steal it.

Rocking that umbrella in the snow!


Honestly, other lists have pretty good suggestions here. Here's what I would add:
  • window fan (a lot of cold weather areas don't have air conditioning in the warmer months; also, keep in mind that heat rises and dorms can get super hot and stuffy in the winters)
  • STORAGE BINS (I used a big long one for food and stuck it under my bed... then I didn't have to worry about ants in our room. Also, those slide out plastic drawers are fabulous to add extra storage space in your closet or next to your sink.)
  • food in general (and not just snacks; you'll be too tired or too cold or too busy to walk to the union to get something to eat at some point and it's nice to have something besides little snacks in your room to eat; also any food you may eat during )
  • a few bowls/plates/silverware (honestly, you can get some great things from Goodwill. And you also won't worry if you break them. Have a few different sets at least... Then you don't have to worry about washing them -- even though you should -- and then you have some for friends for a pizza night or something)
  • mixing bowls/measuring cups/spoons/spatulas (even if you don't like to cook, these kinds of things are good to have)
  • dishsoap to wash them!!
  • first aid (MAKE SURE YOU BRING ANTINAUSEA AND COLD MEDICINE!! I can't stress this enough. You will DEFINITELY get a cold or two and you will most likely get some kind of stomach virus or food poisoning. Sickness spreads like wildfire in a dorm. Medicine for diarrhea and constipation are great, too. And don't forget cough drops.)
  • disinfectant spray (one of my friends had the stomach flu and she slept in my bed for the night; some of the things I couldn't necessarily wipe down with a wipe like my jumbo body pillow needed the disinfectant spray)
  • body pillow (awesome when you want to sit with a friend on your bed and have a netflix marathon; also great when you or a friend need to sleep on the floor and you have some kind of mattress)
  • extra blankets (also incase your friend sleeps over)
  • reading light (because you and your roommate(s) will inevitably have different bed times and you'll need to turn off the overhead lights but still be able to do homework)
  • Tide detergent pods (soo convenient)
  • laundry bag or hamper to carry your clothes to and from the laundry room
  • stain treatment of some kind
  • dryer sheets (communal laundry always smells weird...)
  • cleaning products in general... get it at the dollar store. Also, TRASH BAGS and Febreeze!!! Dorm rooms and dorm hallways smell weird sometimes. 
  • tin foil and plastic wrap (for left overs)
  • tupperware (left overs again... or that gross spider you catch in your room!)
  • ice cube tray
  • tons of plastic baggies
You probably won't need batteries or a tool set. Your front desk of your dorm usually has tools you can rent out. Same with a lot of cooking supplies, but it's really nice to have your own. (But keep in mind they take up space.)

Throwback to when I realized I could do a flip on my bed!

Bed, Bath and Beyond!

Yeah, yeah, yeah. You'll need a bedding set. You'll need a shower caddy. Lotion, shampoo, shower shoes are all essentials. My advice is to bring at least two sets of everything. Doing laundry is a pain, and you definitely want a second set of sheets when one of them is dirty. Wash cloths? Bring enough for a week, especially if you use them for your face (using the same one more than a couple times can make you break out). 
  • mattress cover (different from a mattress pad; these protect from bedbugs and any other nasty things lurking on those gross mattresses)
  • kind sized mattress pad (because two twins equals a king! Seriously, it's the ultimate comfort and so worth it to have a super soft bed)
  • towel wrap (don't be that person who changes clothes in the shower stall)
  • nail polish and nail polish remover
  • nail files and clipper!
  • PLENTY of hair ties and bobbi pins
  • sunscreen
  • aloe vera gel for when you get sunburned
Monocles and top hats are definitely on the "optional" list... ;)


Aaannnddd here's stuff you'll probably need.
  • extension cords (get a couple between you and your roommate)
  • white christmas lights (they make the room SO cozy)
  • command strips (but they're expensive, so don't get them until you know exactly what you're hanging up; also, we had cinder block walls, and they didn't stick that well to that surface at all, so I'd test them out first)
  • STRING (I brought yarn incase I wanted to knit -- I never did -- but we used it on SO many different occasions. One of which included creating our own curtains out of a blanket, some pens, and yarn. We were basically some pretty genius scientists back then.)
  • school stuff (duh)
  • water bottle (it's nice to have water in your dorm; also for when you work out)
  • flashlight (although you'll probably never use it)
  • candle wax burner (perfect for dorm rooms since you're not allowed to have open flames)
  • a small suit case (perfect for weekend trips)
  • small mirror for your desk with built in light (so you don't have to wake up your room mate in the mornings when you're putting on makeup, etc.)
  • duct tape (I promise you'll need it)
  • sewing kit ( you probably will never use it, but it's nice to have; I used mine to stitch up a hole in a pair of my favorite leggings)
  • ear plugs (for when your neighbor is blasting rap music at 1am)
  • sleep mask (incase your roommate is inconsiderate and keeps the lights on until 3am)
  • TONS OF HANGERS (they break and you always bring more clothes than you have hangers for)
  • one big ass bottle of hand sanitizer (you'll need it; I promise)
  • a keychain or something to put your bathroom/dorm key on (they're so easy to lose or forget unless they're on something noticeable)
  • mini dustpan
What you won't need? Books you think you'll read. Posters. Chairs. Unnecessary decorations. Stereos. There just isn't room. 

Optional? A TV. It's seriously so nice to become a couch potato every now and then and spend a couple of hours watching HGTV or some ABC Family movie. Buuuut they're expensive and take up a lot of room (and you probably need special converter cords). 

Speaking of unnecessary items... No one really used a white board which was an "essential" on a lot of sites I looked at!

Also, I had a random thought while writing up this list... Make sure you keep a pair of slip on shoes and a jacket by your bedside for those times when some dipshit burns food in the kitchen at midnight and you have to hurry outside as the alarm goes off).

Keep in mind you're not actually moving out of your home. You're going to college. Leave all your momentos and stuff at home. Just remember you'll have to pack it up again at the end of the year. The less you bring, the better. Just make sure you have the essentials. You can always order what you need online or take a quick trip to Target.

For some of these things, make sure you talk to your roommate. You definitely won't need two windex bottles.

Despite all the time and energy I put into this list, I'm almost 100% positive you'll overpack. It's kind of inevitable. Oh well. Live and learn, right?

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