It’s as important to consider what not to take to college as it is to think about what you should bring. Many college students mistakenly pack a wide variety of unnecessary items which end up overcrowding their tiny closets or cluttering their cramped rooms.
A good rule of thumb is to only take those items you know you’ll need. If you only think you might need it, do a little research or hold off on making a purchase until you actually get to school. Better to run out and get that item you need than to spend the money in advance for something that isn’t going to be used.
Another important factor in determining what not to take to college is availability. Many items are available for rent or loan on college campuses. Rather than fill your room with stuff you’re only going to want access to occasionally, save your space and borrow or rent stuff as you need it.
When determining what not to take to college, the following items offer a good place to start.
probably won’t have a ton of time for recreational reading, so leave your book
collection at home. Books take up tons of space and usually just end up
collecting dust on the shelf. If you feel you must have some of your favorite
books with you, download them as eBooks. Audio books are another great option;
you can listen while you walk to and from class. If you must have a printed copy to hold in
your hands, borrow one from the university library. Let them take care of
storage for you.
While it’s good to have a few things that remind you of home, limit keepsakes to a handful of truly meaningful items. Opt for things that can be hung on the wall as opposed to items that sit on a shelf consuming valuable real estate.
keep in mind that this is a transitional period in your life. You’re going to
be making new friends and exploring new interests. A lot of the things that
seemed really important in high school will likely begin to seem less so as you become settled into your college routine.
time and evolving interests make bringing hobby items to school a bad idea. As a high
school student my daughter loved making jewelry. She took all of her beads and
jewelry making supplies with her to college and never used them.
This may sound counter intuitive, but when asked what not to take to college, my Facebook followers identified this very thing. While there are a few basic office supplies you will want ready access to such as a stapler, a good pair of scissors and a sturdy three-hole punch, a horde of excess school supplies will likely go unused.
Your best bet is to purchase a package of pens and whatever
you like to use to take notes on and then wait and see what you will need.
Trying to guess what supplies you’ll need while you’re standing in the sale
isle at Walmart will only lead to impulsive purchases that take up much needed
storage space in your dorm room.
are bulky and expensive (both to purchase and to maintain). Since most work is turned in online these days, it’s
not necessary to bring a printer with you to school. You can always print whatever
you need to in one of the school’s computer labs.
you are a collegiate athlete, you really don’t need to take much in the way of
sports equipment. Sports equipment takes up a ton of space, and most sports’ equipment can be checked out or rented from the
you purchase a television, mini fridge, microwave, coffee maker, blender or
toaster check to see if these items are supplied by your apartment complex or
dorm. If they aren’t, find out if they are even allowed before spending the
money. Next check with roommates to see what they are bringing so you don’t
dorm room will be strategically packed with all the furniture that can fit.
While it might be nice to have more, it's not likely that there will be space for it.
are definitely among the list of what not to take to college. While they look and smell nice (incense, too) their flammable nature makes them a no-no in the dorms (and most apartment complexes). These go-to décor items are often banned, so be sure to check your contract.
will quickly find that cute and cuddly reminders of childhood do little but
gather dust and take up space in a college dorm room.
is necessary but bulky. Choose pieces with soft sides that can be folded and
stuffed into storage containers on a closet shelf or under a bed.
may seem strange for an organizer to tell you not to bring
organization supplies to college, but that is only half the message. While you
will definitely benefit from specific organizational supplies, it’s best to
wait until you get to your dorm room or apartment before making such purchases.
Otherwise you are likely to find that the stuff you brought doesn’t fit in your
In addition to going to college myself, I’ve sent three kids off to school. Along the way I’ve learned a few things about what to take and what not to take to college. Perhaps the best advice anyone can give a young person preparing to head to school for the first time is to ask.
When in doubt, check with someone who will
know. Depending on the question, there are a number of resources available
including the campus housing office or your apartment complex manager,
roommates (you should be able to get their contact information in advance if
you don’t have it), friends or family members who have been to college, and
even your high school guidance counselor. Better to ask than to guess, be wrong
and waste precious money and space on stuff you don’t need or won’t use.
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