What to Bring to Your Dorm Room

Great advice for all entering freshman


The bottom line is to bring what you need to make you comfortable. Don't bring what you need to be constantly entertained alone. Plan to get out of your room and meet people to have fun!


You're going away to college and you have to make all your stuff fit in your car. If you think that's hard, just think how hard it's going to be to fit everything in your teeny tiny itty bitty HALF of a dorm room.


I wasn't thinking about the size of my room, I was thinking about being comfortable, warm, well-clothed, popular with my neighbors, and entertained constantly. I convinced my aunt to drive to my college 400 miles away just so I could load her van up with more of my stuff that wouldn't fit in my truck!


Here's a thing to keep in mind: colleges only let you move into your dorm room one or two days before classes start, so be prepared to do nothing but unpack and organize your stuff. If you're like me, you'll be doing it instead of sleeping and eating too.


Let me tell you what I brought along that really wasn't necessary:


Donít bring high school yearbooks. Look, even your roommate doesn't care about what you did in high school unless he/she went there too. Leave those 50-pounders at home.


Donít bring a toaster. Itís not necessary. You're probably never going to make toast, unless that's all you eat or something. I hated buying bread because one or two people have trouble eating a whole loaf before it goes bad.


Donít bring video games or many movies if you want to do well in school. I never had time for these because I was studying or in class or sleeping or socializing. Unless you're a guy and your guy friends want to play video games, leave it at home for your siblings to enjoy. Girls especially aren't interested in being holed up in a dorm room with some video games. Movies can be fun, but more likely you'll want to go to the theaters with friends or watch one in the dorm hall lounge. VHS are particularly bulky, but I wouldn't do without the VCR in case you want to rent. Just don't bring 1000 tapes you've already seen. Just bring a few of your favorites.


Donít bring framed photos of your boyfriend or girlfriend. Nobody, repeat nobody, wants to see this. If you have a couple snapshots and want to show them off to your roommate, then by all means, do it. Having framed pictures of your boyfriend/girlfriend in your room on display only isolates you from the whole great college dating experience.


Besides, if it's long distance, your boyfriend/girlfriend isn't going to last, so you might as well give up sooner rather than later.


Donít bring every piece of clothing you own. This is not necessary. Only bring enough clothes to last you the season. You're going to go home for holidays, so you might as well switch your clothes then. That way you won't get sick of all your clothes and have to spend your money buying new ones. I'm not saying you shouldn't bring a bunch of clothes, just not all of them. Same goes for shoes. Only bring what you'll wear. And don't even bother with the special occasion outfits and shoes. If you even go to one, you'll want to buy new clothes anyway.


Donít bring tons of CDs. Buy one of those neat compact folders to hold your albums. There is no room for a CD tower or all the cases. Just bring the ones you're going to listen to and put them in a binder. Believe me.


Donít bring all the toiletries in your house: chances are you won't be so poor you can't buy new shampoo and conditioner when you run out. It's much harder to store everything than to buy it a couple times while you're there.


Donít bring any kind of tools, weapons, drugs, or alcohol: you'll get busted for the last three and maybe even for tools, and they're not necessary. It's not worth getting kicked out when you can have a drink at the frat party down the street. You won't be in short supply. And if you bring drugs to your dorm room you're really dumb anyway and college is not for you. Also the school usually has tools they will check out if you need to hammer something or fix something. They also have maintenance people who do it for you.


Donít bring food. If you can't get it free from your food plan, just buy it at the grocery. Nobody moves food so you shouldn't either.


Donít bring old diaries or other mementos: college is the time to form new memories and make new friends. For as often as you're going to pull out your old pictures and journals and whatever else you have, they might as well be at home. You're the only one who will be interested in them too.


Donít bring superfluous appliances: Most colleges won't allow toasters, toaster ovens, space heaters, irons, etc (they're fire hazards). If you don't use it every day, leave it at home. You're not going to starve at school.


Donít bring pets of any kind. As much as you love your dogs, cats, birds, hampsters, bunny rabbits, etc, you're not going to want them in your room. Pets take up space, they're annoyingly loud, and they tend to really stink up small spaces (even the little ones). Plus most colleges won't allow them and then what will you do with your beloved animal so far from home? Just forget it for everyone's sake.


Now that weíve given you some things to leave at home, here are some things you really should bring:


Your car--if they'll let you. If they don't allow freshman to have cars, bring yours anyway and tell them you work really far away and need it. But then beware of college kids trying to bum a ride off you. JUST SAY NO! Be strong!


Some kind of TV and maybe a VCR/DVD player for entertainment.


A Computer! This is absolutely necessary for a good education! Laptops are good but desktops will work fine too.


A telephone. Most schools do not provide one. Also bring the telephone cord to plug into the jack


A small refrigerator. It's nice to have a cold drink without walking to the cafeteria.

Small microwave--same principal as above but with food.


Clothes and shoes for one season


Lots of clean underwear and socks because doing laundry is a big hassle and you want to put it off as long as you can.


Laundry detergent and quarters from your parents for the laundry machines if you can get it. You'll be glad later in the year when your funds are gone and your clothes are starting to smell.

Radio--cuts down on boredom, uncomfortable silences, and loneliness when the roommate isn't there.


Headphones for the TV, computer, and stereo so you don't bug your roommate.

Sandals to wear in the shower. The showers are nasty and the only people who clean them are the students. You don't want athlete's foot, so buy some waterproof sandals.


Toiletries: toothbrush, toothpaste, hair brush, shampoo, soap, conditioner, tampons, etc. And bring a caddy to carry them all in because you'll probably have to walk to the bathroom and that stuff won't be there.


Towels, sheets, blankets, and a bathrobe. The robe is to walk to and from the showers, and you'll be glad. Towels are for showering and cleaning up spills around the room. Sheets and blankets are for sleeping on and under. Important side note: Many dorms have extra long twin sized beds and they'll try to tell you they are the only ones who have that size sheet, but really you can buy them anywhere and get better ones. I made that mistake and it cost me $200 for the worst bedding ever.


School supplies--they're much cheaper from home than from the college bookstore. Be sure to bring lots of lined and white paper, pens, pencils, a ruler, erasers, a calculator, scissors, white-out, a stapler and staples, and a hole punch (they have nifty ones that go in your binder). Oh, and a binder and dividers that you can reuse.


Duct tape--it fixes everything and you can use to put your pictures/posters up on the walls. The school charges a horrendous amount to fix holes, chips, or scratches in the walls at the end of the year. Also do not put any stickers on the walls because they will charge you to take them off too.


Your Social Security card, driver's license, bank accounts, a credit card for emergencies, etc. You might need the first two for job applications and the last two to buy stuff.


Ear plugs and/or a sleeping mask in case your roommate is obnoxious like mine was and stays up partying or studying into the ungodly hours of the night. These will help you sleep.


That's all I can think of to bring and not bring to school. Always check first to make sure the school will let you bring all that stuff. And don't worry about anything! It all works out just fine for everyone!