College x
in article about stuff to bring to college, a car overflowing with boxes
Illustration by Laura Browning, University of Colorado, Denver

Let’s save some space!

When you move away for college for the first time, it may seem like you need to bring absolutely everything you own and more just to survive; however, there are a lot of things that college freshman bring their first year that they won’t even use once.

So, if you need help on what NOT to bring, here is a list of items that just take up room in the car and then collect dust all year.

1. Printers and Ink 

There are a couple of reasons that you don’t need to pack a printer and ink when getting ready for college.

For one, you won’t have the space to store a bulky printer in your dorm room. Most likely you’d have to store the printer under your bed and then set it up, print out your work and pack it up for each use … which is a hassle.

Secondly, every college and university has printers available for students to use on campus, so when you do have to print something out, the resources you need will only be a short distance away. If it is provided, there is no sense in bringing your own, especially when students in today’s world will rarely need to print out their work anyway since it all gets submitted online.

And if your university is going to be providing the resources necessary, there is no need to spend the money to continuously replace the ink cartridges because that can get expensive — and you are already going to be spending enough money throughout this journey.

2. Candles/Incense

Not only shouldn’t you bring candles and incense to your dorm room, but you also can’t.

Most colleges and universities actually ban the use of candles and incense because it is a fire hazard to have them in the dorms.

Instead of using candles or incense to make your room smell fresher, maybe use an alternative like an oil diffuser, which is less of a hazard.

3. Surplus of Snacks

Yes. The “freshman 15” may be real, but that is not why you should limit the amount of snacks you pack for college.

The reason you don’t need to pack a surplus of snacks is because you should be using your meal plan. So many students bring a ton of snacks to college and then decide to eat those snacks instead of going to the dining hall and actually enjoying a meal; this creates two different problems.

One problem is the excess of meal points that you will be left with at the end of the year.

Part of what you pay for college includes a meal plan that you can spend on breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and more. And if you don’t spend the allotted money, it just goes to the college. So, if you mainly eat snacks that you brought with you then basically, you end up paying the college the extra meal plan money and paying for your own food on top of that.

The other problem is that in a lot of cases when a student who has this surplus of snacks gets busy with classes, work and student organizations, they will eat those snacks throughout the day and never go to the dining hall to eat an actual meal. This becomes a health issue as the student isn’t getting the nutrients or sustenance that they need to remain healthy.

4. Blankets on Blankets on Blankets 

Everyone thinks that they are going to need all of the blankets they own for different reasons in college. The comforter, the blanket for under the comforter, the throw, the weighted blanket, the fuzzy blanket for when it’s freezing and the pretty one that just looks good.

But you DO NOT need them all.

More than likely you will use your comforter and one other blanket and although your friends may appreciate the extras, they will take up too much space and just collect dust most of the time — so don’t bring too many.

5. Nice Plates and Silverware

Paper or plastic is the way to go when it comes to plates and silverware, so definitely don’t pack any nice plates or fancy china.

One, you won’t ever want to be washing those dishes after you use them and two, when you do eat in your dorm, it will be much easier and safer to use paper plates and plastic silverware; you don’t want to be cleaning up any broken plates or bowls.

6. Binders and Paper

You may have needed a lot of binders, paper and notebooks in high school, but in college, you will only need one or two and that is because most of your work and note-taking will be done on your laptop.

Most professors will encourage students to use laptops to take notes because it is easier and more efficient. Because of the fact that most assignments will be completed online as well, it makes more sense to take notes on your laptop.

Some professors, however, will not allow laptops and electronics in the classroom, so you should bring one or two ways to take written notes, but definitely don’t overpack in the school supplies department.

7. Too Many Clothes and Shoes

College is not a runway during fashion week every day, so don’t go too crazy with overpacking clothes and shoes.

Although it is cliché and oversaid, you just simply do not need piles and piles of clothes and shoes. Even if you think you do (or you want to bring everything “just in case”), there will not be enough room for all of it in the dorm closets, as they are oftentimes pretty small. So just be aware when folding up your clothes that you think you need, but could really do without.

Overall, there is a lot that you need to pack when you move into a dorm room, but hopefully, you can use this list to “un-check” some of the boxes and save some space so you can actually fit in your car to get to college.

Writer Profile

Emily Sweeney

Quinnipiac University
Journalism

Emily is a 3+1 Journalism Student at Quinnipiac University with minors in sports studies, theater studies, and media studies. She is chairwoman of the Quinnipiac Bobcat Sports Network and president of the Quinnipiac Association for Women in Sports Media.

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