When you are leaving home for the first time to go to college, you'll find that there are a number of things that you need to bring. Most college pack lists tell you to bring things like lamps, wastebaskets, laundry baskets and blankets, but they do not mention what not to bring. The last thing you want to worry about when you are thinking about your first semester is having too many things cluttering your dorm room. However, what exactly should you leave at home?
You will not need as many clothes as you think that you do. For the most part, a college dorm room only has so much closet space, and this is often shared with a roommate. If you're lucky, you might have a chest of drawers next to your closet; in some cases, you only have the chest of drawers. College is a busy time, and chances are good that you will be throwing on a pair of jeans and a T-shirt every morning. Make sure that you have plenty of mix and match staples, and throw in one nice outfit for special occasions. Pack only seasonal clothing; you can leave summer clothes in a bin at your parents' house, and switch out your wardrobe after the semester is over.
Having extra sheets is just something that leads to more laundry and more random things to get thrown around the room. It might be convenient when you're home, but when in college, try to wash and re-use the same set of sheets. This might mean doing laundry more often, but you'll be glad you have the extra storage space in your room.
You are not going to have much time for cooking in college unless you are living off campus. When you are living in the dorm, you will likely have access to a microwave in the dining hall. A mini-fridge is nice for a number of different snacks, but that should be the extent of it. Leave things like coffee makers and popcorn poppers at home. They will take up space and you will not have the time to use them. In many cases, these things are also banned by your dorm; be sure to check a list of banned materials before you waste time packing anything you might have to take home later.
A printer can make things more convenient for you, but you do not necessarily need one. Printers take up a lot of space on your desk, and they can be quite bulky to transport. Most colleges and universities will give you a chance to print your papers in the computer labs. You'll find that having a USB flash drive around can make a big difference--keep papers stored on this instead, and print them in public facilities.
Ironing Board and Iron
There are a few students who need to make sure that they have an iron and an ironing board. If you are going to be going to law school, where the professors demand professional dress from the students, or if you are going to a professional job or internship, then by all means bring along an ironing board and an iron. Otherwise, make sure that you leave it at home!
Stuffed animals are nice, but they can get in the way when you are moving. If you do want to bring along a stuffed companion, make sure that you just choose one or two. Bringing along an entire collection is something that is going to feel very crowded in your room.
Perhaps there are some books that you would like to bring for leisure reading between classes, but most of the time, your time--and space--will be consumed by textbooks and folders of assignments. An alternative solution is to purchase an e-reader; other than that, opt to bring a maximum of three books from your personal collection to the dorms. Another possible option is to combine your collection with your roommate. Doing these will lessen the clutter and help you organize the limited living space that is your dorm room much better.
When you are going away to college for the first time, there might be a lot of things on your mind. Take a few moments to consider what you should bring and what you can easily leave behind. With so little space available, make the most of what you've got!
Obsessed with efficiency, Linda Wheaton is a college senior based in Seattle, regularly scours the Internet for new organizational tips for the home. She relies on Stita Taxi to efficiently navigate her way around Seattle.