Packing for College: What You’ll Really Need in the Dorms

Hello, World.

The time is rapidly approaching to begin packing for college. Some of you might have already started buying dorm stuff…bedding, bulletin boards, etc., but I’m here to tell you a little about what I’ve learned from living in the dorms. There are hundreds of lists online about packing for the dorms. I way overpacked my first year in the dorms, and I overpacked a little my second year. When I was packing up my dorm room last spring, I really thought about what I would need when I returned. I thought about what I actually use, and what finds a place under my bed and then is never seen again until move-out day.

With this in mind, I’ve compiled my very own personal packing guide for college students! I spent a lot of time figuring out what you’ll need. I thought I would need a ton of stuff that I never used, and some of the stuff I never would have taken with me if it wasn’t a gift ended up being super useful! If you want to know a secret, though, I’ll tell you one, although it isn’t really much of a secret if you know me. I love shopping for dorms. Honestly, if my friends allowed, I would help them decorate their rooms just so I could pick out more dorm stuff. When I was a Weekend of Welcome leader last year, I loved seeing the first year students react to their rooms, I loved seeing them figure out how to organize their rooms, and how to decorate. I’m SO excited for this part of being a Resident Advisor: watching first year students adjust to dorm life.

Anyway, bit of a rant there. My apologies. So, I love packing for school because it gets me ready to head back to school and move in to my dorm. I always make a list before I start packing to make sure that I don’t forget anything. As you probably know, I love making lists. As a general aside, you may not need all the items on my list. For example, if you don’t wear makeup, you obviously won’t need makeup. Adjust the list up or down according to your needs, but I would take the part about clothing seriously…I WAY overpack clothes. Over the course of the last two years, I’ve really learned what I actually wear and how much stuff I need.
the ultimate college packing guide
Sleep

You can see how I would style a dorm bed HERE. Your bed is a great visual feature in such a small room, but make sure you’re comfortable. Too many nights on the thin twin XL mattress will take a toll.
study

Studying is a huge part of college, despite popular belief. See my favorite study accessories HERE.
beauty

Beauty is important! Don’t let taking care of yourself come second to all nighters. Packing beauty supplies can be tricky because there are so many small items that it’s easy to forget something. Keep this list in front of you while shopping and packing, and check out which specific products I use HERE.
wear
Clothing is one of the hardest things for most women to pack. I always use, “I like options,” as my excuse for overpacking. When packing for college, remember that your room is small, and that there is likely more than one person living in the room. Give each item of clothing a number limit. This will ensure you’re only taking your favorite clothing. Also, you’re not going to a fashion show everyday. College is pretty chill, so take clothes that you’ll look good in but do not take a wardrobe composed entirely of your best, flashiest pieces.
electronics

You may take more than this, like maybe a TV, but these are the electronics I use most frequently at school. Also, TVs are a little overrated. I don’t take a TV because not having TV makes me more social, keeps me from procrastinating, and gives me more spare time to do something productive.
kitchen
So, I labeled this ‘Kitchen,’ but know that you’re not going to have a kitchen. You won’t have any actual ‘kitchen’ like space. You will need to store your kitchen stuff either under your bed or on top of your mini fridge. Make sure you’re taking kitchen items that aren’t overly bulky!
storage

Become a super organizer between now and when you leave for school. Figure out how to store things like a crazy woman. Honestly, effective storage will get your so far.
shower

Flip flops are vital, do NOT forget them. Though if you do forget a pair of flip flops, head to your campus bookstore…they’ll probably have some for sale the first week of school.

Don’t forget about laundry! Laundry may be put off for a week or two, but you still need somewhere to store it, and stuff to clean it when the time comes. Left off this list, but important at some schools: quarters.
clean

Cleaning supplies are easy to forget because they’re not the most glamorous items going in your suitcase. Alas, dorms are a dusty locale, so make sure you have proper supplies to combat dust bunnies and flu season.
just in case

This is my section of random items that I didn’t think I would need, or that I forgot my first year in the dorms, and ended up having my mom send to me a few months into the school year.

Packing for college can de daunting. I made the mistake of going to Bed, Bath, and Beyond and pretty much buying everything on their list…WAY too much stuff when I got to my tiny little room. I ended up sending a ton of stuff home with my parents so they could return it to the store. My advice? Pack using this list as a guideline for you first year, and figure out what you definitely need and what you definitely don’t need. Also, don’t pack like 5,000 mugs or tons of pajamas or other bulky items you don’t need a year’s supply of in your room.

What’re you packing for the dorms?

Truly,
Callie leigh

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