What NOT to Pack for College


What NOT to Pack for College

If you are headed to college for the first time this semester, you may have seen some of the hype about everything you need to pack for college. Laundry lists of items are everywhere on Pinterest and Facebook these days; just looking at them can make your head spin and your wallet go into shock. Most of it is pure marketing rhetoric aimed at getting students to spend, spend, spend. Honestly, you don’t need most of what is included on those lists. Chances are pretty good that you will have less space than you currently have at home, so making good choices on what to bring and what to leave behind can save you both money and time. Before you go out and spend any money for your trip to college, consider leaving these items behind.

1. Appliances

Many colleges allow students to rent mini-fridges, microwaves, and other appliances. If you are permitted to bring them, be sure to check with your roommate to ensure you don’t bring duplicate items, as space is limited. Some colleges even offer common areas for public use, including a full kitchen and a big screen television for viewing movies and sporting events. If there are certain shows you can’t live without, consider getting a membership with Netflix, Hulu, or HBOtoGo.com and watch your favorite movies or shows on your laptop, instead of dragging along a heavy TV.

2. Your Closet

As a general rule, students should bring along enough clothes for two weeks. You won’t need your prom dress or every accessory in your wardrobe. Most students wear simple, comfortable clothes to class, so a few shorts, jeans and tees will do the trick. The same rule applies to shoes; bring three or four pairs, including your most comfortable sneakers and flip flops. You’ll probably make a trip back home at some point during the semester, so you can pick up additional items then. And if you run low on clothes, do some laundry! Try to pack only those items you plan on wearing on a regular basis.

3. Knick Knacks

You know those throw pillows you have all over your bed and your favorite stuffed animals? Leave them at home. Bringing one or two is okay, but having your bed covered with them will only make your room feel smaller and more cluttered. Many schools also have strict regulations about hanging things on the walls, so leave behind large posters and prints. Instead, bring one or two of your favorite photos in a frame to place on your desk. It’s also a good idea to leave behind knick knacks, as these items can easily be broken or possibly go missing. If you are sharing space with another student, check with him/her before adding unusual decorations to your room.

4. Iron & Board

How often did you iron your clothes at home? Expect to do it even less while in college. With classes, late-night studying, and the social scene, spending extra time getting ready in the morning is not ideal. Instead, try to bring wrinkle-free clothing with you, as it will save you time and space. If you must have an ironing board, consider bringing a mini-board, as it will be easier to store.

5. Books

If you are a bookworm and love to read in your free time, resist the urge to bring your private collection of books with you to college. You may not have as much free time as you think and you can probably check out the same novels from the campus library. Another thing to consider is the additional weight books can add to your packing; they not only put a strain on your back, but your wallet too, especially if you plan to fly.  Investing in an e-reader (such as a Nook or Kindle) might be a better option, as it takes up less space than a stack of books, and you may be able to use it for your classroom textbooks as well.

When packing for college, it’s best to bring only the essentials.  In addition, several items (such as food and toiletries) can be purchased at the local store once you settle in to your new space. If you are headed to a colder climate for school, don’t pack a heavy winter jacket or tons of winter clothes. Instead, head to the local thrift store once the weather changes to pick up what you need. It’s also a good idea to pack items into bins and other containers that can be used for storage during the semester, instead of a traditional suitcase. Just remember, everything you bring or purchase will eventually have to be packed up and toted home again; keep to the basics to save yourself both time and money.