Packing your bags for college is a true test of skill and commitment, and since it’s so easy to overpack, it’s important to be wary of the things you don’t need to bring to college. When you’re living in a teeny dorm room, every spare inch of space counts, so you don’t want to transport your entire bedroom to school with you. You can only fit so much in a suitcase, and if you’re traveling by plane, getting your necessary belongings to campus is even more of an ordeal.
Living in a college dorm means that you can have fun experimenting with decor, as long as you’re also stocking up on your dorm room essentials. But since small rooms can get cluttered quickly, it’s important to make the most of what you’ve got. And that means limiting some of your decorative extras—and steering clear of cliché things everyone has in their dorm.
Your dorm room should appropriately express who you are without cramping your style. As long as you skip out on bringing these 11 items along with you on move-in day, you’re sure to maximize your dorm’s potential. Take a list and get out your suitcases—it’s time to get packing!
1. Closet Dividers
Closet organizers are the tricksters of the home improvement world — they make you think that you're on your way to a better, more organized you when in reality they can end up making your life more difficult. Coming into your freshman year dorm can be quite the gamble, so if you're not positive about what your closet will look like, don't take the risk by buying organizing tools that might not even fit.
You're bound to tell your new college friends all about your life back home and it's natural to want to help them put names to faces. But that's why social media exists. Show your new pals your middle school crushes via some good old-fashioned Facebook stalking instead of lugging your hefty yearbooks along with you. Bonus: Leaving the books behind will also prevent you from sinking into a bout of homesickness.
3. High School Attire
Your letterman jacket may have made you cool back at home, but no one wants to be the freshman repping their suburban high school sports team in college. No one. Plus, you'll end up getting a bunch of new, college swag you'll want to wear instead.
4. Sports Equipment You Won't Actually Use
If you're considering bringing that dusty tennis racket because you might want to play a game every once in a while, think long and hard about whether you'll actually head out to the courts. If the answer is "probably not," bring along a deck of cards instead — they'll always come in handy with a group of people.
5. Instruments You Won't Actually Play
The same thing goes for instruments — you don't want your guitar collecting dust in the corner of your dorm room, but you also don't want to be the freshman who starts playing "Wonderwall" at every party. If you already play regularly, bring it along. If not, you most likely won't have time to play it once classes start anyway.
Feel free to bring along picture frames or nostalgic decor, but be mindful that this stuff collects dust very easily. You also won't want to display any valued knickknack that can get broken in a drunken accident.
Most, if not all, college dorms prohibit candles for understandable reasons. Avoid getting in trouble and leave 'em at home.
8. Stereotypical Posters
If you really, really love that "Keep Calm and Carry On" poster, by all means, no one is stopping you from hanging it. But just know that it won't make your dorm room stand out, if that's what you're going for.
9. A Full Set of Plates
You may want to have a plate and bowl on hand for dorm-friendly microwave meals, but if you don't have a kitchen, you'll really only need one of each.
10. Welcome Mat
A rug that covers an entire cold, concrete floor can prove handy for making a room more cozy. But be warned: Small, flimsy rugs will only get kicked around and collect dust.
11. Spare Furniture
Sure, a bean bag chair or foldable ottoman seem cool while you're scouting around Bed, Bath & Beyond, but it's likely you don't actually have room for them. If you still want them after you've moved in, then order them online and have them shipped.
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