College Advice Blog

Dec 14, 2012

You Don't Really Need That, Do You?

Brand new college students often over-pack. It's so tempting to take along things that you don't realize you don't need and items that have sentimental value. Once you get to your dorm room, though, you'll realize just how little space you have for your belongings. Plus, you're going to start acquiring new items as you live on campus and if you bring too much to start out, you'll run out of room fast. Avoid this common pitfall by following these college packing tips and leaving unnecessary items behind:

Pack a notebook or two, but that's it. Today, most professors allow laptops in the classroom, which means you can take notes electronically. If you end up needing more notebooks as the semester goes on, they're pretty cheap and you can just pick them up at the store.

You really don't need your huge flat-screen, since most college dorms have common areas with cable TVs. Plus, you can watch just about anything online, which means your laptop can double as a television.

Even though your beloved pet provides TLC when you need it most, leave Fido at home. You're not going to have enough time on your hands to devote to caring for a pet.

Brand new textbooks are a waste of money. At almost $250 a pop, you can drop more than a thousand dollars just on new textbooks. Instead, buy them used, rent them, download needed pages online or head to the library to use their copy. Whatever you choose, buying them new is not a smart option.

Yes, it's convenient to have a printer in your dorm room, but you really don't need one. It'll take up space, and most colleges have pay-as-you-go printing services available in the library and computer centers.

Unless your dorm room will let you use the phone line for local calls at no extra cost, don't bother getting a phone. Today, everyone has a cell phone, so as long as your college gets good service, you'll be just fine.

Even though “spare sheets” is on just about every college packing list, they're really not necessary. When you do laundry, you'll have it back the same day because you can't leave your clothes in the on-campus washer or dryer overnight.

Don't purchase a desk and chair - just about every dorm room has one for each student.

Even if you're a neat freak, you probably won't need a vacuum. Most dorm rooms have uncarpeted floors - all you'll need is a broom and dustpan to keep things tidy.

A lot of these items can be left off your first college packing list. Once you get to where you'll be living, you can determine what you still have space for and then bring extra items. Give yourself time to figure out what you think you're missing too. You may think you can't live without your collection of DVDs, but once you realize how busy you are with classes and extracurricular activities, you may not give movie watching a second thought. Also, find out what your housing department has available. You may be able to borrow cleaning supplies and other items from the front desk, which means you don't have to pack them. Knowing what comes standard in your dorm ahead of time will make writing your list a cinch.

About the Author

Part college junior and freelance blogger, Robert Lang is currently seeking internship experience at an advertising agency in Phoenix.

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