21 Things You DON’T Need to Take to College

What don’t you need to take to college? Going through my drafts, I came upon this post that I wrote back in 2017 after my daughter had been in college for a year. When I attended college, I made my way back home every day, but in my daughter’s case, she was away from home for the first time, and we thought we needed everything under the sun. We packed the car and helped her survive move-in day, but we still weren’t prepared.

After all, there are tons of articles online touting what you absolutely must have in your college dorm. These same posts fail to mention that whatever you bring with you will have to be returned home at the end of every semester… only to be transported the following go-around again! The truth is that you’d be surprised how little you really do need!

We’re talking about a room you’ll be living in for three months at a time. Often upper-level students end up moving into a more permanent apartment off-campus, so the dorm lifestyle ends up being a two-year experience at most. In our case, our daughter only spent her freshman year in the dorm. In the scheme of things, this is a short amount of time, the majority of which you won’t even be in your room!

Less is more. Really! Here are 21 things you don’t need to take to college.

Things You Don't Need for College
  1. Lots of decorative junk

Don’t fall victim to shopping flyers showing flawlessly decorated dorm rooms. None of that matters, and college is already so expensive! Yes, the space should be comfortable, but does it really need to showcase your personality? Maybe you should go out and socialize if you’re concerned about your personality being showcased! Remember that your room is for studying and resting. Hauling all of that stuff back and forth in between semesters will get old fast!

  1. An over-the-door mirror

This is a large, awkward item to carry up and downstairs and fit into a vehicle. A smaller mirror will work just fine, and you likely already have one in the bathroom you’ll share with between one and three other people, so you won’t exactly have to fight to use it.

  1. Excessive bedding

Pillows and cushions take up space. Two are plenty. Bring two sets of sheets, a bed bug mattress protector, an egg crate mattress topper, and a comforter. No more!

  1. Extra furniture (bedside table, desk chair, additional seating, shelving)

You don’t have room for these, you don’t need them if you aren’t bringing copious amounts of stuff, and the dorm may already come with some of these anyway. Check ahead of time.

  1. Pictures in frames

A few flat, printed photos and some sticky tack works just fine.

  1. Desk lamp

The lighting in the room is all you need.

  1. Tons of clothes and shoes

Consider what you will actually be doing in the months you’ll be at school. Pack according to events, sports, daily activities, and try to make your wardrobe pieces do double duty.

Tons of Clothes and Shoes
  1. Printer

Often school work is submitted online now, and if it needs to be printed, there are printers on campus and FedEx Kinko facilities everywhere these days.

  1. School supplies

Wait until the professor specifically tells you what you need before over-buying.

  1. Monogrammed towels

If someone is going to use or steal your towel, expensive monogramming is not going to prevent this.

  1. Tool kit

You’re never going to use this. If you need to repair something and you live on campus, there are maintenance workers to help you.

  1. Sound machine

You already have an expensive device for this: It’s called a smartphone!

  1. Portable GPS

See above, and just in case you’re too lazy to look above, it’s called a smartphone!

  1. Alarm clock

See above again! But I’m going to remind you; it’s called a smartphone!

An Alarm Clock
  1. Books (other than what’s required)

Subscribe to audible or check out books from the library instead.

  1. Hammock

No. Just no. In all seriousness, if you have the time and desire to lounge outside on campus, lay an inexpensive blanket or towel in the grass. Many of the items you bring should be able to serve a dual purpose.

  1. Tap lights

No, you will not need these to light your closet or path to the bathroom. If you really need light, use your phone.

  1. Air purifier

Unless you have a specific health condition, this is a waste of space and money.

  1. Sewing kit

Don’t bring this unless it’s highly likely that you’ll use it.

  1. Full first aid kit

Bring the basics and any prescriptions you absolutely need. Otherwise, visit the clinic on campus or the nearest drug store.

  1. Bike, bike accessories, skateboard

These are big, bulky, and rarely get used as often as students fantasize. Bicycles can be rented or even purchased secondhand.

Bike and Skateboard

Take this from a parent who went overboard buying some of the unnecessary items listed above and save yourself the headache and keep some of that hard-earned money in your pocket, unless you’re just dying to throw some of it away. Then, by all means, ask for my CashApp info. 😊 We all know that college isn’t for everyone, and what if you can’t afford college? Or maybe you have a child who needs a bit of encouragement after high school; well, here are four ways you can encourage your child to go to college.

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