Previously I wrote a blog on what to bring to your dorm room that isn’t on the recommended packing list. But what about what not to bring? For the most part, these items aren’t on the packing list, but they are things that a lot of students (myself included) considered buying or bringing before moving into residence. Here are the things that you likely don’t need for life in a dorm:

Appliances and electronics

Don’t bother bringing….

  • A toaster
  • A microwave
  • An iron (no one cares about a little wrinkle)
  • A blender
  • Literally any appliance other than a mini fridge and a coffee maker. There’s a cafeteria right downstairs, and you’re already paying for a meal plan.
  • But what about the microwave? Don’t worry, there’s likely going to be one in your common area, along with a sink and dish soap.
Bath and laundry

Which brings us to the next point. Don’t bring dish soap. There’ll be some for you. Along with:

  • Toilet paper (do you really think the shared bathrooms aren’t fully stocked)
  • Paper towels
  • A vacuum cleaner
  • Garbage bins and bags, and recycling bins (I know I said earlier to bring your stuff in garbage bags so you can use them later. But there will be more available. The university wants to keep the rooms clean just as much as you do, after all it’s better for all if at the end of the year the room is clean and doesn’t smell like garbage)
  • Each floor likely has someone clean it every now and then, if you aren’t sure where to find the provided (and they very likely be provided) cleaning supplies, you can either ask them, or your residence floors don.
Bedding and decorations
  • Don’t buy new bedding (unless you would’ve bought new bedding for your home anyways).
  • “But I have a double / full size bed, and the university beds are twin!” You say. So? Just use the bedding that you have, and if it goes slightly over the mattress, so what.
  • If you have a double bed at home, you’re likely to have a double bed when you move out of the dorms, and then what’re you going to do when you have an entirely new set of sheets for a bed you don’t have?
  • University beds are the smallest kind of bed there is, and if you have a larger bed size, just use those sheets. No ones going to care if your sheets are a little baggy.
  • You also don’t need a chair and desk, those will be given to you (along with a lamp that’s likely attached directly to the desk)
  • Extra shelves. Ok, maybe one or two won’t hurt anyone. But don’t go overboard with the storage space you bring. A good majority of dorms have shelves in the dorm (mine were above my desk). Your extra storage space might end up taking up storage space.
  • Curtains. Your dorm will already have blinds and many places may prohibit you to put up your own curtains because of fire codes.

Other items you will want to give some extra thought to…

  • The university page might recommend dishes as an item to bring to your dorm. But how many? Typically, go with two, but if you can, one. One bowl, one plate, one cup. Just one of everything. You can also go with two because significant others might want to come, or even just friends, but like I said, if you can, just bring one. This will also encourage you to clean up your dishes soon after you use them.
  • Bikes. For the most part, you don’t really need a bike. Especially if you live somewhere with winters, where the cold will start seeping in as early as October and won’t leave until April, or basically the vast majority of your term. Plus, bikes can get stolen very easily. If you’re looking for a fast way around campus, a skateboard or roller blades are better portable options (though, you still won’t be able to use those when the snow hits).
  • Foods that create other items. There’s not really a better way to phrase these foods, but you don’t need to have things like ham, a block of cheese, or chicken in your dorms mini fridge (that is, if you have one). There’s a cafeteria right downstairs with pre-made food for you, and trust me you’re not going to want to cook when you have that option (plus, most schools have residences pay for a meal plan anyways first year, so you might as well). Things like fruits are totally cool if you want a late night snack though and don’t feel like going to the cafeteria. Of course, if you’re living apartment style / suite style, bring your own food.
  • Fancy clothes. No one really cares how you dress, as long as you actually do have clothes on and they don’t stink. Just wear whatever your style is. Speaking of clothes, don’t bring your entire wardrobe either. Not only will you then have to pack clothes for when / if you visit home, but it takes up too much space. You really only need enough clothes to last you two weeks and you’re good.
  • Pets. I know, it’d be cute to have your dog or cat with you first year, but 1) if first year, you need to learn to take case of yourself first, and having a companion on top of that is just too much, 2) the dorm rooms are tiny, and animals need space. A lot of the time there’s just not enough room for furry friend, and 3) most dorms don’t allow pets in the first place.

Lastly, one of the most important things on this list of what not to bring. Please, don’t bring what your roommate is bringing. For example, if you both decide to bring a mini fridge, the space gets camped. It’s just a waste of space in your already small rooms. Same goes for smaller things too, like a kettle. You both don’t need a kettle, they can store enough water for two cups of coffee. Part of living in residence is learning to share. Be sure to contact your roommate(s) and see what they’ve all decided to bring.

Also, you can bring any of these items to university (with, maybe, the exception of a pet). This is by no means an official list, so be sure to view the place you’ll be staying in, see what you’ll need and go from there.

Have a great year at university!

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