Dorm Essentials: What to Bring

I have an unhealthy obsession with dorm furniture.  You know that Bed Bath and Beyond circular that comes out around this time each year?  Yeah, I want it all.  Right now I’m in need of towels and sheets and I’ve been avoiding Bed Bath and Beyond until that stuff is all gone, because I will buy everything.

When I was about to enter my freshman year of college my school sent me a handy dandy list of things to bring. It was a little helpful, in that it told me to leave the candles and hot plates at home, but really it left a little to be desired.

First, although it is so exciting to get new things for your new living space, I think college is a time of minimalism. You’ll be leaving a lot of stuff back at home. It’s a good growing experience. Get on board.

Here’s what I’d bring if I was staying in a dorm:

(Don’t forget to contact your roommate to see if they’re bringing any of the things you can share!)

For Eating:
A plastic bin to put your snacks in

Sometimes the weather sucks, or you don’t feel good and you don’t want to go to the food halls. I get it. These things help. Some dorms have shared kitchens with these things in them. I could share a microwave with 20 other people, but not a fridge. And would you believe that we actually had our kitchen taken away from us multiple times? Apparently people didn’t clean up after themselves. Yeah, there’s that. And as for the plastic bin, it holds your snacks so no little dorm room pests get in them. My old roommate actually stored her snacks in a locking chest. You know, for when the dorm room pest is a bear. So yeah…

For covering your body:
If you live close enough I recommend bringing a season of clothes at a time. For fall semester in the mid-Atlantic, a few shorts, some pants and lots of short sleeve or light long sleeve shirts would do. A light jacket works too. Then, when you go home for Thanksgiving take those shorts home and trade in a few sweaters. Just a few! After all, the semester is almost done after that. In fact, I recommend you start moving some stuff home at Thanksgiving as well if you can’t leave it at the dorm.
Same type of thing for Spring semester. Start out with light long sleeve shirts, sweaters, pants, layering items and heavy jackets. On Spring Break you can switch your heavy winter things for more springy items.
As for jewelry, don’t bring it all. Just a few choice things that match everything. Lock it up in a lock box.  I used a cash box because it had dividers so I could stay organized!
Your shoes will be the most important clothes you bring to college. Your stilettos are cute as heck, but one day walking around campus with them and they’ll be resigned to special nights only. Have that one special pair. The others should be comfortable for walking.
I suggest limiting that makeup and nail polish as well.  Bring your essentials and a few things that feel super special.

For the room:
Extra Long Twin Bedding – I’ve heard that normal size twin bedding works if you get jersey knit, but I’ve not tried this myself!
Fan – Because often times dorms can be very hot
Vacuum – Because you’re dirty and the one in the dorm won’t work after 2 weeks
Shower Caddy – I opted for one that was cute but not waterproof. It was a mistake.
Alarm Clock – OK, you probably use your phone. But I like a standard alarm clock. However, I am a child and cannot remember to set said alarm clock when I come in already half asleep and having to wake up in only a few short hours. Enter the most amazing alarm clock ever.
Shower Flip Flops – The sad fact of life is that you’ll be showering in flip flops on the regular.  I’m sorry.  You’ll appreciate private showers so much more after this.

For school stuff:
Computer – I know some people who didn’t have a computer in college. It’s do-able. But I would want one if I could afford one. 
Calculator – Even if you don’t have any math classes
Pencils, Pens, Paper, Binder/Folders – Because they’re expensive in the school store. Or go to a different store once you get to school, because carrying too much stuff is lame.

For Stuff to Do:
I highly suggest you bring things to do in the dorm that make you happy! If you’re into video games, bring them. If you like making jewelry, bring some supplies. You may need it on a boring rainy Saturday.

But you want to know the worst thing about those Bed Bath and Beyond circulars?  They feature all these great things that seem like a great idea for your dorm, but would likely never fit.  It’s a cruel game.