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What NOT To Bring When Moving To College

Students and parents at move-in day at SUNY Oswego.

Fall semester is starting soon and you’re almost ready to move into your college dorm! You’ve diligently read every “Dorm Room Essentials” list you came across online (including this SUNY blog post) and you’re positive you haven’t missed a single thing. However, according to dorm experts, chances are you’ve packed way more than you need. If you’re struggling to decide what to leave at home, below is our list of items you definitely don’t need to pack for school.

1) Don’t double up: find out what your roommate is bringing. 

Communication is key! Checking in with your future roommate before you start packing with save you a lot of hassle. In addition to the obvious items like the mini-fridge and TV, other items you probably don’t want to double up on include a full-length mirror, floor lamp, stereo, curtains/decorations, trash bin, printer, kitchen supplies, broom or vacuum, and coffee maker.

2) If it can’t be kept permanently in the closet or under the bed, ditch it.

Your dorm room space is extremely limited – even if you can somehow find space for free-standing items, you’re not going to want them in the way. Your bed is more than sufficient for lounging on, and a futon will only invite unwanted guests. Chairs, side tables, and even ottomans with storage are all a waste of space. A laundry bag that can be tucked under your bed is far more convenient than a laundry basket. Also, items like an ironing board or a drying rack will only collect dust in your closet.


3) Resist the urge to purchase dorm room gimmicks.

Retailers are going to try and capitalize on your fear of being unprepared for college. Don’t let them convince you that you need 20 “dorm necessities” you’ve never even heard of. A good rule of thumb: If you wouldn’t use it at home, you probably won’t use it at school. Are you really going to use that computer lock? Bed risers hardly provide extra space and most dorm room beds can be raised or lofted. The vast selection of flashy school supplies, planners, calendars, desk accessories, and bulletin boards may seem practical, but you don’t need all of it. Make a list of everything you need for school before you go shopping and stick to it so you don’t purchase any unnecessary gimmicks!

4) Replace what you can with items that are multi-functional.

Consider swapping your coffee maker for an electric kettle that you can use to make coffee, tea, and instant noodles. Why bring a TV when you can watch almost anything on your computer? Use your suitcases for storage instead of purchasing storage bins. Bring an extra-long power cord instead of an extension strip. If you can use the alarm on your cell phone, you don’t need a separate alarm clock. Instead of purchasing dozens of notebooks and binders, use your laptop to take notes. The list goes on and on; you just need to be creative!

5) Don’t ignore the list of prohibited items.

You probably don’t want to hear this, but there are rules for a reason! Bringing things you’re not allowed to have is more trouble than it’s worth – I promise, you will survive without a toaster in your room. By leaving prohibited items at home, you’ll save space and you won’t have to worry about trying to hide anything from the RA. (Emphasis on “trying”, because you’d most likely be caught!)

6) You don’t need all of your clothing, so choose wisely.

If you’re attending school in upstate New York, you’ll probably only need warm weather clothes for the first two weeks so pack light! Also, consider swapping the ending season’s clothes for the upcoming season’s when you go home for the weekend, instead of bringing it all to school in the fall. And if you’ve packed any old t-shirts, take them out of your suitcase! By the end of your first week at college you will have accumulated enough free t-shirts to last a lifetime. 


We want to see your move-in day photos! Follow SUNY on Instagram and tag your photos with #SUNYgram for a chance to be featured.

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Written by Serah Shahar

Serah was a social media intern in the SUNY Office of New Media, having graduated from the University at Albany with Business Administration degree with concentrations in marketing and finance and minors in economics and communications.

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