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This post is all about what not to bring to college.

what to bring to college
Credit: @dormify

With high school graduation approaching, that means that packing and leaving for college is really not too far behind. Summer is going to go by so fast and if you’re leaving for college in August, you want to make sure you’re super prepared as early as possible.

Thinking about what to bring to college and all the things to buy for college can be pretty stressful, which is why I always found it helpful to think about what NOT to bring to college! I think this is the most helpful way to make sure that you aren’t bringing unnecessary things to college that’ll just take up space and make your life even more chaotic than it needs to be.

The following 15 items are things you definitely don’t need to bring to college!

This post is all about how to not pack too much for college.


1. More than one set of sheets or towels

Especially if you’re moving into a dorm, the last thing you need is several sets of sheets or towels. Having only one towel or one set of sheets is so useful for several reasons! The first reason is that it’ll save you room in the small amount of storage space you get. Towels and sheets are so bulky and will take up so much space that can rather be used for clothes or food.

The second reason is that you’ll never use the second towel or sheet set you bring. This may sound gross, but you won’t be doing laundry as often as you think you will. And when you do, it’s super easy to wash them and then put them right back on your bed or hook them on your wall instead of switching them out for a brand-new set.

2. Too many shoes

Trust me, you’ll only be wearing the same five or six shoes on repeat. This is honestly a mistake I made all four years of college because I could never part with all of the shoes I loved, but I seriously wish I did. Shoes are so annoying to store and most of them will just sit in your closet or under your bed for all nine months of college.

The only shoes I recommend bringing are…

  • White sneakers
  • Tennis shoes / workout shoes
  • Black boots
  • Bar / frat shoes
  • Shower shoes (if in a dorm)
  • Fun pair of sneakers / boots

3. ALL of your clothes

This goes for every year of college, not just when you’re in a dorm. You’ll have so much less closet space than you probably expect or that you’re used to, so definitely do not bring all of your clothes. I recommend going through all of your clothes beforehand and getting rid of or donating things you haven’t worn in a while! This will make packing so much easier. Then go through everything again and just pack the things you KNOW you will wear. This can definitely be hard to predict, but having clothes in your dorm that you never wear will get so annoying, fast.

4. Microwave

A lot of dorms nowadays provide microwaves! Save space when you’re moving and ditch the microwave because the odds of your dorm already having one are high! Of course check this out before you go, though! You can look online and see what your dorm offers you, and if a microwave isn’t an amenity, you may want to buy one.

5. Too many pillows

If you’ve seen pictures of crazy decorated and put-together dorm rooms, then you may be thinking that tons of pillows are things every college student needs to make their dorm look cute. But this couldn’t be farther from the truth!

In reality, having too many pillows is going to come back and bite you in the butt. The reality of you making your bed look cute every day is low in a dorm room, and then you’ll just have tons of pillows scattered on your floor. To avoid this, I recommend only getting 2-3 decorative pillows for your dorm bed. Decorative pillows are also expensive so this will help you save money!

6. Bed risers

Nowadays dorm beds can be any height you want them to be, and typically they’re already at bunk bed height. Bed risers are just unnecessary and it’s super likely you won’t need them at all for your dorm.

7. Pots, pans, and tons of dishes

When I lived in a dorm the only dishes I used were maybe one bowl or plate and some silverware. If you’re thinking you’re going to be using the communal kitchen enough to buy pots and pans, I’m sorry, but you’re wrong! Don’t waste money and soo much needed space with kitchen appliances and pots and pans that you might use once in the dorm (if you’re lucky).

8. Full-sized vacuum

One of the biggest answers to “What not to bring to college?” is a full-sized vacuum! I recommend keeping a small Dirt Devil or similar-sized vacuum in your dorm room because this will come in handy all the time. You probably won’t need a full-sized vacuum often if at all, and if you do, each dorm floor should have one that everyone shares.

9. Suitcases

There will be no room in your dorm for large luggage. Absolutely none. Instead, I recommend bringing a medium-sized and durable overnight bag that you can fold up and shove under your bed or in your closet. Luggage might seem useful (and if you’re far from home it might be) but it’ll take up so much space that you just won’t have.

10. Mini fridge

I don’t think dorm rooms come without a mini fridge anymore! Just like microwaves! This is another thing you’ll want to check before moving into your dorm, but most colleges save you money nowadays and provide you with a mini fridge already in your room.

11. Large wallet

This is something you might not think about, but you definitely will not need or ever use a large wallet. All four years of college I used either a phone wallet that attaches to your phone case, or a small card holder that fit easily into my belt bag or purse when I went out. It’s so much nicer to have everything you need in something small or on your phone than using a huge wallet.

12. Tons of school supplies

I guarantee you won’t need nearly as many folders and notebooks as you did in high school. I would actually wait until school starts to see what each of your professors requires and then buy the bare minimum of what you need for school supplies. I think I bought some notebooks and folders freshman year and was able to reuse them until I graduated!

13. Iron

I don’t know that many people who actually consider bringing an iron to school, but if you’re considering it, don’t do it. It’s so not worth it! If you’re worried about your clothes getting wrinkled there are other ways to fix this problem than needing to have a full iron and ironing board in your dorm. Instead, you could purchase a mini steamer that can take out any wrinkles! It takes longer than an iron but is way easier to store. You can also throw your clothes in the dryer for a few minutes and let the heat work out the wrinkles that way.

14. Printer

Your university will have a printer for you to use, and I bet your dorm will as well. Printers are always in libraries and college apartments which they offer to residents as well. Depending on your major you might not even need to print things at all!

15. Anything your roommate already brought

It’s essential that you talk with your roommate before you move in to see who is going to bring what for your dorm room, apartment, or house. I always made a Google doc or spreadsheet with my roommates and each “signed up” to buy something or bring what we already had so there were no overlaps. Especially in a dorm, you’ll be sharing everythinggg.

things every college student needs
Credit: @jt.designss


1. How much is too much packing for college?

If you’re packing things you haven’t used or worn in months, then you’re packing too much!! You only want to pack essentials and things you need and love.

2. What not to do for college?

There are so many things to avoid doing in college, and it’s all the bad things you’ve avoided all your life!

3. Am I packing too many clothes for college?

If you’re packing clothes that you found at the back of your closet and that you haven’t worn in years, then yes… you’re packing too many clothes for college!

4. How do I not pack too much for college?

Go through your things a few times before packing up and loading up the car! This way you’ll be weeding everything out and making sure you’re not overpacking for your dorm.

This post is all about college dorm checklist for freshman.

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