Fact: The majority of freshmen college students over-pack. I was surprisingly not one of them. I admit, I brought a lot of stuff with me to college, but there was hardly anything I did not use that I brought with me. I am going to sketch out a rough list of items that students should bring with them, including my most and least needed items.
Most Used and Favorite Item: Printer
Least Needed Item: Car
As digital as our day-and-age is, college still tends to require quite a bit of paper. Maybe not as much during your freshman year, but as your course study gets more intense, so does your printing. Having my own printer was a life saver. I didn’t have to get to campus insanely early to print something out, and I didn’t have to wait in line either. It saved me so much time and sleep, two things that can be hard to come by when in college. You can find quality printers for as cheap as $20—you really don’t need anything fancy!
Tip: If you do bring a printer with you to college, avoid letting your roommates know, or charge them $0.25 per page as a convenience and materials fee. If they aren’t willing to cough up the money then they can afford to go to campus. The last thing you need on a student budget is to be paying for your 7 roommates’ ink and paper.
I didn’t bring my car with me to college, and I am glad that I didn’t! It would have been a waste of money. Anyone who pays for their own insurance knows that insuring a young driver is not cheap—usually $100 or more per month. Then there is gas, parking permits, and maintenance you have to worry about. Considering most college towns have things set up within walking distance, a car is not necessary. Plus, the walks you get to campus and the grocery store help you avoid those freshman 15.
In addition to being a waste of money, using a car in a college town can be a huge waste of time. Parking is often horrendous. You spend just as much time, if not more, looking for parking on campus as you would walking to your classes. Save yourself some frustration and enjoy the weather outside! Also, chances are that at least one of your roommates will have brought a car with them to school (unless they all read this blog post). So if you really don’t want to walk a mile home with your grocery bags, see if you can go with them on their next shopping trip and offer them a couple dollars in gas money so you aren’t a moocher.
Here is the remaining list of things to bring with you besides a printer (my most favorite item ever):
- mattress protector
- bed sheets, pillow(s)
- desk lamp
- pencils, pens
- folder or binder
- water bottle
- clothing for different weather (invest in a good coat and boots if you are going somewhere cold)
- bath towels
- shower curtain
- toilet paper, paper towels
- cleaners (just because you are moving out of your parents’ house doesn’t mean you get to be messy)
- dish soap, sponges
- laundry detergent
- a couple dishes, pots and pans, utensils, cutting board, strainer, Tupperware (remember you only need a COUPLE—you are one person, there is likely not going to be a lot of space for your dishes, and having less will force you to stay on top of keeping your dishes clean)
- dish towels
- hot pads
- trash bags
Other Optional Handy Items:
- mattress pad (provides extra comfort on the rickety beds you find in college dorms)
- a little décor for your room (some places don’t allow holes in the walls or even command hooks, so look into that beforehand)
- a couple things you do for hobbies (ex: instrument, books, games, skateboard… you will find spare time occasionally)
- fan or heater (does your apartment have AC or heat?)
- organizing bins and storage (many dorms lack a good amount of storage space)
- trash can (one of your roommates may have brought one already for the kitchen and bathroom, so hold off on this until you move in)
Now, remember everyone is different! Maybe you live 5 miles from the university campus and the nearest grocery store. Or maybe you are just lazy. Either way, this packing list and advice may not suit you or your needs. In which case, ignore basically everything I said. But thanks for reading, and I wish you the best as you start or continue your college adventure!