Packing for Freshman Year: 7 Things to Leave Behind

So you're about to leave home, and you're faced with the daunting task of packing up the entire contents of your life and moving every material object that's important to you into one small room -- that you share! There are countless lists offered on the web suggesting what to bring with you to college. There are the obvious things you'll need, like bedding, clothes, a fridge... but be careful! One of the biggest problems I see repeatedly in my friends' dorms is that there's too much stuff!

Not my room, just to clarify... I'm super clean.

(Not my room, just to clarify. I'm super clean. This photo makes me cringe.)

As a student who just completed freshman year, I hope that you take this piece of advice before your dorm room turns into a crowded, cluttered black hole of stuff, you can't see the floor, and the Executive Producer for the reality TV show "Hoarding: Buried Alive" shows up to your door with a camera crew: before you box it up and squeeze it into your car as you prepare for Move-In day, ask yourself, "Do I really need this?"

If you're not sure, or you think you really can't live without all that stuff... think again! Here are some things you may THINK you want to have with you as you move into college (many of them are examples of things I brought, or that my friends brought) that you really don't need. Trust me, when you're living in a confined room, you'd rather have the space!

1. Your Favorite DVDs: All 57 of Them

DVDs take up a lot of space. It's understandable that you anticipate movie nights with friends, but you may be surprised that you really don't need to have so many. Some of the Residence Halls have an MMM, which stands for Movies, Music, & More. You can rent up to two movies at a time here free for 2 days - perfect to hold on to for a weekend. You can also go with your friends to a free movie at the IMU on Fridays and Saturdays. Take advantage of these movie resources and free up that shelf over your desk!

2. Books

For those of you who like to read, I'm sorry to break the news to you: you'll be really busy! Between going to classes, studying, doing homework, and sleeping whenever you can... not to mention other activities you might partake in, e.g. extra-curriculars, clubs, working out, partying... you won't have time.

I used to like to read, but a huge majority of the classes within my major assign homework to read chapters of the textbook - an assignment that in high school I would have not bothered to do at all... but in college, I wouldn't dream of blowing it off! Needless to say, after I finish the excessive amount of reading I'm supposed to do, reading for fun is the last thing I want to do!

3. That Bulky TV

This is really a toss-up. I'll admit that over this past year I was often chilling out in my friends' dorms who had TVs for movie nights and of course to watch IUBB! But after getting into the swing of college life, I was surprised by how much I really didn't miss watching TV on a regular basis. Another thing to keep in mind: you have a laptop. So many TV shows can be watched online through the network's website or through sites like Hulu and Netflix, if you have much extra time at all. If you want your room to be the room your friends come to during March Madness, then by all means, bring the TV.

But keep in mind, do you really want to spend freshman year watching TV in your dorm? Or do you want to experience IU? I brought my TV at the beginning of the year, and I was so busy that I never even plugged it in. It sat under my bed all year long.

4. Larger Cleaning Supplies

Don't let Bed Bath & Beyond's college check list fool you. Leave the broom and hand vaccuum at home! Instead, check out your floor/residence hall student closet for things to keep your room looking its best. I would recommend bringing only small things for yourself, like a roll of paper towels... and a Tide-To-Go pen.

5. Too Many Pillows

This is for you, girls who are ecstatic to decorate. Decorative pillows are fun, but if you bring too many, they'll just end up on the floor.

6. Dishes, forks, spoons, knives, etc...

You can buy paper plates, bowls, and everything else in the C-stores located in dorms throughout campus. It's already been paid for because you can use the money from your meal plan, so you might as well use it. Not to mention, washing dishes in a bathroom sink is a real pain, and leaving dirty dishes around the room will attract bugs and maybe even mice. Not pretty! AND, a lot of my friends who brought ceramic or glass dishes inevitably dropped and broke them over the course of the year. :(

Still bring a mug though if you anticipate making a lot of coffee/tea/hot chocolate.

7. Clothes You Don't Wear

While I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of closet space in my dorm room at Read, it still doesn't compare to your spacious walk-in closet at home. Be mindful, and only pack clothes you actually think you'll need and wear so you aren't crowding your precious storage space with things that are just taking up space.

Also! Be sure to communicate with your future roommate and ask questions about what each of you is planning to bring so you don't realize you're missing something important or have double of something. You can also check out and read about your dorm, or just try using google to find out more about your future residence hall; for example, if your dorm has air conditioning, you might not want to bring a fan or you might want a smaller one instead of a giant box fan, and some residence halls don't provide curtains. And be sure to read about restrictions so that you don't bother to bring anything you won't be allowed to use, such as hot plates or toaster ovens.

Check out these other articles for more opinions on what to pack and what to leave behind!

Dorm Necessities... You CAN take it with you!

Things To Bring To Your Dorm Room!

What to bring (and not to bring) to IU: The Freshman List

About The Author
Anne RileyAnthropology Major, Tutor, Volunteer, Class of 2016

I'm in the class of 2016, I'm from Greenwood, IN, and I'm majoring in anthropology with minors in Spanish and geography at Indiana University! I am most interested in studying biological anthropology and archaeology. Last summer I went on my first archaeological dig, 6 weeks of backcountry camping in Yellowstone National Park - it was awesome!

I am a member for IU's chapter of Global Brigades where I am a part of the Water Brigade - over spring break we went to Honduras to build sustainable water collection and filtration systems to bring clean water to rural communities that don't currently have access to safe water. This year we are planning another brigade to Ghana in May!

I intern in the Anthropology Department's Zooarchaeology Lab (zooarchaeology = zoo + archaeology = animal bones). My goal for future semesters is to also have a museum internship. I also work as a tutor with the writing center, Writing Tutorial Services (WTS). I am a musician as well and have played flute in the All-Campus Band; although I also play piano and saxophone. And of course, I am a student blogger for!

I also love:

  • Indiana basketball
  • the SRSC
  • indie rock music
  • travel
  • Pizza X
  • How I Met Your Mother
  • long walks on sandy beaches

I'm psyched to share my experiences and advice! Thanks for reading and GO HOOSIERS!