As I packed up my freshman dorm room to leave for the summer, I had one thought running through my head – “I own way to much stuff!” Between what I had packed to come to college, the sorority gear I acquired, and the useless “because it was on sale” purchases, I managed to fill an entire truck, and still have stuff left over. I totally fell into the trap and over-packed! This summer, I have taken a lot of time to reevaluate everything I own, and am starting to get rid of a lot of it. I will do the same reevaluation when packing for college this fall. I have realized there were things I totally didn’t need, and things I needed, but forgot. Here are my top five of each.
WHAT I DIDN’T NEED:
MY BELOVED PET FREDDIE FISH
While I love Freddie, and I think watching fish is very relaxing, Freddie went home in the middle of my first semester. He was in a 3 gallon filtered fish tank, and while he was permitted at my college, he was taking up too much valuable space. Dorm rooms are tiny enough, without a giant fish tank sitting on the little desk space I had. Also, cleaning his tank in the bathroom sinks was an impossible task. I had the options of cleaning his tank in the shower, or carrying his tank down two flights of stairs, cleaning it in the laundry room sink, filling it back up, and walking to my room. I did it once, and I spilled the tank all over my shirt halfway up. A week later, he rode 2 hours back home with my mom. Note to self: no more pets at school.
I brought some of my favorite books to read in my free time. However, I quickly discovered my free time was more useful for making the fantastic friendships that I found freshman year. Also, if you want something to read, you can just take a short walk to the college library that your tuition pays for. I am sure they would love to help you find an interesting book, and getting lost in the stacks is a lot of fun. Bringing my own books was just a waste.
COLORING BOOKS AND PLAY DOUGH
Yes, I am a five year old girl. I loved coloring, and sculpting with play dough was relaxing for me. However, I found these things in my bottom drawer while packing to move home. Never, ever touched them at all. Nix the unnecessary games.
While a new member of my sorority, it seemed I was constantly receiving gifts, but I never gave one. Second semester, when I did give gifts, I would just stick them in the recipients mail box, or throw them in a bag and call it a day. I never took the time to wrap them, and sometimes the recipient would just see me standing at their door, gift in hand going “Here, I made this.” Wrapping paper was a waste of space and money.
POTS AND PANS
My freshman dorm had a kitchen in the basement, and when I first heard about it, I thought it was a great idea to be able to cook occasionally. I never, ever used the pots and pans I brought. Everything I ate was at the cafeteria, fast food, or microwavable. Of course, if you are more dedicated than me, and your dorms kitchen isn’t a complete disaster, these may be more useful. Carrying hot pans up 2 flights of stairs to my room = not cool at all.
WHAT I DID NEED:
I am only 5’2″, so reaching the top shelf of my closet was a struggle. The desk chairs in our rooms rocked back, and standing on them made me uneasy. Also, when I lifted my bed enough to put my dresser under it, my bed was at the right height to require me to climb my chair to get on it every night. A step stool would have been a great addition to my room. I love that it is pink and green, which matches my room perfectly, plus there are other colors and patterns to match anyone’s style.
STURDY STORAGE CRATES
I bought a set of crates for freshman year that you assemble yourself. There are little round pieces you push the sides of the crate into to build it however you want. They were complete crap, and constantly broke. They didn’t hold my books, and the sides collapsed when I tried to contain my shoes in one. This year, I will buy proper crates. You can find great ones for under $10. I am going to get 3 – one for my shoes in the bottom of my closet, and two for beside my desk to store my books in. Dormify has some amazing storage containers, and they’re super cute as well!
A MINI FRIDGE
My roommate messaged me at the beginning of the year to tell me she was bringing a mini fridge. I had decided I would just share with her, but buying my own was really a better decision. This helped eliminate the grey area of “whose water bottle is that?” and gave me more room for my own food. Plus, I didn’t feel guilty filling my fridge, but felt bad taking up half of hers.
A rug is going to be a wonderful investment whether your room is carpeted or not. Every room I walked into that had a rug on the floor felt nicer than the ones with the standard, cold linoleum flooring or the gross stained carpeting. A rug keeps your feet from getting cold when walking barefoot, makes the room feel more like home, and can make a really nice decorative statement in your room.
A FORMAL DRESS
I feel this is an item that is useful for anyone, greek or not. I needed a formal dress for my sorority’s formal, but you will also need one for fraternity formals or college-wide dances. My college hosts an annual Black and White Ball, and I had to go out and buy a dress this year. Next year, I will be more prepared. It wouldn’t hurt to bring an old homecoming dress to college, so that way you don’t have to run home and grab it if an occasion arises.
Good luck at college everyone, and keep this in mind when packing. In the comments, feel free to mention the item you thought you needed and didn’t, or an item you didn’t know you needed but now cannot live without!