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What to bring (and not to bring) to college

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What to bring (and not to bring) to college

Student dorm room in Pennsylvania Avenue Residence Hall.

Student dorm room in Pennsylvania Avenue Residence Hall.

The Daily Illini File Photo

Student dorm room in Pennsylvania Avenue Residence Hall.

The Daily Illini File Photo

The Daily Illini File Photo

Student dorm room in Pennsylvania Avenue Residence Hall.

By Toni Pantone, Assistant Design Editor

Starting college is an extremely big change in life. You have to choose the right classes, move into your dorm, get settled, make friends and maintain good grades. You also have to buy a lot of stuff and bring them to college with you, mostly for your dorm. This is a pretty big task, and the list of items to bring is even bigger. It’s important to know most students tend to pack too much. I know I did, and you probably will too. Below are a few tips to help you with what to bring to college and what to leave at home.  

Do:

Make your bed as comfortable as possible. The stereotype about dorm beds being extremely uncomfortable is true, so you should try to make it as cozy and sleep-inducing as you can. I recommend investing in a decently thick foam mattress topper and a good mattress pad. Though you may not be using your bed 24/7, it’s important you get a good night’s sleep in college, and a nice, soft bed will definitely help you with that.  

Don’t:

Overdo the decor. The dorms are a very small space, and while it’s understandable you want to make your room feel like home, too many knickknacks on your desk and too many posters on the walls will take up a lot of space and make your living area look and feel too crowded. I recommend just bringing some pictures of your friends or family, maybe some fairy lights—you can always buy more decor later on.

Do:

Bring Command Strips. University Housing has a strict policy on not ruining the walls by marking them or putting holes in them. If you plan on bringing things like lights, pictures and tapestries to put on the wall, I highly recommend getting some Command Strips. They’re versatile; some have sticky velcro to use for things like posters, and others also have hooks to hold up things like accessories. Though they’re kind of pricey, they are definitely worth it since it’ll help everything stay on the wall all year long.

Don’t:

Bring your whole wardrobe. I had a huge issue with this my freshman year, and I constantly had to put multiple shirts on one hanger because there was just so much unnecessary clothing in my closet I never wore. If you wore something in the last six months, then bring it to school with you; if you didn’t wear it, leave it at home. This tip will save you a lot of closet space for stuff you’ll actually wear!  

Do:

Bring funky clothing pieces. If you plan on going out in college, chances are you’ll be attending some themed parties. Common party themes include Hawaiian, black light, decades, jungle, holiday and America. If you have a Hawaiian shirt and lei, cheetah print skirt or an ugly Christmas sweater, I recommend bringing them. Going to Ragstock on Green Street and buying a whole costume a few hours before the party starts will be the last thing you want to do, trust me.

Don’t:

Bring duplicates. You should contact your roommate before school starts and coordinate who’s bringing a microwave, mini fridge, maybe a television, etc. It’s really important to do this so you can plan who’s bringing what—you and your roommate don’t want to accidentally bring two over-the-door mirrors. If you are interested in coordinating color schemes with your roommate, this would be a good time to bring that up as well.

Do:

Bring a storage ottoman. Chances are your bed will be at a mid-loft, meaning you’ll probably need something to step on in order to get onto your bed. These are great because you can lift the top off and store stuff in them. If your bed isn’t lofted, you can still use one as storage for miscellaneous items and as seating for when friends come over.

Don’t:

Bring a printer. Not only do printers take up a good amount of space in your tiny dorm room, they are also expensive to buy and maintain, since ink and toner cost so much. I also don’t recommend getting a printer because there are multiple printers around campus already and all of the dorms have computer labs equipped with printers, too.  

Toni is a sophomore in Media.

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