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What You Don't Need to Bring to College

8 Items to Leave at Home

Heading off to college is an exciting time in a young adults life. But it can also be hard to know what you will need to bring with you. Dorm rooms are already small, but now split that amount of space in half, or even thirds. Unless your one of the few lucky college students that gets a room to themselves, you will have to share that little space with one, sometimes even two or three other people. That's why knowing what is necessary and what can be left at home is vital. 

Growing up we are constantly reminded of all the big and important things we will have to do for ourselves, but we rarely pay much attention to little things we use throughout the day that make our lives just a little bit easier. That is, until we start packing for college. At that moment our minds think of a thousand different things that we barely ever use, but for some reason think we will suddenly need to survive in college. But the truth is, a lot of the items people tell you to bring really aren't necessary. 

The summer before my freshman year of college I was stressing about all the things I needed to remember to bring with me. My school was kind enough to provide freshmen with a list of items we should bring with us, as well as a list of things that were banned from the dorms. I went through the list multiple times, checking off what I already had, what I bought, what I needed to buy, etc. Having never experienced college life before, I strongly believed I had to have every recommended item on that list. I thought that in order to survive on my own I needed every light bulb, flashlight, and battery the school said to bring. I also thought I needed to bring things to keep me occupied in my free time—yes—I was naive and hopeful enough that I would have free time each day to take part in my favorite leisure activities—I was wrong. 

Now, after having completed almost two years of college, I can say I didn't use half of the items that were on that list, nor did I ever really touch the additional items I thought I would need to avoid boredom. That is why I created this list of ten things you really don't need to bring to college. 

1. Desk Accessories

While it makes you feel organized and is aesthetically pleasing to have a perfectly coordinated set of desk accessories and organizers, the majority of it will just get in the way. You want your desk to be organized, but buying an entire set of matching trays, baskets, staplers, tape dispensers, etc. is not necessary. Honestly, you won't even use half of it. So much of school work now, even for residential classes, is online that you're better off just saving the money. Take a few small thing to decorate with, but leave the paper trays and desk organizers at home. 

2. The Clothes in Your Closet That You Never Wear

As a fashion design major (and just a lover of fashion in general), it was hard for me to decide what out of my closet to bring and what could stay at home. It's fun to think that you will re-invent yourself while you're in college and suddenly start wearing all the super stylish clothes in the back of your closet with the price tags still attached. The truth is—college doesn't change your clothing choices. If anything, you'll tend to wear lazy, more comfortable clothing and less stylish items. So don't pack up your entire wardrobe. Go through your closet and select the items that you wear most often because if you haven't worn it yet, you probably aren't going to wear it in college. 

3. Large Packs of Batteries

You may think that batteries are a necessity that most people forget about when packing for college. However, stop and think about the items that you are taking that use batteries. Not many items you bring will require batteries to operate. Most things either plug in or are rechargeable. Don't worry about buying batteries in bulk. A small pack of AA batteries should be more than enough for the school year. 

4. A Flashlight

Many people think that a flashlight is important to have in case the power goes out. I thought the same thing at first, but halfway through my first semester, I realized that I never touched my flashlight even when I needed one. It's a lot easier to use the flashlight on your phone, and most o the time, your phone is more accessible than your flashlight. 

5. Light bulbs

Similarly to the batteries, you don't need to stock up on light bulbs because not that many items will require them. It is more common now to find desk lamps that use LED lights and light boards rather than the traditional light bulb. If you have a lamp that requires a regular light bulb, one or two spares will do. You don't need to buy a whole pack. Light bulbs don't burn out that often. 

6. Hobby Items

For some crazy reason, I was convinced that I would have enough free time every day to do random hobbies, or even start a new hobby. I quickly realized once I started classes that all the things I brought with me to fill up my "free time" were really just taking up space and getting in the way. So don't worry about not having enough to do or stress about packing a bunch of leisure activities. If you like reading, bring a book or two. Drawing-- bring a sketchbook and some colored pencils. Journaling/Writing—bring a journal and some fun colored pens. But don't bring loads of hobby supplies because chances are, you're not going to touch half of it. 

7. Over-The-Top First Aid Kits

First aid kits may seem like an important thing to bring with you to college, and they are, but you don't a ton of first aid supplies. A pack of band-aids and some antiseptic cream should be more than enough. Over-the-counter cold/flu/headache medicine and allergy medicine (if needed) are also some good things to pack. Anything more than that will most likely provided by your school's student health office or doctor. 

8. Traditional School Supplies

Now I know what you're thinking and I'm not saying to not bring any school supplies. You will need to bring a few pens, pencils, highlighters, and a notebook or two (I suggest 3-5 subject notebooks) but that's about it. Technology is such a huge part of life today that no one really takes handwritten notes anymore. Most students just carry around their laptops and type their notes. Some professors may even put notes online for you to fill-in during the lecture. Traditional school supplies like binders, notebooks, and folders for every class are useful and help with organization, but they are no longer necessary. In the end, having a separate notebook or folder for every class will get frustrating and take up too much of your already small and limited storage space.

I hope this list helps you narrow down your list of things to bring to college and gives you a better idea of what you'll actually use. If you know you'll need something this list tells you not to bring or you just feel more comfortable having extra items just-in-case, bring them. Just remember, space (and free time) is limited. 

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