What Not to Bring to College
Wondering what NOT to bring to college freshman year?
This post is all about the things that you should definitely leave behind when moving into your college dorm. Some of these are things I regret bringing to college myself, so you can learn from my mistakes.
For a list of everything you actually SHOULD bring to college, be sure to check out the The Ultimate College Packing List.
You can also sign up below to get the printable PDF version of the college packing list sent straight to your email inbox:
9 Things NOT to Pack for College
Some of these items are on lots of college packing lists, yet are actually totally useless. Some of these are things I personally brought to college and regretted.
Here’s everything NOT to bring to your college dorm:
1. Iron and Ironing Board
So, funny story. My high school had a “Senior Night” with prizes for seniors including things like iPads and gift cards. What did I win? An iron and mini ironing board to bring with me to college.
While this wasn’t the most exciting gift to win, I still figured it would be useful to have in college. However, I quickly realized I was wrong. It was such a pain to set up the ironing board and iron each time I needed to iron something. Not to mention, they took up a lot of space in my tiny dorm room.
What to bring instead: A mini clothes steamer
These are super compact and a lot less hassle than an ironing board and iron. You can steam your clothes and get the wrinkles out in just a few minutes.
I don’t know why this is on so many dorm packing lists, because I’ve never seen a college dorm that doesn’t come with at least one trashcan in every dorm room.
My room came with two small trashcans so my roommate and I each had one. If you really want an extra or want to have one that looks cute and matches your room, then go for it, but ultimately this is something you probably don’t need.
What to bring instead: Plenty of trash bags
While you don’t need to bring a trashcan, you WILL most likely be responsible for having your own trash bags. Grab one or two boxes of trash bags before you move into college and you should be set for the whole year.
Tip: Get the scented trash bags to keep your room smelling fresh!
3. Tons of Appliances
It’s amazing how many dorm room appliances are available. Microwaves, mini fridges, coffee makers, electric kettles, toaster ovens, panini presses, noodle cookers, blenders, electric griddles… the list goes on.
While you might want to bring a few of these, you definitely don’t need them all! My roommate and I personally didn’t have any appliances in our dorm room and we were just fine. I occasionally used the microwave in the hall kitchen to make popcorn or heat up pizza, but that was about it.
What to bring instead: Only what you think you’ll actually use!
4. Too Many Throw Pillows
I get that you probably want your dorm room to look cute, but beware of getting too many throw pillows for your bed and/or futon!
In such a small space, they can quickly overwhelm your decor and there’s no good place to put them. Half the time, all the extra throw pillows just end up on the floor or in a random corner.
What to bring instead: No more than two throw pillows and a bedrest pillow
One or two throw pillows on your bed is enough, and a bedrest pillow is something super functional that you will actually use all the time.
It’s so much more comfortable to lean on one of these when you’re sitting in bed rather than leaning against the hard wall.
If you think you’re going to use your communal dorm kitchen to cook all the time… trust me, you won’t actually end up doing that! Especially as a freshman and if you’re on a meal plan… why would you even want to?
The exception to this is if you’re living in an apartment-style dorm with your own kitchen and you aren’t on a meal plan. Then cookware like pots, pans, dishes, etc. makes more sense to bring.
Otherwise, skip it! Trust me, this will just take up space gathering dust all year.
While there’s no need to bring any actual cookware or dishes, having a pack of paper plates and disposable dishes on hand is always a good idea.
6. Too many clothes and shoes
One thing that might be a shock when you move into your college dorm is how tiny your room is and how little storage space you have. The wardrobe in your dorm room is most likely a LOT smaller than your closet at home, and you’ll probably only have room for one dresser.
This is why it’s important not to overpack when it comes to clothes and shoes. You don’t need to bring your entire high school wardrobe to college. You can also swap out clothes seasonally when you go home for breaks.
What to bring instead: Half of what you THINK you should bring
7. Full Size Vacuum
This is another thing that most dorm buildings will have on hand for residents. Typically, there’s a full size vacuum shared with the hall that you can borrow. However, you may want to check with your specific dorm to confirm this.
Having your own full size vacuum is not necessary and it will just take up space.
What to bring instead: Handheld vacuum
A small handheld vacuum is super helpful to have in your dorm room. They don’t take up much space and they’re good for cleaning a small surface area (perfect if you have a shoebox-sized dorm room like I did!)
8. Bulky Luggage
You might bring suitcases filled with stuff to unpack on move-in day, but make sure to send those home with your parents.
Bulky luggage like a big suitcase takes up way too much space in your dorm room and it’s something you’ll barely use.
What to bring instead: A lightweight weekender bag
This is perfect to have when you’re going on weekend trips home or to visit friends at another university. You can also pack it for spring break or other trips. Best of all, it doesn’t take up much space.
9. Anything from High School
It’s so not cool to stroll around campus wearing a sweatshirt or tee shirt from your high school days. You might get some weird looks and everyone will definitely assume you’re a clueless freshman.
Leave the old high school gear behind when heading off to college.
What to bring instead: Comfy campus apparel that shows your college spirit
More College Packing Tips
This post showed you what NOT to bring to college.
If you’re looking for what you should actually pack for your college dorm, check out the following posts for some great ideas:
- 7 Things I Wish I Brought to College Freshman Year
- 23 Dorm Room Essentials That Will Save Your Life
- The Ultimate College Packing List