10 things you won’t need at college

Staying in the dorms, it is easy to overpack and end up with many things you don’t need. Adapting to life in the dorms instead of where you lived back home is a process. In that transition, many students think about things they use relatively often at home and try to translate those operations into dorm life when in reality, your everyday routine changes completely, and with that, the things you use everyday change also. These are 10 things I brought to school my first semester in the dorms and ended up taking back home before Christmas, along with why I did so.

Clothes drying rack

You simply won’t use it. In the dorms, there isn’t enough room to hang clothes to dry, no matter how hard you try to make it work. You are just going to have to suck it up and dry everything as if you knew what to hang dry in the first place.

Baking sheet

Going into school, everyone thinks they will cook more than they are. While shopping for my dorm room, I thought, “Wouldn’t it be so fun if I had a baking sheet so I could buy the frozen cookie dough and make cookies for my dorm hall?” No. It won’t happen. It is a very nice thought, but you aren’t going to go to the grocery store when you live in the dorms. You can take a little walk to McCallie’s or the Farmers Market and get cookies that are already on your meal plan. Why would you go out of your way to buy cookie dough, walk out of your room and possibly up or down stairs to have access to an oven?


You don’t need them. Everything is online unless you are very hard set on using paper for everything. If so, you need a printer for your room. I promise when you are working on something late at night, you will not want to trek across campus to the library to print out your lecture slides. At most, a couple of three-prong folders and a notebook or two will do the job.

Every pair of shoes that you own

You will get to school and form a uniform of your own. You might think that you are used to high school, where you have to get up at 6:30 a.m. to get ready, but now that you can manage your schedule, I bet you are going to sleep in until 10 to 20 minutes before you have to leave for class. Bring two or three pairs of reliable shoes that you know you will wear every single day and one or two pairs for special occasions. No matter what, make sure you have some type of rain boot in the spring because this campus floods.

Nail polish

It’s a nice thought, but you won’t do it. Maybe one bottle and a base/topcoat, but you will not have the time, patience or motivation to paint your nails consistently. Just leave it at home.

5 million mugs

If you are a coffee drinker, you must bring a coffee maker. I suggest the one-cup Keurig. It’s easy, small, and functional, and it fits within the university’s requirements. But you don’t need more than three mugs. Seriously. Chances are, by the end of the year, you will have obtained three more, and you do not have the space for your whole collection.

Glass dishes

You won’t cook that often. Chances are that one pack of paper plates or bowls will get you through an entire semester, if not the whole year. Glass dishes are sustainable, but they break easily, they are heavy on moving day, they take up space, and you won’t utilize them all that often.


If you like puzzles, good for you. That is a wonderful, stress-free activity. You don’t have space. Believe me, I tried. I thought, “Hmm, college is stressful. Classes have a much larger workload, which was a big adjustment for me. Maybe a puzzle will relieve some of the added stress I’m experiencing.” Instead, the puzzle I was doing was causing me more stress because it made the already small space I had to myself feel even smaller and more cluttered. It added to the panic I constantly felt. As a substitute, I started doing crosswords and sudoku on my computer. The function is the same: taking the focus off schoolwork and other stressors and putting it all in the puzzle for the time being.


Whatever laptop/tablet/phone you have works just as well and takes up significantly less space. You can put it away when you are done, sit wherever you want in your room and stream all the same things you can on a TV. If you are really into gaming or your major has to do with design or computers, and you need a monitor, that is an entirely different situation, and obviously, you need to bring that, but under no circumstances do you need an actual TV screen.

Ethernet cable

Everyone tells you to bring one of these. There is an ethernet port in all the dorm rooms, but who in the world really knows how that works? Especially in our generation. The Wi-Fi can be finicky, but it does just fine. You won’t take the time each day to connect your laptop to the ethernet cable and detach it when you need to go to class. I took an ethernet cable my first semester, and it is still in its packaging.

Author Kailee Shores is a sophomore in the School of Journalism and Strategic Media in the College of Media and Entertainment.