Packing up that pile o’ junk

1 Aug

Okay, you’re going to be loading up your cars, vans, and SUVs soon… before you splurge for the U-haul, read my “what to pack list!!”

Trust me, you do not have to bring ALL of the dorm stuff you bought.


First, I wish someone told me that I didn’t need to buy all those extra dorm whatnots.  Almost everything you need for dorm living is already in your room/house!

The downfall of buying tons of those under-the-bed storage bags, shoe holders, towel hangers, power strips, new sheets and comforters, pillows pillows and more pillows… is that when you move out, you’re left with one big PILE O’ JUNK laying unused in some poor room in your house.

Dorm stuff is for dorms… it isn’t always usable when you come home.


To prevent you from accruing too much stuff here is my ”what to pack” tip list:

1) PACK THE FAN LAST! When loading up your vehile with stuff, make sure you can UNPACK THE DORM FAN FIRST.  You will thank me later when you’re moving-in and it’s 92 degrees with humidity. FANS ARE PRECIOUS. BUY ONE!

What fan do you want to buy?  It’s smart to talk to your roommate about this.  One square “in the window” fan will suffice, two might be better.  “In the window” fans save space, while those tall oscillating fans take up space.  I was able to squeeze my roommate’s window fan and my large standing oscillating fan in our room last year, but I don’t recommend it.  Those clip-on fans for your bed are nice too.

2) Sleeping and bathing stuff— girls, robes or those velcro coverups are handy.  You’ll also find a huge array of shower caddies out there.  Go for one you KNOW you will use.  Don’t be tempted by the MASSIVE shower caddy that can hold up-to 20 pounds, when you know all you need to put in there is shower stuff.  Remember, you’ll have to put that thing somewhere in your room.  I got away with a showerbag I found in my house that I could hang on a hook or the side of my bed to dry.  Also, when it comes to bedding, you may not even need a comforter.  Dorms (except upperclassmen dorms) are not air conditioned, so sheets and a light blanket might be your best bet! (I took my new JCPenneys comforter home and haven’t used it since.)


3) Storage stuff—- you may want to take a trip to the Super Walmart in Aurora AFTER/UPON move-in.  It’s hard to determine where and how you will store you shoes, cleaning supplies, books, games, whatever before you and you’re roommate arrange your room.  You may end up lofting, bunking, or putting your beds on the floor with bed risers.  Your storage spaces will depend on where you can store the stuff— For example, my bed was lofted last year with our futon under it.  I had no under-the-bed storage space, so why would I buy bags/bins for under the bed? I needed shoe hangers and bins that would fit in my closet!

I also highly recommend buying something to put on your desk, such as a bookcase for storing food, books or whatever.  I also bought a cheap wooden piece that is meant for shoes, but I used it as a faux-hutch for my desk.  I was nice to put a printer or my hamster cage on, and I still had enough laptop space on my desk.


4) RUGS! Buy a rug that is NOT white/cream!  If your floor is tile, you’ll be grateful. Buy a vacuum to go with it too—the Swivel Sweeper is da bomb.


5) LAMP! Bring along the lamp you have on your nightstand at home, if you have one!  It makes the room homier.  Those desk lamps are too harsh in my opinion, and you probably won’t use them.  If you THINK it will be handy late at night when you are finishing a paper and your roommate is sleeping… it won’t be handy.  You’ll end up moving to the lounge to type away anyway and that desk lamp will go unused.  Just add it to that PILE O’ JUNK you’ll bring home.


6) Laundry and closet—- I recommend a dirty laundry bag and a clean laundry bin that you can use to carry up your clean laundry from the basement.  DON’T buy those 3-in-1 laundry sheets, with the softener, detergent and dryer sheet in it… it’ll mess up the machines. Hangers–girls, LISTEN UP! If you have a lot of clothes that you can’t bear to part with, then make sure you buy those WONDER HANGERS. They’re a dream for condensing all those hangers so they fit in your side of the closet.

(Remember to only bring SEASONAL clothes too.  Unless you’re an international student or from a land far far away, you can always go home to change out your summer clothes and shoes for fall and winter ones.)


7) MINI FRIDGE! Ask your roommate if he or she is bringing one…there’s no point in having 2 fridges.  Also, make sure you check the Suggested Packing List on the New Student Experience website under Post-Orientation Check List for more details on is already in the dorms for you, and what is not.



1) Pets— Seriously, I don’t recommend bringing any.  Well, maybe you’re a huge animal person or you finally get to have your own pet (fish, rodent, “legal dorm pets” etc.) in college… if you really want to bring a pet, go ahead.  Just remember that hamsters NEVER STOP RUNNING ON THOSE DARN WHEELS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT… you and your roommate will both be unhappy campers.  Fish and any pet requires cleaning, and you will most likely get sick of doing that weekly cleaning.  This is from my own experience–go ahead and find out for yourself, if you wish.


2) Alcohol/drug paraphernalia— even if it’s “for decoration,” maybe a beer bottle from that family trip you took to Germany, don’t bring it.  If you’re under 21, you WILL get fined for having those things in your room by your R.A. (Resident Assistant) or R.D. (Resident Director of the dorm).  I’m saving you money by telling you this.


3) Don’t bring candles… that’ll also cost you some fine fees.


4) Those 3-in-1 laundry sheets I told you about earlier. . . Just making sure you were pay attention!



I hope my little lists help reduce your PILE O’ JUNK at year’s end.

Happy packing!

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