If you're anything like me I'm sure you've read 100s of articles telling you what to bring to college…and by now you've probably figured out they all have the same things on them. In order to fix this, I've compiled a list of 19 things which are helpful at school, but no one tells you about.
1. Tupperware and Snack Containers
Don't want food to go stale? Have leftovers or food stolen from the dining hall? I didn't bring these things right away but once I got them it made dorm eating much more enjoyable. My personal favorites are the ones with locks and airtight seals.
2. Folding Drying Rack
There's nowhere to store a standing one, and the lack of room for hangers isn't going to work when you need to air dry a bunch of things. Getting a folding or collapsible one will fix all your laundry problems and can easily be stored in the back of a closet or slid in between a desk and a bed.
3. An Extra Laundry Basket
Sometimes the hamper overflows or you need somewhere to sort your laundry that's out of the way. This also makes it possible for you to leave your hamper down in the laundry room rather than bringing it back and forth without leaving a bunch of your clothes there as well.
Not to mention when you aren't using it, you can store other things inside of it rather than wasting space.
Very easy to forget if it's not raining when you're packing (hence why you'll see a lot of umbrellas bought at the bookstore).
5. Shoe Mat/Tray
If you go to school somewhere with all four seasons this is a must in the wintertime or the rainy season. I didn't end up buying mine until the first day of the spring semester but it saved our dorm room floor. We kept it in the front of the room and just threw our shoes and/or boots on it as soon as we got back.
This is nice too if you don't want (or your dorm doesn't allow you) to store your boots in the hallway. Also worked when I wanted my umbrella to dry off too!
6. Garbage Bags (or just some plastic bags)
It can be easier to have a plastic bag in the garbage can when making runs down the hall to the trash room. You could buy bags made specifically for this or pack a couple of things in some plastic bags and wait for more to accumulate because trust me they will.
7. Paper Towels
This is so simple it's easily forgotten until you're already there.
You won't believe how easy it is to forget a lightbulb for your new desk lamp. Some people don't even think of it until they try and turn it on for the first time.
If you think your going to go out during the year chances are you'll wind up at some sort of themed party. In that case, it might be nice to have something at the ready.
10. Blue Tape
This is a lifesaver when hanging dorm decorations. For years I've trusted blue tape to hang pretty much everything in my room, and it worked just as well in my dorm. Also, since it peels off there's no risk of peeling the paint off and getting fined which can (and does) happen with regular tape.
It works great for posters and pictures, but command stips are still the better choice for heavier things (ex. a canvas or frame).
11. Ice Cube Tray
I've never heard of a dorm with an ice machine (unless it's inside a hotel) so if you want cold drinks this is a must…especially during the hot months. Keep in mind you're in a room without air conditioning.
12. Some Decorations
Whether birthday, holiday, or just a nice background for pictures a few simple things can really make your dorm room feel more like home. My personal favorite is the window gel clings, they make every room a little more colorful.
13. Air Freshener
Everything you and your roommate own is going to be packed into this tiny dorm, including your wet towel, dirty clothes, gym clothes, stinky shoes and whatever else you might have. In the warmer month when it's still hot out the heat won't do anything to help the smell.
Since you're bound to invite your friends over (because where else are you guys gonna go) you want it to smell as pleasant as it can.
14. A Fan
I felt like a lot of college packing list left this off, when really it was one of the most used things in my room. If your someone who needs to have a blanket on to fall asleep pointing a fan at yourself is one way to be able to do this while it's still warm out. Not to mention, it's also useful in the winter.
The heating is working hard in the winter which can actually make the room extremely warm. I go to school in Syracuse, New York and we still kept the window cracked in the cold months. However, if it was snowing too hard or just too cold (especially since the window opened right where my head was when I slept) the fan was the perfect thing to make the room cooler.
Also helpful when you have a packed room no matter the season.
15. Fewer Clothes
Be realistic with what you're going to wear and how often you can (and will) do laundry. For instance, you can never have too much underwear, but you don't need 10 sweatshirts (also you're probably going to end up with at least one from your school).
This might sound odd but the one clothes item I know I overpacked was pajamas. I brought a bunch of pairs, some I only wore once and then got stuck in a routine of wearing my two favorite pairs of pajama pants. Also limit the number of t-shirts you bring, because you are going to end up with a ton of free ones (especially earlier in the year…or if you join a sorority).
If you burn and have any interest in sitting out on the quad, it will be really useful to have a bottle.
17. A Stapler
It's definitely possible to find one on campus or borrow your friend's. However, I know I had to go out of my way a couple of times to staple things, so it's more convenient to have your own, but up to you.
18. Reusable Water Bottle
You're going to be walking around campus a lot. It might be nice to have a drink with you, especially in some of the warmer months.
19. An Extra Phone Charger
First it's always nice to be able to have a spare one in your bag, but second, the ones sold on campus are really expensive. If yours breaks ordering online won't be an option…unless you can keep your phone charged for 2 days.