for decorative images

12 Things Not to Pack When Moving Into a Dorm

Jon Fesmire | October 5, 2017 @ 9:00 AM

Welcome incoming freshmen! It’s exciting to live on campus, to immerse yourself in your education, and in a new social life. If you’re moving out of your parents’ house and into a dorm, you’re probably wondering what you need to bring. But have you ever thought about what you don’t need to bring?

When moving into a dorm, leave the following at home:


You may be very attached to your dog, cat, bunny, or iguana, but you can’t bring pets to college dorms. You won’t have room and they won’t be allowed. The exception, in most dorms, is having a small fish bowl. When in doubt, ask, but for the sake of your larger pets, leave them at home with your parents.


You may love your office chair at home, your desk, or your mattress. Leave them at home. Your dorm room will come furnished. Not only that, but the dorm will most likely not allow anything to get swapped out. Use the sturdy chairs, beds, and desks provided. That said, you can decorate. Get a set of sheets and blankets that you like, and bring extra pillows.

Mini-Fridge and Other Appliances

You won’t need most appliances in your dorm room, and others won’t be allowed. Err on the side of not bringing any. Many students do have mini-fridges in their rooms, but you will need to ask the school what is allowed. They may even rent out approved fridges for your use.

Your dorm may even have a kitchen area with a microwave, toaster, and other appliances.


Most dorm halls don’t allow curtains, which is why they come with blinds. If in doubt, ask about this after you have moved in. If curtains are allowed, you can get something locally.


You can neither paint nor put wallpaper up on your dorm walls. Posters, pictures, and the like are all right, but ask before you put these up so that you do so in an approved way. Nailing anything into the wall is probably out.

School Supplies

This probably seems counterintuitive. Throughout high school, you probably bought plenty of school supplies before school started.

Instead of getting all of your school supplies ahead of time, use the first week of classes to figure out how often you’ll take notes. If you can have your laptop or tablet in class, you may not need a lot of paper. Save that money for items that your classes may require.

A Printer

It is nice to be able to print out your papers right at your desk. However, printers are bulky. Find out if your school has a computer lab, or at least a printing lab. You’ll be able to print your documents there, and the cost will be low or covered by your tuition.

An Excess of Clothes

Space is limited in a dorm room. We can’t state that enough. You don’t want piles of clothes everywhere. Besides, you are going to get a ton of t-shirts in college, most of them free.

Living in a dorm is a little like traveling in a foreign country. With a few of each major clothing item, you can create a variety of outfits.

Iron and Ironing Board

Again, this is something you just won’t need. In college, you and your friends will mostly be wearing t-shirts, jeans, sweatshirts, sweats, and tennis shoes.

Get used to the casual student look and be glad you don’t have to iron after you wash. Just fold your clothes nicely to keep out most wrinkles.


You don’t need to bring a set of dishes. Now, one or two microwave-safe plates, a coffee mug, and a simple set of silverware might be a good idea for when you’re studying in your room and want to quickly hit the dorm kitchen to nuke a microwave burrito from your mini-fridge, plus pour yourself a cup of joe. However, you won’t need much.

Sports Gear

If you play sports, you may be attached to your gear. Leave it at home. Sports gear takes up a lot of precious space in your dorm room. It will get on your and your roommate’s nerves after a while. Instead, when you want to play a game of football, baseball, or basketball with friends, borrow what you need from the athletic department.

Duplicate Items

If your roommate is bringing something for the room that you can share, don’t bring it yourself. Obviously, you will both want your own laptops or computers.

Contact your roommate before you move in and start getting to know them. You’ll be living with this person. Together, the two of you can plan on who is going to bring what.

Hopefully, this information will help you in a smooth transition from life with your parents to life in a dorm. You’re in for an exciting time in your life, and now you can step into it with confidence.

Find storage near me

Recommended locations