Two SPU students hang out in their dorm room

You’re getting ready to move out of your childhood bedroom. As you’re filling up bags and boxes of things to start the next chapter of your life, suddenly everything in your room seems important — something you just can’t do without!

Packing might require rounds of elimination as you realize you have way too many belongings. As a general rule of thumb, you need about one-third of the things you pack — a third of the clothes, a third of the decor, etc. Remember: dorm rooms are small.

Optimize your space and leave these 10 things at home…

1. A TV

Between classes, studying, campus activities and events, and friends living right down the hall, you’ll be surprised by how little time there is to binge that next Netflix show. Even when you opt for a quiet night in or a movie night with friends, more often than not, your laptop will work just fine in a small space like a dorm room. (Or, find the friend that didn’t read this list and brought a TV!) Save valuable real estate in your room and leave the TV at home.

2. Too much clothing

Think smart about what you’re going to wear during the fall and winter quarters. Seattle summers tend to last into September and then temperatures dip. Pack smart by bringing clothing that can make the transition from warm summers and to cool autumns, like neutral colors or items that can layer. If you know you’re headed home for break during the holidays, that’s the perfect time to rotate out wardrobe pieces that you’re tired of and to bring clothes suitable for the cold and damp winter months.

3. Too many t-shirts

Universities are notorious for throwing t-shirts at students, freshman students especially. Your high school volleyball shirt, the shirt you decorated for homecoming sophomore year, the shirt from summer camp — unless that shirt is your all-time favorite and you cannot live without it — leave it home! Bring just a handful of your favorite and most comfortable t-shirts, because by the end of the year you will have a whole new collection to bring home.

4. Too many shoes

Last thing about clothes! There is such a thing as too many shoes when it comes to filling up limited closet space. You probably won’t need every pair of heels if you have, ladies. If you own multiple pairs of hiking boots, or an entire collection of sneakers, pick comfortable, versatile shoes that can go from class to exploring around the city. DO make sure to pack a pair of shoes that are easy to slip on and wear around your dorm.

5. A billion books

If you’re a big reader, it can be hard to leave some of your favorites at home. But between classes, extracurriculars, studying, and spending time with friends, you’ll find there isn’t that much time to curl up with a book. Limit how many books you bring because, in addition to all of your textbooks, they will take up a lot of limited shelf space in your room. Try out an e-reader or using the Kindle app on your phone to really save on space, but if you can’t leave home without a few books, bring just a few favorites and something new that might interest you, just don’t bring your whole library — you’ll have one campus!

6. An iron or ironing board – try a handheld steamer instead

You’re entering college and you don’t want to show up to class looking like you slept in your clothes, but an iron and an ironing board take up a lot of space and require some time. Prioritize bringing clothes that are wrinkle free, but if you do have a few pieces that need a little extra care there are a couple of solutions. An easy fix is to take the clothing item on a hanger and hang it in or near a hot shower and let the steam from the shower release some of the major wrinkles. For something a little more targeted, a handheld steamer is quick and easy to use and takes up very little storage space.

7. Coffeemaker

Unless you’ve had your personal coffee routine down for years and it requires special ingredients that you can’t find in any coffee shop, you probably don’t need to bring a whole Keurig set-up for your room. You’re in Seattle, the coffee capital! The best coffee is just outside your door. Save your k-cups and instead grab a cup on campus or try a local cafe for your next caffeine fix.

8. Tons of miscellaneous school supplies

All of your high school teachers probably told you, “College isn’t going to be like high school!” and in this regard, they’re right! There’s no need to have every ruler, binder, and highlighter under the sun. Make sure to check out the syllabi provided by your professors to see what they suggest and what their policies are. Some professors might ask you to take notes by hand, others encourage laptops or tablets. Make sure you have something to write with and anything you know you need to keep you organized, and then, once you’ve gotten through your class, take stock and get what you’ll need to succeed instead of having extraneous school supplies cluttering your desk.

9. Bulky luggage

As you’re packing up your belongings, pack smart! If you already have bought bins or other organizing tools for your new room, try to pack your items into the pieces you’re bringing with you — it’ll speed up the unpacking process and save you space. A set of bins, small drawers, a shower caddy, and a clothes hamper are items that you’ll need in your room that can carry some of the things you’re bringing from home. But there will still be things that won’t fit in the items you’re going to use to organize your room, so think carefully about what else you’re using to bring your belongings to your new space. If you use boxes that won’t collapse or suitcases, you’ll have to send them back home, throw them out, or find somewhere to store them in your room. Boxes that you can break down and put back together later are easy to tuck behind a dresser or desk until you’re ready to move out of your room. Another good idea is to bring your belongings in a duffel bag or two. Duffel bags are easier to fold down and store than a suitcase while still providing you a bag to travel with for spring break or take a trip home to see family.

10. Tons of decorations from home

It can be so exciting to decorate your dorm room and have a home away from home, but don’t go overboard! Pick some key pieces to make the place feel personal: a decorative, but comfortable pillow, some wall decor, a couple of pictures, or a lamp to avoid the harsh fluorescent lights. However, it’s important to keep in mind that over the course of living in your dorm you will accumulate lots of memories and paraphernalia to cover your walls and take up space on your shelves! As you plan to decorate, keep in mind that you’ll want to save space for all the adventures and memories to come.

You know best what is going to make you feel at home, just be sure to prioritize filling your space with what you’ll really need. Just remember, your time at college is about learning and having new experiences, and not about all the things you brought with you.

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