Dorm Life Hack: Simplify!

What’s the one thing every student brings to college? Big dreams. Giant, pie-in-sky, practically impossible dreams. In college, dreams are your North Star, leading you forward, challenging you to be your best, opening up new worlds…

Luckily, dreams don’t take up a lot of space in the tiny room that will be your home once you get to (or get back to) college.

As far as everything else you are thinking about bringing? Think twice.

If part of what you’re looking forward to in college is the freedom it offers, think about “going Thoreau.” As every good English major knows, he famously said, “Simplify, simplify.” He might have been on to something.

Simplify, simplify!

I know it can be tempting to cover your bases and bring just about everything. I did that. And I lugged around a lot of stuff before I decided to streamline.

In the process of simplifying, I realized that there are some things worth carrying across the country, or around the world, to keep them close. Your teddy bear fits into that category (I won’t tell). Your favorite baseball glove, hockey stick or skates; the thing your best friend gave you (assuming it’s not giant); your little sister’s framed photograph—yes, yes, yes.

And that’s about it.


Oh sure, you’ll need some clothes and shoes and a backpack. Your guitar, violin or other carry-on-sized instrument. Linens. A few power strips for your laptop, iPhone charger, and the printer that you and your dorm-mates will chip in and buy.

Other than that… simplify, simplify.

Here is a list of five things you don’t need to bring:

  1. An iron: You’re in college! Who irons? Besides, offers up 10 ways to remove wrinkles without an iron.
  2. A toaster: Most dorms have rules against toasters. Haven’t you been thinking about going gluten-free, anyway?
  3. More than one pillow: You will—yes, even in the Ivy League—most likely be sleeping in a twin bed. Save the space and leave the second pillow at home.
  4. Your juicer: Your meal plan includes juice. Seriously. Gotta have your early morning juice? Dorm walls have the same sound-deadening impact as tissue paper and you will make no friends blending anything at 5 am. Go to Walmart like everyone else.
  5. Your book collection: You’ll probably want to bring books but, honestly… haven’t most college freshmen read basically the same canon? Save your precious shelf space and go to the library.

Be intriguing

When you show up to your dorm as a minimalist, you will spark intrigue. People will talk. They’ll say, That person travels light… there must be something to that.

Of course, the most important part of dorm life is getting out of your dorm room, at least every once in a while. When you look back on your college years, it will be the friendships that you remember, not your stuff.

Simplify, simplify.

Conna Shannon

Conna Shannon

Conna is a writer, editor and aspiring filmmaker. She's into DIY, upcylcing and macrobiotic cooking. She lives in Monterey, California, with a yellow lab named Daisy.
Conna Shannon

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