Monday, August 14, 2017

What Not To Bring To College: 25 pair of jeans and the Dreaded Futon

Have you seen all the merchandise in stores for 'back to college' or  to 'outfit your dorm'?
I have a secret to tell you: You need approximately none of those things to start your year. New freshmen and their parents tend to be persuaded they'll use all sorts of things, but they won't. Here's a reality check:
The overriding idea is this: Think of a dorm as a home for tiny little miniature gnomes where everything is 1/4 scale. The keyword is 'Tiny.' A typical dorm has just enough room for the twin size extra long 'beds' it has, the tiny desks and perhaps a tiny bookshelf for each person, and there will be a tiny closet. Space for anything you bring in is really limited.

-Doing laundry during college is not going to be a priority. That doesn't mean bring more clothes. Trust me.
-You'd be surprised how little you actually need in terms of clothing:
  • 4 pairs of pants or jeans
  • 4 shirts
  • 2 hooded sweatshirts
  • 2 or 3 pair of shoes (yes, that seems minimalistic to some)
  • 7 pair socks, 7 underwear
  • 2 pair pajamas or what passes for pajamas
  • jackets, one that's really warm for winter
  • winter scarf or hat, mittens or gloves

So much for clothing.

Here are items actually found in a dorm checklist from a well known store. Revised title:
Completely Pointless Items Nobody Ever Uses in College:
  • Iron and ironing board (you will use these never....and this carries on into adult life)
  • Vacuum (you must be kidding)
  • Your own shower curtain (the great majority of dorm showers are multi-stall and not private)
  • Set of dishes ...skip these, or buy four plates and four bowls from Goodwill or a garage sale. All you really need. Ditto silverware.
  • Sewing kit: Would you actually use it? I thought not.
  • A lap desk?? Really?
  • A jewelry organizer... for what?
  • Bed skirt  (that's actually pretty funny)
                                                              Whatever it is, where would you put it?
  • Several sets of sheets .... Nope, you need one set, maybe two. See laundry habits above.
  • Storage trunk. And this would go where?
  • Shoe storage racks. Everyone knows that shoes are thrown on the floor of the closet.
  • Scale.Seriously?
  • Lounge seating. Where is this lounge exactly??
  • Clothing steamer
  • Coffee maker
  • Dining table (they actually suggested that)
  • Garment Bags

  • Skirt hangers (unless you wear skirts all the time, I suppose)
  • Closet organizer (ha!)
  • Gym bag
  • Socks to wear with rain boots
  • An upgraded shower head, if your school allows it
  • Self Tanning lotion, as well as eye cream, foundation, and concealer
  • Formal clutch (that's a purse you use with a formal dress)
  • Formal dress
  • Little black dress
  • Going out purse (??)
  • Sleep mask
  • Tool kit

Remember, you're sharing the tiny dorm with someone else. Be considerate of your roommate, too.
And the most egregious idea ever invented and foisted upon college freshmen and their parents:
(drum roll)                                    ****A futon****

Do not, let me repeat, do not purchase a futon for a dorm room
  • There's not enough room in the dorm
  • They're not fun to carry and wrangle and maneuver into a dorm room
  • They're always bigger than you think they are
  • They're awful to sleep on even if you could get it into the room
  • There's already two or more 'beds' in the room, there is no room for a futon
  • Did I mention there's no room?
  •  Your parent(s) will try valiantly to deliver said futon, and when they've gotten up all 12 floors and realize it won't work, they'll have to bring it back down again. This will not make them happy.
  • On a hot August or early September day, the last thing you want to deal with is moving a futon. Trust me.
  • Yes, you're probably 'lofting' the beds in your dorm. No, that doesn't mean there's room for a futon underneath. A couple of lawn chairs and a cardboard box for a table, yes.

If you want more great examples of what not to bring, simply visit a college campus in the dorm area either at the end of spring or the beginning of fall semester and take a look at the sidewalks and dumpsters: You'll see an abundance of furniture left behind, some of it perfectly good. Those are all things people didn't want or wouldn't fit anywhere, but they didn't care to take back home. You may be able to furnish your first apartment this way....but not a dorm.

Here are some things that actually are helpful:

A Fan.  The great majority of dorms are not air conditioned, and the end of August/beginning of September is hot.

 That's all I can think of. Bring a fan.


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