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5 Things I Overpacked for College (and 1 Thing I’m Happy I Did)

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at GWU chapter.

Parents weekend just passed, and with it, my opportunity to load up my parent’s car with everything that’s been gathering dust in my dorm room. As a freshman, I had no idea what to pack or just how little space there was in a dorm room, so I packed everything I thought I might need. By the end of the first week, I started a pile of what needed to be sent home with my parents during their first visit. Now that they’ve come and taken those items away, I want to share so no one else has to precariously balance one more throw pillow on a pile as tall as them before everything topples right as you’re leaving for class (not from experience or anything). 

5 Things I Overpacked

  1. High School T-Shirts

Over the past six years at my high school, I’ve accumulated a lot of t-shirts. While packing for college, I shoved several of these t-shirts into my suitcase for “memories” or “sleep shirts.” Instead, they stayed at the bottom of my drawer and took away space from my newly acquired college t-shirts. Save your space and leave the high school t-shirts behind in favor of the many you’ll receive during orientation week. 

  1. Bedside Caddy

I thought this was the smartest thing when I bought it. I imagined my phone perfectly fitting in the pocket, and my water bottle a quick reach away. Instead, it became a gathering place for anything I didn’t want to get out of bed to put away (aka trash). Things that would ultimately spill all over the ground the minute I shifted my mattress and the caddy fell to the floor; things I’d end up shoving back in the caddy before it falling again the next morning. Instead, I love using the top level of my rolling cart as a mini nightstand.

  1. Hanger Extenders

I should have listened to TikTok. I initially saw these in a TikTok, ironically saying to not buy them, but I didn’t understand it: they seemed space-saving in a shoebox-sized closet, so why not get them? I soon found out. 1) They don’t save that much space. They may save space on the bar in my closet, but it’s still the same shirt that needs to hang in the same amount of space. 2) They actually cost me space. The setup that I have in my closet is my shoe rack underneath my hanging clothes. With the extenders, some of my clothes hung so low that I couldn’t see all my shoes, or I’d get footprints on the bottom of my favorite dresses. However, a disclaimer that my roommate has these and uses them for all of her clothes, so evaluate the space in your closet and hanging needs before deciding for or against them. 

  1. Throw Pillows

In my bedroom at home, I have a queen-sized bed. It’s covered in 10+ pillows, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. In my dorm room, however, I have an XL twin-size bed. In other words, much smaller than my bed at home. While I knew this, I thought bringing three or four throw pillows wouldn’t hurt and make it feel more comfortable. Instead, they’re constantly pushed off the bed when I sleep and make my bed look crowded and uninviting. I should have stuck with my regular pillows and back pillow, which I use while studying in bed and as a headboard at night. 

  1. Storage Containers

I know this sounds sacrilegious for a college freshman to say but bring less storage. I heard how much storage I would need in such a tiny space and brought over ten big storage bags, of which I only currently use three. The first week, it was helpful to have a cloth storage bag to put the clothes I wanted to keep but couldn’t fit in my dresser. Ultimately, many of the “space saving” storage containers didn’t save any space and I ended up sending another three hard storage bins home that were just waiting to be used. I also sent home Target’s three-drawer plastic storage container because, between my rolling cart and other easily accessible storage options, it was ultimately too big and worth keeping. Essential storage I would recommend, though, is an ottoman for dual storage and seating and a rolling cart. 

1 Thing I’m Happy I Overpacked

  1. Medicine

There might not be any monsters under my bed anymore, but there is a monstrous bag of medicine perched on top of my dresser. I thought I had overpacked with a 2-gallon bag of all medicine known to mankind, but I wish I had brought even more. In a tiny dorm room constantly surrounded by other freshmen, my immune system took a hit the first month. For me, this meant getting strep, COVID-19, and a respiratory infection and thanking my past self for packing so much medicine that I could continue to function. Trust me, if you think you’ve packed enough medicine, throw in another bag of cough drops and some more Nyquil. 

bio coming soon!