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College packing 101



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Families navigate heavy traffic and large crowds throughout IU’s central neighborhood during the official move-in day and Welcome Week events in 2017. Andrew Williams Buy Photos

Whether you’re an incoming freshman or a returning Hoosier, every IU student needs a packing checklist to start their year off right. You can check out the official IU packing list on the IU Residential Programs and Services website for all the essentials, but here's an unofficial guide to the do’s and don’ts of college packing.

Don’t Pack:

Stoves, Toasters, slow cookers and indoor grills: Unfortunately IU students are only permitted to have certain kitchen appliances in their dorm rooms, so keep it limited to refrigerated and microwaveable foods only.

Too many clothes: closet space can be very scarce in apartments or dorm rooms, so try to only pack essential clothing items. Oftentimes students pack their summer and fall clothes for the first semester, take them home over Thanksgiving break, and then bring their winter and spring clothes back with them for second semester.

Candles: As harmless as a candle may seem, open flames are a no-go in dorm rooms. Stick with air freshener instead! 

Bulky luggage: Giant suitcases might seem ideal when packing to go home for long breaks, but they might take up too much space in a small dorm room or apartment. Try using duffel bags or backpacks that can be more easily stored.  

A printer: It may sound useful to have a printer in your room, but it will take up unnecessary space and cost you unnecessary money. Printers are available in every dorm and many buildings across campus.

Do Pack:

IU Gear: stocking up on IU gear should be top priority immediately after accepting admission to IU. Whether you’re at a tailgate, a game, or just feeling the school spirit, IU gear is a must-have. Besides, cream and crimson never go out of style. 

Rain Boots and an Umbrella: It rains at IU — a lot — and walking to class will be extremely unpleasant with water soaked shoes and clothes. Make sure to find a pair of waterproof shoes and an umbrella that can withstand the wind to stay dry during rainy months. 

Winter Gear: For out-of-state students, the brutal winters of Indiana can be shocking. If you have a car on campus, you’ll want to buy a snow scraper. Find a winter coat that can withstand freezing temperatures and it will become your best friend. Also make sure to stock up on hats, gloves, and scarfs — don’t be ashamed to look like Randy from “A Christmas Story."

Small kitchen appliances and snacks: These are great for the times when you don’t want to make the walk over to the nearest food court. Having a microwave and mini fridge will allow you to prepare meals from the comfort of your room. Keeping snacks in your room is great for satisfying your late night cravings, and having a coffee maker in your room can give you a much needed caffeine fix. 

Shower shoes and caddy: DO NOT ever step into a dorm shower barefoot. Sharing a bathroom with an entire floor can be scary, and you can never protect yourself enough from germs. Wearing shower shoes will give you extra protection, and having a caddy will help you take your shower essentials to go and keep them organized.

Extension cords: The amount of outlets in a dorm room can be very limited. Whether it’s used for kitchen appliances, a TV, or phone/laptop chargers, it’s highly likely that you’ll need an extension cord when there aren’t enough outlets to go around. 

Command hooks: Use these for all things decorative! These sticky hooks will allow you to hang posters, picture frames, bulletin boards, whiteboards, calendars or lights on the walls all without damaging the paint underneath.

Laundry detergent pods: For many IU students, going away to college is the first time they’ve ever had to do their own laundry. Detergent pods make it easy. No measuring out liquid laundry detergent — just one pod per load!

Anything that saves space: Above all else, remember that space can be very limited in dorm rooms and apartments, especially when you have to share your space with a roommate. Hanging closet shelves, multi-purpose furniture such as storage cubes or even bringing your own small plastic dressers can all help save space and keep your room looking tidy.

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