What to bring—and what not to bring—to college!

August 09, 2017

By Riley Sailor
Admissions Specialist

Hello first time college students! The most exciting day of your academic career is almost herethe day you get to purchase necessities for your residence hall room. For most students, this is the first time you will establish a “home away from home” and you need to make sure you will be comfortable all year long.

I was a first-year freshman not too long ago, so I am going to break down a list of essentials to thrive in your residence hall. Feel free to print this list, hang it on the fridge and mark it up as you do your shopping–I am here to help!

Check with your roommate

Before you get too excited, be sure to ask your roommate what they may already be bringingno need to bring multiples, especially when you are sharing a small space. Talk with each other and come up with a “who will bring what” game plan. Here is a list of some of those items:

  • A broom, mop and/or small vacuum
  • Carpet or area rug
  • Curtains
  • Microwave (800W/ 120V- max)
  • Refrigerator (3.5 cubic feet, 1.5 amps- max)
  • Speakers or DVD player
  • TV (capable of receiving a digital clear QAM signal)

Work hard–sleep even harder

Ah, sleep. I like to tell myself that all students are getting the required eight hours of nightly sleep, but I know that sometimes is not the case (because you all are up so late binge watching Netflix… I mean studying, duh). Therefore, you want to make sure your bed is as comfortable as possible. You will want to purchase:

  • Twin extra-long bedding sheets
  • Twin extra-long comforter set
  • Mattress topper

Check with your housing department since each school usually has different bedding specificationsmost schools (Lees-McRae College included) have twin extra-long beds.

Another important necessity is a mattress topper. Having one will make your bed a lot more comfortable when sleeping (you will thank me for having this item on the list, promise!). It also will protect the mattress below from any spills that could happen, especially if you are a clumsy person like myself. There are many options when choosing a mattress topper. Foam toppers are incredibly popular (kind of like sleeping on a marshmallow) or you could go with a down (synthetic or otherwise) or a pillow topper (kind of like sleeping on a cloud). Think about which one you think would be best for your sleeping needs and I will take a nap! Totally kidding, we have a bit more to cover (no pun intended).

Other essentials you may need for your bed include:

  • Pillows
  • A throw blanket for those cold winter nights (Banner Elk is full of them!)
  • Decorative pillows

Come clean

Let’s be honest, everyone showers. Well, mostly everyone. As a college student, you can easily get busy and lose track of time, but please do not forget to shower daily. Whichever way your habits may swing, you will need to purchase:

  • A set of towels, hand towels and washcloths
  • A shower caddy
  • Shower shoes
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Body wash
  • Face wash
  • Blow dryer and/or other hair-styling tools
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste (My shiny teeth and me! If no one gets this reference, I am officially old.)

Since most bathrooms are communal to your hallway, a shower caddy will make carrying your essentials a lot easier. I added shower shoes to the list as well. No need to splurge on these. Old Navy flip-flops for a few dollars will work great (I love a bargain!), but they are nice to have to keep your feet clean since multiple individuals will be using the same shower facilities.

Of course, when you are keeping up with your hygiene, it is important to remember to pack laundry and cleaning supplies. Having a laundry basket will make hauling your laundry to the laundry room on campus a lot easier. Luckily, every residence hall at Lees-McRae has laundry facilities, so you shouldn’t have to haul it too far.

A clean room is a happy room, so I highly recommend the following to ensure your living space stays happy:

  • A laundry basket
  • Laundry detergent and/or dryer sheets
  • Cleaning spray or disinfecting wipes
  • Dish soap and a few sponges
  • Trash can
  • Trash bags

Jazz your personal space up a little

This is going to be your space! So make it as comfortable and welcoming as you need to. I always felt adding picture frames was a great touch that gives you a little piece of home. Stuffed animals can also have the same effect, so do not be afraid to bring them because more than likely your roommates will have some themselves. I personally could not go anywhere without my stuffed Perry the Platypus because he was just too cute and cuddly! Feel free to add some string lights, posters, canvas prints and chairs if you have room. Be sure to bring some painter's tape, tacks and/or pins if you are planning to hang anything on the walls. You don’t want to end up with a damage fee at the end of the year. 

And everything in between

Everyone has different living needs, so make a list of things you cannot live without and bring them with you (yes mom, I really do need 50 pairs of shoes when going off to college). First-aid kits are great to have around in case you get any bumps or bruises, along with any allergy and pain medicine you may need in case you get sick. Storage crates are also beneficial and can help turn a useless area of the room into a useful one.

Here is a list of popular items that can be incredibly beneficial when setting up your living space:

  • Air fresheners
  • Alarm clock
  • Batteries
  • Can opener
  • Clothes hangers
  • Coffee maker that does not have an exposed heat source (example: Keurig brand or other brand of one-cup makers)
  • Desk lamp
  • Dry erase board or cork board for reminders and notes
  • Ethernet cable
  • Extension cords
  • Flashlight
  • Iron/ironing board
  • Plastic plates/bowls/cups/mugs
  • Power strip with circuit breaker
  • Umbrella (…ella-ella...early 2000s Rihanna, anyone?)

Please, don’t bring these

There are some rules and regulations when it comes to living on campus. Most of the items listed here are to ensure the safety of all students. I can promise you there is a reason behind them being on this list.

  • Air conditioners
  • Animals–excluding fish (10 gallon tank maximum, unless you have been approved for a pet-friendly room)
  • Candles/incense/any other devices that produce flame
  • Coffee makers that have an exposed heating surface
  • Drugs, narcotics or other harmful materials
  • Electric grills or skillets
  • Electric heaters
  • Firearms, ammunition, any weapons, bows, guns, BB guns, paintball guns, airsoft guns, slingshots and launching devices
  • Fireworks, powder or any other explosive or potentially dangerous devices
  • Halogen lamps
  • Homemade lofts
  • Hot plates or any device with an exposed heating surface
  • Kerosene heaters
  • Toaster ovens
  • Waterbeds
I hope this list will help you navigate through those countless “back to school” aisles so you can successfully purchase what you need. Even though college moving day is bittersweet, remember the experience is a chance to make memories. So get to shopping and we will see you soon!

Media Contact:

Nina Mastandrea  |  Content Manager
Tel: 828.898.8729  |  Email: mastandrean@lmc.edu