With the start of the school year just around the corner, many incoming college freshmen may be wondering what exactly they need for their dorm room. There are probably as many lists of what to bring as there are college campuses, and it can get pretty overwhelming to look at. Luckily, we’ve pared it down to the actual essentials for any incoming freshman as well as a list of what to avoid. 

Some things you don’t actually need

First of all, you should coordinate with your roommate, if you have one: You don’t need two microwaves, so make sure only one of you is bringing it (if you even want to bring one). On the subject of doubles, you should also avoid bringing something that your dorm is already providing for you, like a garbage can or desk chair. Your chair might be comfier, but it’s probably not worth the hassle of packing it, getting it up the elevator (or stairs!), and then finding space or storage for the chair that’s already in your room. 

One surprising thing you should try to avoid bringing is large amounts of luggage. That sounds silly since you’ll need it to pack all your things with you, but once you’ve unpacked, you’ll have to find a place to store it. It might be a better idea to bring boxes, or collapsible bags (like those giant IKEA bags that you can fold up so nicely), so you don’t have to spend the next 9 months dancing around your suitcases. 

You also should probably leave behind all your high school t-shirts and other memorabilia. One Boise State University director of housing stated that students often regret bringing those things with them to their college dorm rooms. Firstly, because it’s probably a bit weird to be wandering around your college campus wearing high school gear. And secondly, your dorm closet just isn’t going to be that big so you need to skimp on the clothes where you can. 

Despite all the papers you’ll be writing, you also don’t actually need a printer. It takes up a lot more room than it’s worth, and you’ll be able to use plenty of different printers around your campus anyway. 

You should also make sure you know all the dimensions of your new room. How big is it? What shape is it? How much closet space do you have? These things will help you plan a little better for the size and amount of things that you will be bringing.

So, what do you need?

Start off with the basic essentials: You’ll need a couple of sheets and a duvet cover for the right bed size. Double-check what size bed you have since some dorms have odd sizing and you want to make sure you’re prepared for the right one. Oh, and make sure the duvet cover is easily washable. 

Every college freshman needs shower sandals, and these are often forgotten in the rush of getting everything else. You’ll probably be sharing a shower with the rest of your floor (think up to 100 people, depending on the size of the building) and you’ll want shower shoes for that. Cheap flip-flops or other easily-worn shoes are a good option. 

You should definitely have a basic first-aid kit in your room, too. Band-aids, pain relievers, and other helpful items are never what you want to have to go looking for in a mini-emergency. You can get ones pretty cheaply, and they’ll be super handy throughout the year. 

Bring a power cord. College dorms, especially the older ones, might have minimal outlets, and you don’t want to have to race your roommate for who gets to charge their phone overnight. While you’re at it, you might want to bring a surge protector too, just in case. 

Cleaning wipes are a must. You won’t have room to store a plethora of cleaning supplies, but these are simple, easy, and don’t take up much space. Your dorm will probably offer communal items like brooms to help with the rest of your cleaning tasks, but cleaning wipes are something you definitely need readily available in your room. 

You’ll want to bring storage, too, but you want to make sure it’s easy-to-use. If you have to dig through three layers of boxes and under a couple of shelves to reach something at the back, you probably won’t use it all that often. You want to store things so that you have easy access to them; when you oversleep for your first class, you don’t want to spend ten minutes trying to get your shoes out from under your bed. 

Finally, you should bring comfort items. This might not sound like a dorm-room essential, but it’s one of the most important ones. A lot of dorm rooms will have tile or fake-tile floors, so bring a rug so that you aren’t walking around on a freezing-cold floor during the winter. Bring a few items from home (maybe a photo of your cat, or your favorite reading-blanket) to make your dorm room feel more like your space. You’re going to be there a while: You should make sure you like it there.