Packing with Bwog: The Forgotten and the Unused

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“No, Mom, I do not need a laptop cooling stand.”

Move-in day is nigh, and freshpeople are busy stuffing their lives into bags. If you’re anything like us, you’re spending hours researching and cross-referencing lists of things to take to school. We’ve combed the archives for past generations of Bwoggerly wisdom and compiled a list of the things we forgot when we came to school for the first time, as well as a few things that the more ambitious will take but never need.

Veterans, leave your suggestions in the comments!

The Forgotten:

  • Earplugs & eye shades. You might think you’re a deep sleeper but nothing’s louder than your roommate’s frantic term paper typing at 3 am. Singletons aren’t immune. John Jay walls are thin, and your neighbor may be learning the viola de gamba.
  • Shower slippers & caddy. Your dungeon-like bathroom will be shared by no fewer than four people. You’ll want to let as little as possible touch those grimy tiles. Girlies, it might be worth dusting off those hideous platform flip flops from middle school to minimize water wading. While you’re at it, don’t forget the antibacterial hand soap to wash away all those germs you got taking a shower.
  • Trash can & trash bags. Some rooms come with them, but even if they do, you’re going to have more garbage than you know what to do with. Plastic bags from Westside will also suffice, and the Ecoreps will applaud your sustainable instincts.
  • Disinfectant spray, paper towels, & mini-vac. New York is dusty and men are hairy. You may have checked “neat” on the roommate preference form but remember that the slobs did, too.

  • Galoshes & umbrellas. Manhattan is miserable in the rain. Expect murky puddles that never seem to dry. Your sneakers don’t stand a chance.
  • Ethernet cable, extension cords, & power strips. Seriously, no one thinks to bring an Ethernet cable. Enterprising students have been known to traipse through freshmen dorms selling bookstore cables at a large markup. Bring one 50 feet or greater in length and you’ll be set for four years.
  • Packing tape, painter’s tape, Scotch tape, & duct tape. For boxes, posters, papers, and roommates, respectively. Anything for attaching one thing to another. The gummy stuff is surprisingly sticky.
  • Stapler, scissors, hole punch, ruler. Never ever lend your stapler out because you’ll never see it again.
  • A coffee maker. Brewing your own coffee is sooo much cheaper. Like hundreds of dollars by the end of the semester for daily drinkers.
  • Febreze. When all of your clothes are dirty and you’re too busy to do laundry.
  • Extra sheets, drying rack, & two hampers. You’ll be wanting to dry some things in your room instead of sacrificing them to Mac Gray. In addition, keep an extra hamper (or basket) for bringing your clean laundry back to your room. As for the sheets, someone will throw up on them one night right before you go to bed (we promise!) so it’s handy to have an extra set.
  • Electric kettle & weekend-sized suitcase. Ramen and tea will soothe the soul, and the suitcase can be your weekend escape. Or you’ll just be looking for a way to transport your books to Butler, a tried and true finals tactic.
  • A lamp. Get enlightened.
  • Picnic cloth or big beach towel. For splitting the spoils of JJ raids.
  • A greater tolerance for group activities.

The Unused:

  • Clock. Trust your cell phone to give you a sense of time when you’ve lost your own.
  • Organizational goodies like hanging wire cubes, crates, and cubbies. There’s no room in the tiny dorms we’re confined to for these. At most, you might find plastic under-bed boxes useful. Don’t get swallowed by the Container Store black hole.
  • Iron. C’mon, Mom. Either fold your laundry when it’s fresh out of the dryer or don’t wear things that wrinkle. For those few occasions when you just have to put a crease in your pants, there’s always that one kid on your floor who has everything. Pro Tip: hang your wrinkled garment by a steaming shower and watch the rumples dissolve.
  • Robe. College life isn’t luxurious and everyone’s used to moderately naked people. Hone your towel skills and maybe spend your money on a Slanket/Snuggie instead.

The Great Printer Debate:

  • Some wax rhapsodic of the printer, while other regret wasting the money. If you’re a humanities major writing lots of papers and you like to print out your drafts, it’s probably worth the investment. Granted there are dozens of printers scattered around campus, but right before you have to turn in your paper, you’ll always end up stuck behind some enterprising club leader in the printing line who has decided to print 100 flyers. Both printers combust and your LitHum magnum opus is late. But, if you get a printer, then you become that kid tasked with printing everyone’s WIAs. Conundrum!

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  1. Anonymous

    Golden Rule : Pack as little as you can. Dont listen to mum.

  2. Re: Robe

    While I'll agree that most people really won't mind seeing your sexy, wet & toweled self, I've seen far too many brave soldiers embark on Replacement Key Quests after having accidentally locked themselves out. Robes are easy to pack, they're comfy, and often worth the extra few bucks. Otherwise, a fine list.

    Love ya, Bwog - you've been doing great recently.

  3. Re: The Unused...


    Or it would seem so.

  4. Cleaning supplies

    Dear god, CLEANING SUPPLIES. I swear they don't clean those places over the summer. How someone left it in May (probably still drunk from the night before as they stumbled to the M60), is how you get it come September. Gross, but all the more reason not to care come May.

  5. BC'11

    What the...? It's like 5th grade summer camp. What happened to FYRO?

    I have no idea if CU has this...because I don't even know what it is...

  6. CC '15

    the dorms don't come with ethernet cables?

  7. Anonymous

    Can't we get most of this stuff (especially the disposable stuff) once we get there?

    • Yes...

      ...but I'll tell you what, when I first got on campus, back-to-school shopping was not something I wanted to waste time on. There are of course some things that are easier to shop for once you've actually seen the room you're staying in, but your first week will be busy. Fun, exciting, eye-opening... but busy, and you'll want to be careful how you use your time.

      I suppose it'll help with packing (Why waste time trying to fit that broom into a box, eh?) Just give it some thought.

    • Anonymous

      You'll definitely have time to buy the essentials around campus, though probably at a mark-up, and I definitely agree on not wanting to spend time on shopping for dorm items during your first month or so. Also keep in mind that you'll be getting around on the subway from now on, so schlepping a bunch of stuff home gets a lot harder.

      Definitely get Ikea and Target and whatever out of the way--you don't want to deal with that your first week here.

  8. Helpful BC'13/new yorker

    WTF was that constellation thing?

    But anyway: bring anything that is not disposable - i.e. ethernet cords, umbrellas, etc. I'm sure there's a wal-mart/kmart/target/99-cent store somewhere near you where you can purchase all of this, as new york is expensive (especially since we all know when you're moving in! they hike up the prices!)

    all soaps/laundry detergent/deodorant/cleaning items can be bought relatively cheap here in nyc. (also inconvenient things to pack like hangers, mop/broom/vacuum, etc)

    i will say in terms of clothing, now is the time to donate to goodwill. Half of the stuff you pack you will not wear, and the drawers here are ridiculously small.

    DO bring fun things you think you'll never have a reason to use. you'll use them one drunken night. ahh my boxing gloves.

    DON'T bring too many "momentos" from home that take up space.

    DO go to to see if any students on campus have books you can buy before you go to the CU bookstore. (hint: log into courseworks now to check your textbook list)

    :D i'm moving in before you... see you soon... (aka i will be creepin)

    (women creep too)

    • Anonymous

      One caution though: don't buy your books before you know what editions you'll need, or if you'll need a textbook at all. As an overly zealous (and thrifty) freshman I bought all of my books from used bookstores/online once I got my syllabus. Then I've get to class and realize what I had was all wrong. If you can get away with it, just buy a scanner and check textbooks out from the library.

      There are a lot of useless and useful things people bring. I know I found a robe very helpful, but cleaning supplies? No way. Also, my roommate brought a TV for our dorm first year, which seemed totally unnecessary.

      Finally, and this is unrelated to packing: don't feel like you have to have a great time or meet your best friend at NSOP. Once I started skipping events and cut loose a little, I started to meet people and have a great time.

    • DO  

      learn to spell "memento"

  9. Anonymous

    wait really? last year mine did. guess that was a fluke.

  10. to make showering less of a pain

    buy a 2-in-1 shampoo/shower gel and use leave-in conditioner once you get back to your dorm
    or get a 2-in-1 shampoo-conditioner and a bottle of shower gel
    or skip washing your hair in the shower too much and just get dry shampoo

    -soap is gross and it'll slip out of your hands in the dark at some point
    -the less bulk you have to take to the shower the better (even if you're using a caddy)--try getting things in travel size
    -DON'T shave in the shower (I don't know, use instant wax strips while you're writing a paper--trust me, it'll get to the point where waxing is a pleasant form of procrastination). Another alternative is those SmoothAway things. Seriously though, shaving in most showers is impossible (too small, too dark, and too dirty)--keep your hair removal activities in your dorm.
    -no loofahs or sponges or brushes. Just buy a scrub and use your hands if you're desperate to exfoliate.
    -get used to the cold-but-not-so-cold shower. It's better for your hair and skin and you won't get that bacterial sauna feeling when you leave the shower. Also, you won't get extremely angry when someone is flushing a toilet in the bathroom and the water turns cold.

  11. Anonymous  

    there'll be wi-fi, but it's gonna blow chunks.

  12. 2011alum

    1.Organizational/school supplies-- bring in advance and bring extra: Notebooks, folders, staplers, highlighters, pens/pencils, scrappaper, post-it, folders, paper clips, etc.
    2. otc meds+bandaids, extra makeup, toiletries, laundry detergent, hair products, etc.
    3. non-perishable food, coffee maker, microwave safe dishes, paper cups/plates, tide pens, paper towels, small clothes drying rack, plastic shower caddie, lint brush, febreeze, small desk lamp w/ light bulbs,
    4.ethernet, surge protector + extensions cord, blank cd's +dvds (w/ cd/dvd labelling sharpie and blank disk sleeves), sharpies + highlighters, (+ printer w/ extra cartridges + paper if you use one-- highly recommended), usb cables, cell phone charger, good school bag, soft laptop case, painters tape,

  13. did you know  

    Alice! Health Promotion offers free sleep kits to students that include an eye mask and ear plugs. You can get them in their office in Wien, or they have them at NSOP. You can also get more info from their sleep site

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