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The world is going digital, baby! It's becoming more and more common for professors to accept or even prefer digital copies of your work rather than hard copies. Plus, most schools will have free or inexpensive printers available. If you're professor prefers the old-school method, there will be plenty of places to print that don't require you spending $150 on a printer and ink.
Your Whole Wardrobe
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Before you pack up your whole closet, remember that you will have very limited space to store it at school. We suggest a major wardrobe clean out before you move. You may even prefer to bring your clothes a season at a time. Save the puffy winter coats and scarves for after Thanksgiving break and take all your cute summer wedges home when the weather gets cold. Remember to leave your high school tees and letter jackets at home. There will be plenty of opportunities to replace them with new college apparel.
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These days, there's nothing your TV can do that your laptop can't. Put the cash you don't spend on a shiny new TV toward subscriptions to streaming sites. Netflix, Hulu, HBO Go, these are your new masters. If you absolutely can't miss the new episode of your favorite cable show, make friends with someone who is equally obsessed. There are televisions available in the lobbies of most college dorms.
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Ironing boards have the worst space-to-usefulness ratio of anything you could possibly bring. In a dorm room, the first thing you need is more space and the last thing is a crisp white shirt. Trust us; if the time comes that you absolutely need an iron, someone else will have one you can borrow.
External Hard Drive
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Backing up your computer is essential—don't wait until you've lost your first 15-page paper to start doing it—but your external hard drive is not. There are plenty of sites and services for backing up all of your hard work. Spend a little money on a subscription to a site like Mozy or Dropbox. They don't get lost or broken.
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Easy on the notebooks, tiger. You may have been all about hand-writing notes in high school, but your laptop is going to be doing the heavy lifting in college. Wait until after your first day of class to buy school supplies. Your professors will let you know what is expected for their class. Until then, an online note-taking site like Evernote is going to be your best friend.
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There are SO many apps for this. Save yourself the desk space and leave your monkey-shaped alarm clock at home.
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If you're still dabbling with discs, which you probably are not, leave that at home. You don't need all your favorite DVDs when you can store them on your laptop, rent them on YouTube, watch them on Netflix, or borrow them from a friend. Some college libraries even have movies and TV shows you can rent on DVD.
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Most schools will recommend that you pick up a handy-dandy computer lock for extra security on your most prized possession. And, if you use it, a computer lock is a very smart tool, but 95% of the time, you absolutely won't. Chances are, if you're not in your dorm with your computer, it will be with you in class, the library, or your coffee shop of choice. Be smart about locking your dorm room when you leave and your computer should be just fine.
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If you don't kill it in the first few months, you'll live to resent it after one semester. While fish and plants may liven up your dorm room, they just add one more thing to your to-do list without providing you with any love.
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You may be eyeballing that comfy desk chair now, but it'll just get in the way later. Most dorm rooms come with all the furniture you need and all the furniture you can comfortably store. Besides a couch or futon and a stool/storage container or two, hold off on the extra-large coffee table for now.
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Your favorite matching luggage may seem like a necessity now, but it won't when you're trying to find a place to store it in your dorm room. Opt instead for a duffel bag that can be easily folded up and tucked away. You'll need something to carry things home over vacation, but you certainly don't need to take up precious space with a giant wheeled suitcase.