Pack like a Pirate: 5 Packing Tips for Your First Semester at ECU

Moving into a dorm room for the first time can be a challenge. Living with someone in addition to having smaller living quarters takes adjusting to, but can be a blast if you do it right and maximize your space. Keep reading to learn what you do and don’t need to keep your dorm room in top shape.

1. Bring bed risers/Loft your bed

A simple four pack of bed risers from amazon can change your space-saving game! When your bed is higher up it allows for more storage underneath, optimizing space. If you’re trying to optimize as much space as possible, however, lofting your bed is the way to go. Placing your bed higher up means you can use even more of the space underneath the bed – place your desk or dresser there to give you more floor space elsewhere! Lofting your bed might not feel like the cutest option at times, but it is the best use of space and will make a huge difference in the functionality of your room.

2. Leave your extended wardrobe at home

As a chronic over-packer, packing to move into ECU the first time was a huge struggle for me. Luckily, I lived an hour away so I was fortunate enough to be able to go home for things I needed. However, not everyone has that luxury. The semester turnover around the holidays is a great time to take advantage of if you do live far from campus. Greenville summer is hot, so focus on bringing your versatile summer clothes that you know will be worn. Maybe decide against bringing a formal gown or your heavy coat in favor of pieces you know you will for sure wear. You also do not need every pair of shoes you own – focus on the ones you’ll wear to class, the gym, long walks, any events you might have, etc. Sneakers are a must-have, and will get their wear-worth. Some things to not forget include an umbrella, rain jacket, water bottles, lanyard, shower shoes, and a standing fan (if that’s your speed).

3. Don’t be afraid of wall decor, but be careful!

Consider holding off on any wall decor decisions. First off, the material of the walls will determine what you should and should not use to attach things to the walls. For dorms with drywall walls like White, Clement, and Greene, you can’t use command strips as they will damage the wall. In these cases, consider small tacks and push pins. Another reason you should wait is that some dorms may have accent walls. If you buy your decor before you are aware of the accent wall color, you may end up with some jarring contrasts that you’ll regret later. So because of these reasons, consider waiting until your Drop-Off/Move-In date to make decor decisions.

4. Use the provided dresser and desk

Avoid bringing in other furniture like couches, tables, or nightstands. While it seems fun at first, this is not always the best use of space and can cause more issues later on. Not using the provided furniture also wastes space because then you have to store the empty units as campus housing will not remove them. The provided furniture also has excellent storage and practicality, and is extremely sturdy for year-long use.

5. Consider bringing less decor

Everyone loves curating their space for the first time. Decorating your dorm is arguably one of the most fun parts of dorm living! However, consider the usability of the items you are selecting to decorate your room with. Loads of pillows may look cute, but they create clutter and are in constant transition (on and off the bed), which can cause mental strain and stress. Wall space is something you might choose to optimize instead. Posters, mirrors, hanging lights, etc. take up vertical space rather than horizontal – a better option for wanting to showcase your style and save space at the same time.

Remember more than style, your space needs functionality, and while it may feel small, you can keep that cramped feeling to a minimum by eliminating unnecessary clutter in your dorm. Bring what you need and leave what you don’t at home!