Freshman Packing List: Buy vs. Bring


Whether you’re driving, flying, or walking to Brown as a first-year, you’re all going to have the same problem: you’re bringing too much stuff. I blame the “College Freshman Packing Lists” you can find online, which all seem to be under the impression that a college dorm is some kind of high-tech, compact pod orbiting the Earth. You know, the lists that tell you not to leave home without glass-cleaner, suction hooks, and 12 boxes of batteries?

Fortunately, Blog is here to remind you to utilize all the stores on Thayer Street and in the Providence Place Mall. Here’s a packing list of what you should bring vs. what you can easily buy around Brown!

Home to a Macy's, Nordstrom and... the Providence Place Mall
Home to a Macy’s, Bed Bath & Beyond, Apple Store, and Nordstrom, the Providence Place Mall earns its title as the largest indoor carpeted mall in America!
  • Bedding

BRING. It’s nice to come prepared with your bedding, especially since Twin XL Sheets can be a pain to find. Plus, your bed is probably the most important thing in your room!


  • Toiletries

BUY. Only bring what you can’t buy from CVS. Shampoo and conditioner are heavy bottles that take up lots of space. Why bother when there’s a CVS right on Thayer?


  • Full Length Mirror

BUY this at the Bookstore. Full-length Mirrors are pretty difficult to transport since they’re big and easily breakable. The bookstore sells a lot of lightweight, reasonably priced full-length mirrors.

Plus, you can pick up one of these while you're there.
Plus, you can pick up one of these bad boys while you’re there.


  • Clothes

BRING. This is probably the majority of what you’re bringing. But remember to pack your clothes seasonally (e.g. wait until Thanksgiving Break to bring your bulky snowboots).


  • Snacks

BUY. There’s a CVS and Whole Foods (and tons of other restaurants and stores) super close to Brown, so these will just take up unnecessary space in your luggage.


So many healthy snacks haha.
So many healthy snacks!
  • School Supplies

BRING and BUY. Bring, if you’re the kind of person who is very picky about their school supplies. If you’re not, the second floor of the Brown Bookstore sells pens, highlighters, notebooks, calculators, and more. Plus, there’s the CVS.


  • Fan

BUY. Again, the Bookstore sells fans (at good prices, too!) And it’s smart to wait until you feel how hot your room actually is before you buy a high-powered fan that you’ll never use.


  • Container Thingies

BUY. These are really useful for storage, but again can take up a lot of unnecessary space in your luggage. Chances are you didn’t have these pre-college, so you’re buying them new anyway. If that’s the case, there is a Container Store in Cranston that’s only an 18 minute drive away!


These kind of container thingies.
These kind of container thingies.
Also, these.
Also, these.


  • Command Strips/ Command Hooks

BRING. You will use so many of these, as will every other person at Brown. They’ll sell out fast from the CVS on Thayer/ Providence Place Mall, so it’s best to stock up on Command Strips from your local stores that are not in a college town. If you think you’re buying too many, you’re not/ if you have extra, save them or give them to your thankful roommate.


  • Carpet

BUY this. There will be used carpet sales around Brown in the first week. If something about buying a used carpet feels a little gross, it’s also always nice to know the exact size of your room before you come with a carpet that’s too big or too small. You can hit up Bed, Bath and Beyond or the Macy’s in the Providence Place Mall for a carpet!


  • Decorations

BRING and BUY. Bring personal decorations that will help make your dorm feel like home. It’s also helpful to bring stuff you know you want to put up, because when you’re starting to unpack your room, it’s easier and nicer to put the posters and Christmas lights, etc. up first. However, Brown has a used poster sale sometime in the first week, where you can get some cheap posters if your walls feel a little empty!

Plus, there's always this facebook group!
Plus, there’s always this facebook group!


Images via, via, via, via, and Ebba Brunnstrom ’19.

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