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With less than a month until move-in, incoming students across the country are rushing out getting the final things they need for this fall. Last month I talked about limiting overpacking with respect to t-shirts, though this month I wanted to make note of another common item that many freshmen overpack: room decor. College move-in and room tour videos comprise some of the most viewed college-related content. It’s amazing to see students and their families creatively transform and customize their new homes away from home. However, personalizing your new space doesn’t have to cost you a lot of money or space in your suitcase. Here are a few quick elements that I think help make your dorm roomier.


  1. Pictures: This is definitely not an original idea on my part. Lots of drug stores offer really great discount rates for end-of-summer printing deals on 6×4 photos. This is a great way to bring memories from home instead of bringing larger physical objects from memorable times.
  2. Postcards: I’m not sure if anyone else really read the fire code before move in, but Hopkins does have a limit on the maximum size of both single objects as well as total wall surface covered. (Check out those guidelines here!) One easy way to display some of your interests is to get postcards and hang them up alongside your pictures. They look great and also give you flexibility throughout the year to change your wall easily!
  3. Frisbees/Hats/Sunglasses/etc: I lived in AMR 1 my freshman year, and because my entire wall was essentially cork board, my main method for hanging things up was push pins. After I finished hanging up all of my pictures and postcards, I used some of the remaining space to store some miscellaneous things that were useful to have so accessible. It was a really nice way of mixing form and function and I really encourage all of you to integrate some of your favorite items into your dorm decor!
  4. Lights: I didn’t start the school year with lights on my wall—the rooms on campus are really well lit, it’s not necessary for you to bring additional lighting, but over winter break I saw lots of really great deals on lights. I really recommend waiting until some items go on sale later in the year, both to save some money and prevent overpacking!
  5. Bedspread/Pillows/etc: My only thoughts on these are that it’s okay not to have a full color scheme going on with your roommate or even with yourself. As long as you’re comfortable you’ll be good. Baltimore ranges from very hot and humid in the summer and early fall to a lot of days around 40 in the winter, and even a few days colder than that.

I hope this was somewhat helpful! I’d love to hear any creative ideas you all have if you want to share those in the comments! Otherwise, best of luck moving in & enjoy the rest of your summers!