8 Tips for a Healthier College Room


Living in a small space is virtually guaranteed on campus. Residence hall rooms are one of those small spaces – and they also provide connection with other students, resources and groups on campus. One technique to stay healthy on campus is to set up those small spaces for your academic success. Here are our tips to do just that:

Room in residence hall with Carolina gear and calming touches
  1. Minimize stuff. It’s tempting to pack every. single. thing. from your room at home, but resist that urge. Start with the bare essentials and add more later. The more minimalist you can go, the better. You can always bring back what you really miss the next time you visit home.
  2. Maximize storage. Loft your bed so you can fit more things under there. Worried about the height? Bed risers can give your bed just enough boost to give you more storage underneath.
  3. Get your Zzzzs. Bring a black out eye mask and ear plugs. If your roommate has a different sleep schedule than you, you’ll need to deal with it. Always put eye masks on and earplugs in before going to sleep.
  4. Create some calm. Adjust the lighting with lamps (but if you live on campus, not multiple-bulb light fixtures or halogen lamps, those aren’t allowed in UNC housing), white holiday lights, or battery powered candles. Add some calming scent with lavender or diffusers. Incorporate plants into your space such as bamboo.
  5. Decorate. Hang photos or posters that inspire you to fulfill your goals at college using temporary mounts or blue tack removable adhesive. Photos of family and friends can also offer a sense of familiarity. Add color with your bedding and furniture.
  6. Stay organized. The room is small – so have a place for everything and take a few minutes each day to put things in their place. Shoe caddies, extra hangers, under the bed storage, and cloth storage bins all make a difference. And make your bed! It’ll take a minute but will help make your room look more inviting and comfortable.
  7. Snack on foods that nourish you. Residence hall rooms at UNC allow a 6 cubic feet fridge to be used, and larger kitchen areas are available to the community. Ideas for nutrient-dense snacks:
    • Nuts | Seeds | Dried fruits | Fresh fruit | Veggies, especially snackable ones like carrot sticks, celery, snap peas, peppers, edamame | Bars, especially protien- & nutrient-filled ones. Look for few ingredients and words you recognize. | Peanut butter | Hummus | Yogurt | Granola | Oatmeal | Avocado
  8. Communicate. Living with so many people in such close proximity requires good communication. Set up expectations with your roommate right away and revisit as needed. Let your neighbors know when something they do impacts you. Connect with your residence hall staff when you need help.

Suggested packing list focused on your health and wellbeing:

Sleep:

  • Sheets (UNC residence hall mattresses are 36″x6″x80″)
  • Mattress cover
  • Comforter/quilt
  • Bedside caddy
  • Bed pillows
  • Throw/blanket
  • Alarm clock (it can be helpful to turn your phone OFF at night)
  • Earplugs
  • Eye mask

Study:

  • Desk accessories
  • Laptop with security cable and sleeve
  • Desk lamp (single bulb, not halogen)
  • Bulletin board, pushpins
  • 3 prong power strip with surge protection and cord fire protection
  • Dry erase board and markers
  • Book light

Relaxation:

  • Speakers
  • Headphones/ear buds
  • Floor cushions/backrest
  • Area rug
  • Fan
  • Frames and wall art
  • Blackout window panels
  • Floor lamp (non-halogen, single bulb)
  • Room fragrances (such as aromatherapy)
  • Little white holiday tree lights
  • Battery operated candles
  • Comfy chairs
  • Crate or small table for coffee table
  • White noise machine

Organizing:

  • Shoe storage
  • Stacking drawers
  • Closet organizers
  • Luggage
  • Batteries
  • Purse organizer
  • Hangers
  • Emergency first aid kit
  • Small tool kit
  • Hooks for hanging bathrobes, jackets
  • Drawer organizers
  • Closet curtain/rings/rod (for Hinton James, Craige, Avery, Parker, Teague and Ehringhaus. All other residence halls provide moveable wardrobes with doors)

Wash:

  • Towels (for your body and for cleaning your room)
  • Washcloths (for your body and for cleaning your room)
  • Laundry basket/hamper
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Shower tote/caddie
  • Hair supplies
  • Robe
  • Slippers
  • Toothbrush and holder
  • Drying rack
  • Soap holder and soap
  • Laundry detergent
  • Hand vacuum
  • Multiple COVID-19 face masks
  • Travel sized hand sanitizer

Eating:

  • Small fridge (max 2’x3’x1′ or 6 cubic feet)
  • Microwave oven
  • Coffee maker
  • Plates and bowls
  • Glasses, cups and/or mugs
  • Cutlery and utensils
  • Can/bottle opener
  • On the go travel mug
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Bag/chip clips
  • Water pitcher and filters
  • Food storage
  • Lunch bag
  • Toaster, blender, coffee or tea maker and/or air popcorn maker as desired

Movement:

  • Bike and U-lock
  • Gear for your favorite activities
  • Comfortable shoes to wear while moving yourself around campus

UNC Housing rules to know:

  • NO Candles, incense, fireworks
  • NO Weapons
  • NO Crockpots, instant pots, electric griddles
  • NO Halogen lamps or multi-bulb lamps
  • NO pets except fish
  • NO two-prong household extension cords
  • NO items with exposed heating elements such as hotplates or toaster ovens
  • NO items that exceed 1000 wats of usage

Updated August 2021

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