So you’re getting ready for college, and packing is — of course — an important step. You’ve probably looked around your room to identify what is essential to bring with you (and if you’re like some college students — myself included — everything seems essential). Sometimes, though, it’s easier to identify what not to bring as opposed to creating a definitive list of must-haves.

The Office of Student Living has already started that list for you. There is a list of 15 specific items that are residence hall no-no’s, including hot plates, grill units (yes, that includes George Foremans), space heaters, lamps with plastic shades and cinder blocks to loft beds. The entire list can be found in the student handbook.

Other logistics include a vacuum — there’s one on each floor for residents to use — and critters. No matter how much you love Fluffy, he can’t come with you unless he’s an aquatic animal who can survive in a small tank. So, Fluffy the fish? Yes. Fluffy the hamster? Nope — you can visit him at home over fall break.

Now on to your personal items. In theory, it’s an awesome idea to bring all your summer clothes and your winter clothes. That way you’re prepared no matter what whacky weather Erie decides to throw at you, right? Wrong. In August, there is absolutely no need for a down jacket and four pairs of Ugg boots…and there’s nowhere to put them, either. By the time fall break rolls around, it will be the perfect time to trade the swim suits for the sweaters.

Finally, think about what you really use on a regular basis. A good way to test that out is with a pack or two of sticky notes. For one week, put a sticky note on each item in your room that you use. It sounds eccentric, but it will give you a clear picture of what’s really essential (and it will make your room a bright color for a week). Chances are, you’ll realize you can leave your Harry Potter books, pet rocks and other eclectic items at home.

Should you get to college and realize you accidentally added something to your “do not pack” list and you really need it, don’t panic. There are a few options. Take a bus to Wal-Mart and grab a new one, ask mom or dad to throw it in the mail or just hold out until the next time you go home. It’ll take a little bit to figure out what you need and what you have room for, but everyone figures it out before too long.

Now that you know what not to pack, check out Tyler Babcock’s list of packing essentials.