When it comes time to start packing for college, if you're anything like me you probably cross referenced a dozen different packing lists on a dozen different blogs to figure out what to bring. The important thing to remember looking at these lists is that most of the items are unnecessary and you probably won't have room for in your small dorm room anyways. The kitchen "essentials" list is no exception.

The need to bring many of the items on these lists can be avoided by a little bit of ingenuity. However, there are some items that a student looking to cook anything in college cannot live without. 

Necessary: Mugs 

tea, cake, coffee, beer
Meghan Buonanno

Mugs are a college essential. Whatever your source of daily caffeine is, chances are that it comes in a mug. They also have many other uses. With just a mug and a microwave, there are dozens of creations you can make for breakfast, dessert, and more. Plus, with trendy new mugs being manufactured every day, you can use your mugs as a decoration to express yourself.

My favorite mug features Anna from Frozen that my best friend got for me last Christmas. I got her a matching Elsa mug so we could enjoy them together. Mugs can tell stories, inspire you with quotes or be simply functional. There are not limits to what a mug can do. 

Unnecessary: Colander

broccoli, vegetable, salad, onion, oil, pepper
Kai Huang

Even though it makes a fashionable hat, a colander is relatively bulky and is not necessary for a college kitchen. I am aware that pasta is a staple for the college diet, but that doesn't mean that a colander is essential. You can drain your pasta using the lid of your pot or invest in a smaller and more convenient slotted spoon to drain pasta. You will have more space, and less items to wash at the end of the day. 

Necessary: Knives 

Meghan Buonanno

If you are looking to make any type of recipe in college, you are going to need a proper chef's knife. It's one of the most popular knives in all kitchens. You can use it for almost any type of cut, whether you need to mince, dice, or julienne. You can also use your knife as a replacement for a cheese grater as long as you make small enough cuts. 

Unnecessary: Cutting Board

coffee, tea
Cheryl Ching

See that empty cereal bag that you haven't thrown away yet? Or the cardboard from the care package that you haven't fully unpacked? Two totally functional cutting boards. They won't cost you anything and they're disposable, which means no cleanup and a space saver. All you need is a little creativity. 

Necessary: Pot 

soup, vegetable, meat, broth
Jocelyn Hsu

Whether you are making the college classic ramen, pasta, or a more sophisticated one-pot dinner, you are going to need a pot. You can use it to make hot chocolate or soup during the colder months, or one-pot brownies to satisfy your sweet tooth. 

Unnecessary: Apron

I know you want to look cute and trendy in the kitchen while you make your brownies, but leave the apron at home. Most of the stylish ones are overpriced and won't keep you clean or safe. 

Necessary: Pan 

coffee, tea, kettle
Meghan Buonanno

What else could you use to make your morning eggs when you're too lazy to go to the dining hall? You can use your pan to make some of the hundreds of one-pan recipes like pasta or stir-fry, or brunch it up with some pancakes. Chances are, whatever recipe you make you're going to need a pan.  

Unnecessary: Bottle Opener

Kathleen Lee

There are tons of ways that college students have invented to open up bottles of beer, you just have to have a bit of creativity and put that piece of paper to use. Plus, if your experience is anything like mine, cans of Natty Light will be your only option more often than not.  

Necessary: Keurig

coffee, tea, beer
Meghan Buonanno

Coffee from the shop is expensive, but it's oh-so convenient. That's why you need a just-as-convenient way of getting your daily fix of caffeine. With inexpensive k-cups in hundreds of flavors, you can make your Starbucks latte or even hot chocolate within the comfort of your room at a lesser price. And that's why you need a Keurig