Residence Hall Do’s and Don’ts

Residence Hall Room in Dennison Hall.

Miami students typically spend half of their college years in a residence hall, so it’s easy to become an expert.

I may only be one (recently graduated) student, but here are some of the do’s and don’ts I took away from my experience of living on campus for two years at Miami.


“S” hook or “Molding Hook”
  • Coordinate with your roommate on who is bringing what shared items. You can split the cost on larger items, or at least make sure you don’t end up with two microwaves in your room (if you need one at all).
  • Spend time getting to know your roommate. Call, text, or meet up if you are from the same area. For some “getting to know you” questions, check out our blog post
  • Bring S hooks for hanging pictures, lights, tapestries, flags etc. Each residence hall room has a rail around it for hanging items and S hooks are the way to go. You can find pictures of rooms and picture rails on Parent and Family Program’s Pinterest page. You can buy S hooks for your room at Lowes, Home Depot, Amazon, Walmart, etc. Sometimes people have trouble finding these at hardware stores. You might need to ask for “molding hooks” or “picture rail hooks” to find the right kind.
  • Get a small stool or ottoman that will make getting onto your raised bed easier.
  • Get a mini cordless vacuum. It makes cleaning up your floors and small messes a breeze.
  • Get shower shoes with holes in them. They’ll dry much faster and prevent water from pooling while you are showering.
  • If you like to listen to music in the shower, get a waterproof pouch for your phone so you can take it in your shower caddy.

And a couple of bonus “Do’s” for after you move in:

  • Get to know your RA. They are there to help! And if you have any questions or problems, they are a great resource.
  • Spend time with more than just your roommate. Branch out and get to know the people in your hall or on your floor. Often you share interests, lifestyles, or major because of Miami’s living learning communities. This will help you to make friends and make the residence hall feel more like home.


Damage from LED Light Strips
Dry wall and paint coming off the wall due to command strip damage.
Damage caused by command strips.
  • Don’t bring command strips, tape, or nails to hang things on the wall. While it is tempting, it often (like really often) stains or causes damage. Even if the package promises that it won’t. And damage to the walls will eventually cost you money. If needed, you can usually use a small amount of putty instead of command strips (we’ve seen good results with “Removable Mounting Putty” in white).
  • Speaking of wall damage, don’t bring LED string lights that stick to the walls. They may look adorable in the short term, but they almost always do enough damage that you end up having to pay for the entire room to be repainted. Avoid this $250 charge!
  • Don’t bring more than one throw pillow. They’re cute until you actually have to use your bed. Then they become a hassle.
  • Don’t overpack. Just bring the essentials and what you need to be comfortable. Remember, Oxford has plenty of places to stock up on anything you may need throughout the year. And Amazon delivers to campus.
  • Don’t bring a white or super fuzzy rug. Spills will happen. Rain days will happen. And these types of rugs are really hard to get clean.
  • Don’t bring a hard sided or super tall laundry basket. They may look cute or be what you are used to at home, but in a residence hall you may have to haul your laundry across the building and multiple floors. Those baskets get heavy and hard to carry. Opt instead for a laundry bag that cinches or that has backpack straps for easy transport.  

While you want your space to feel like your own, be thoughtful about what you bring. You can always get more of everything, so it’s better to be missing a few things than to feel overwhelmed by the amount of stuff you brought. Make the most out of your residence hall years at Miami. They are a unique experience where you will grow in your independence and set the tone for your college experience.  

Grace Cooper | Class of 2022