Students throughout the country look forward to beginning college and moving into their dorms. This exciting transition can be packed with challenges, but you can make it go smoother with an advance list of what to bring. From making a dorm room your own to preparing for class, the right supplies can make your freshman year better on every level.
Before You Start
Many people make the mistake of just throwing everything they think they might like onto a gigantic, out-of-control wish list. You can trim your list by considering the following:
- Your living space: Colleges provide dorm living in a variety of styles. Yours may come with a kitchen or not. Some colleges provide specific equipment and items, while others do not. Checking out the climate will let you know whether you will need, for instance, extremely warm bedding.
- Your roommates: With some items, you may only need one per room or suite. Coordinating with others who will share your space can help you avoid bringing unnecessary stuff.
- School rules: Your college may have rules about items that use electricity or may pose a potential fire hazard. Read up on the rules so you don't end up having to dispose of an item you can't use.
Plus, if you're like most people, your budget is not unlimited. Split up your list into needs and wants, prioritizing the most important items. Doing this in advance will give you more time to shop around for bargains on the more expensive products on your list.
For Your Dorm Room
Not only can a good night's sleep make a huge difference in how you feel, but it is also the key to doing well academically. A comfortable bed can go a long way to help you achieve the restful sleep you need. Start with these bedding items:
- Sheet set: Bring at least two; more if you want to have a backup for those times when you get behind on laundry. Find out the dimensions of the bed (typical college dorm beds run to a twin extra-long) to get the right fit. For cold climates, you may want to invest in a set of flannel sheets for fall and winter.
- Pillow: A high-quality pillow that suits your sleeping style is a must.
- Comforter/Blanket: Look for lightweight, easy-to-wash materials that provide the warmth you need.
You may also want:
- Ear plugs
- Sleep mask
- Mattress pad
For most people, laundry will never top the list of fun college life activities. You can, however, make it easier on yourself with proper supplies:
- Hamper: Space in a college dorm room is typically limited, so look for a space-saving, lightweight design. A mesh hamper with carrying straps helps you transport your load to the laundry room.
- Detergent: A concentrated bulk package lasts longer.
- Extras: Depending on your needs, small items such as stain remover and dryer sheets can keep your clothing in better condition.
Health experts point to several benefits of keeping your environment organized, including better health and reduced stress. Freshman year can be tough enough, so pick up some effective organizational solutions to cut down on stress and wasted time.
Start by determining what you actually need to organize. If you plan on bringing two pairs of shoes, you don't need an over-the-door shoe organizer. This item, however, can be a great space-saver if you have many pairs of shoes or other small items you can sort into the pockets. The following list of supplies can help you save space and locate your stuff quickly:
- Over-the-door hanging rack
- Storage bags, drawers or boxes that fit under the bed
- Bed lifts that maximize under-the-bed space
- Hanging cubbies
- Drawer and shelf dividers
Putting some thought into the basic items you get for your room can make it into a comfortable space to retreat to at the end of the day. Alarm clocks, lamps calendars and dry erase boards are all useful items that come in a variety of styles. Taking the extra time to find colors and themes that appeal to you is a good way to enhance your dorm room.
Posters are a traditional mainstay of a college dorm. Selecting an assortment that expresses your unique interests and personality can make you feel more at home in your new environment. Be sure to get poster-hanging supplies that showcase your posters and do not damage the walls.
Bathroom and Cleaning
Whether your shower supplies consist of two bottles and a washcloth or of an extensive array of products, get a caddy that fits everything you need to carry your stuff from your room to the showers. Here is a list of basic bath products you may need:
- Shampoo and conditioner
- Soap or shower gel
- Face cleaner
- Washcloth or sponge
- Hair brush or comb
- Nail care
Plus, you may need additional hair styling products, a shaving kit or makeup. Shower slippers are also an essential when you use a communal bathroom.
Find out if your suite or floor has a dedicated kitchen and whether your school provides items such as cookware, a fridge or a microwave. If there is no kitchen, you may want to keep a microwave or coffeemaker in your room or in the common area. Some kitchen essentials to consider include:
- Water bottle
- Cooking knife
- Electric kettle
- Mini fridge
Every year brings new exciting tech developments. Some tech has transitioned into basic essentials you cannot do without, while other remains an optional yet significant enhancement to your freshman year.
You will definitely need:
- Laptop with up-to-date specs
- Flash drive
- Power source
- Power strip
- Phone charging cables
- Portable phone charger
You may also like:
- Wireless speakers
- TV stick