When you’re planning the big move from the comfort of your parents’ home to the independence of dorm life, there’s a number of must-have items that you absolutely can’t forget. The internet is filled with tips for online education preparation, what to do your first week of college, and how to eat well on a ramen budget. But what should you pack? We’ve put together this handy list to help you prepare.
1. A laundry basket
Get one with handles that’s sturdy enough to haul up and down stairs. You’ll probably want one made of plastic; a mesh hamper might make carrying dirty laundry easier, but it isn’t good for returning to your room with neatly folded clothes. Plus, there are more uses for laundry baskets than merely toting laundry. Line them with plastic bags and fill them with ice to chill your favorite beverages. Or, load one with a blanket, take-out food, and drinks and find a green spot on campus for a romantic picnic.
2. Storage bins
As a dorm resident, you’ll need to learn how to live efficiently in a small space. Stackable storage bins are perfect for books and school supplies. Your storage needs will be different, depending on your major. Art students, for example, will have more small tools and art supplies, so bins with lids are ideal. Law students or paralegal assistants will have a lot of books—large books—so sturdy shelf-like bins make more sense.
3. A refrigerator
A small refrigerator unit will come in handy for all that left-over food you will accumulate from eating out nearly every day. Find a refrigerator small enough to fit in your room. Costco and Best Buy sell compact refrigerators for $150 to $300. Check with your dorm’s RA for restrictions and make sure the electrical outlets will accommodate your fridge.
4. A microwave
The college kitchen won’t be open 24/7, so when you get that late night craving for popcorn, frozen dinners, or your leftover Chinese food, it’s a great idea to have your own microwave. You can find these at bargain prices at Goodwill or The Salvation Army. If you want to buy new, you can find decently priced microwaves Target or Wal-Mart.
5. A television
Most dorm rooms don’t come with personal TV sets in every room. Although your common room might have one. If you have need-to-watch shows that you can’t live without, then you might want to invest in your own set. Better yet, consider a subscription to a streaming service like Roku, Netflix, or Hulu.
6. A shower caddy
The worst part about dorm life is communal bathrooms. To make your trip to the shower as easy as possible, invest in a shower caddy, where you can place your razor, loofah, lotions, shampoo, conditioner and body wash. You might also want to invest in some slippers to wear after your shower.
Remember, you can’t bring your whole wardrobe with you, so you’ve got to get the most out of what you do bring. Stick to the basics for tops and bottoms; a one week supply. Make sure that most of these are interchangeable. You should be able to pair one top with at least two or three of bottoms.
You should also be able to wear your clothes multiple times, excluding t-shirts, underwear, and socks of course. Hang up your clothes. This will air them out and keep them looking pressed and fresh. To make sure that you get multiple uses out of your clothes, you should track them with a simple closet tool like MyClothingHelper.
8. Bedroom essentials
- Bed sheets (most likely you will need twin sheets, the standard size in dorm rooms)
- Comforter or blankets
- A few pillows
- Clothes hangers
- Hair dryer
- Alarm clock
- Sewing kit (assuming you actually know how to sew)
- Message board for your front door
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