Dorm Life: What You Need

Moving into a college dorm for the first time is a really exciting experience. It’s a time of freedom and excitement and more independence than you’ve ever had before. College is a time to live by your own rules, make mistakes, meet amazing people, and discover and learn new things about the world and yourself. Okay I know, that’s a bit cheesy, but hey, I guess college and I are still in the honeymoon stage of our relationship. The actual moving in part of the dorm experience can definitely be a bit stressful, so here are some of my tips to move in as painlessly as possible for you and hopefully your wallet.

First thing you should do is make a shopping/packing list. Find lists other people have created, like the one I have below, and let those inspire your personal list. Make sure you have researched your school’s on-campus housing policies, such as, can you have microwaves or mini-fridges in your room? What about coffee machines and other devices? Do you have a private bathroom or shared bathroom? All of these circumstances will alter your list in order for you accommodate your individual living situation. After putting together a list, make sure to discuss your dorm budget with your parents.

Buying for your dorm isn’t cheep, but there are a lot of ways to save money. I’d start with trying to get your basics taken care of at discount stores such as TJmax, Homegoods, etc. You can find a lot of good quality pieces for much less than they would be sold at a normal retailer. I purchased my pillows (both head and decorative ones), laundry basket, desk accessory supplies, towels, water bottles, and bath matts at stores like TJmax.  Other things to look for when shopping at these stores are lamps, rugs, bowls, mugs, silverware, mirrors, fans, wall art, bathrobes, luggage, hangers, any kind of storage, and much more. The more you buy at these discount retailers, the more you have to save and spend on items like your comforter cover, art work, or maybe electronics that are better investments.

I purchased the majority of my other items from retailers near my campus like Target and Walmart. My school provided a service that allowed you to rent a microwave and mini-fridge, which I highly recommend, especially if you plan on living in the dorms only for a year. For cleaning supplies, disinfecting wipes are your best friend because they are effortless and can clean almost everything from your desk, to your fridge/microwave, to the bathroom. I didn’t include any furniture in my list because in my dorm, they supplied a bed, desk, and three drawer dresser, but if I didn’t have the drawers, I would have definitely needed additional clothing storage. In dorms, storage is always an issue. I used a trunk to store my out of season clothes/shoes, my luggage, my extra bags, and old books from the past semester/quarter. This trunk slid under my bed where I took advantage of the extra space for my shoe collection. Looking back, a shoe rack would have been a nice addition to this space for those of us with way to many shoes. I also used the space above my wardrobe for more storage. Command hooks are some more important items that should be on your list. I used these hooks to hang almost everything from my towels in the bathroom to my belts, hats, jackets, and jewelry in my closet. These things are amazing and don’t leave a mark on you wall when you take them off. You can also use their sticky backings to hang posters and pictures on your wall.

Obviously since I am a girl, much of the items on my list are tailored to me and my particular dorm experience. I had a bathroom that was shared with the girls next-door, so I needed bathroom supplies that others who shared a bathroom with their entire hall wouldn’t need, such as bathmats.

Moving in, although a bit stressful, can be a lot of fun. I’ll be back soon with more dorm life additions.

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