As a recent high school graduate leaving for college, gearing up for university living can be stressful. You will soon be transitioning from a snug, cozy room into what seems like a small closet with a bed. These new living quarters demand practicality; there’s little room for excess in an 8×8 room. We’ve taken the inventory and bring to you a few dorm room essentials.
- Plastic storage bins. The meager space under your bed will serve as one of your precious storage areas. The dimensions vary, so find out how much space you have before purchasing. Containers will keep your clothes clean and protected, and your food bug-free.
- Laundry basics. If the laundry routine remains a mystery because your parents have always taken care of it, now’s a good time to start job shadowing. Knowing that you shouldn’t mix your reds with your whites will save your wardrobe and your freshman reputation. Pack up laundry detergent, dryer sheets, stain remover and plenty of quarters.
- Bathroom/shower provisions. Equip yourself with a shower caddy to hold your hair and body products along with a pair of shower shoes. Beach flip-flops work perfectly well, so grab some in your favorite colors during summer season. They are harder to find during the winter months.
- School and office basics. Along with school staples such as pens, pencils, notebooks, highlighters, markers, a stapler, scissors, index cards, and paper clips, don’t forget a small fan and desk lamp. A spare charger and surge protector are also wise investments.
- Cleaning products. Stockpile those garbage bags, because they can double as bags for clothing and linen when your suitcase hits capacity. Add a spray cleaner, rags, and a sponge for when that 2 am instant chocolate mocha mix splatters over your desk.
- Mailing supplies. Your local convenience store is a great place for greeting cards, envelopes and bubble wrap. Create a “to go” box of cards for all occasions to grab, sign and send during the semester when it’s your mom’s birthday or little sister’s sweet 16.
- Kitchen items. You’ll likely do most of your eating at the cafeteria, but it’s nice to have at least one bowl, plate, cup, and a few sets of plastic flatware on hand. It’s so much nicer to drink your hot tea in a real mug rather than a plastic cup.
- Extra hangers. These will come in handy when you’re trying to salvage every square inch of drawer space. Pack a dozen, even if you think you won’t need them. It’s best to be prepared.
- First aid kit. DIY for the basics which should include a flashlight and extra batteries, a variety of bandages, hand sanitizer, Neosporin, gauze, peroxide or alcohol, first aid tape, safety pins, and wet wipes. Toss in some earplugs for emergencies. You’ll need some shut-eye between classes as your hall mates hold an American Idol showdown outside your door.
- A mattress pad. Admittedly, the dorm mattress will not be the same quality as what you sleep on at home. A good quality mattress pad, soft bed spread and a familiar pillow will do wonders for your sleep. Don’t go cheap when you are buying nightly comfort – you will need a restful night for your busy days at college.
Check your college website for more helpful hints. And, for more College Etiquette advice, you may also like Social Media Etiquette for College Students and Young Professionals on The Huffington Post.