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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

College Week - What Do I Need?

It's been a long time since I was in college - a really long time.  However, I did spend 4 years in a dorm - 2 as a resident advisor - so I know more than most about living in a dorm room.  I'm focusing this week on things you need to know to live happily in a dorm room for one or more school years.  I know my college week is late - many have already left for college.  If you're smart, you realize that unless you have complete dimensions to your dorm room and know your room, it's really not possible to buy everything you need for your room.  So, whether you haven't left for school yet or are already there without the perfect dorm room, here's some things you need (and some you don't).

First, you need to read two great articles from Grown and Flown - "Dorm Shopping: What to Ask Before You Spend" and "Ten Commandments of Dorm Shopping." Here are some of my must haves:

Bath Stuff 

  • Monogrammed or patterned towels - they don't get "lost" as easily 
  • Plastic bath caddy.  I personally like the plastic bath caddies you can carry because when they inevitably get grungy with soap and shampoo residue, you just take them in the shower and hose them down.  Mesh caddies are harder to clean.


  • A good mattress topper - not just the mattress cover.  
  • A sleep mask can be very useful if you and your roommate keep different study hours. 
  • Bed risers, but only after you actually see the room and the bed. 


  • Tech corner - charging station, headphones, extra long charging cord and wireless speaker
  • Laptop with cover.  The cover is a must for all of the traveling your laptop will see.
  • Power strip - look for a flexible one that can curve around furniture

Closet/Storage Area

  • Full length mirror on closet door - use Command hooks
  • Laundry bag - I like this better than plastic baskets because they can hang, take up less space and are easy to sling over your shoulder (or dragged) even when they are full
  • Storage bins - It's important to get the right size for under your bed - whether it is raised or not. Again, this might be one of those things that might wait until you are actually at school to see the bed.
  • Over the door hanger/basket/pouches for storage.  Hopefully you are able to put the full length mirror on one side of the closet door and the hanging storage on the other side

Other Important Stuff 

  • Filtration bottle - while a Britta pitcher would be ideal, the space in your refrigerator is probably limited.  You can also take the bottle with you.
  • Fan - Cooling, air circulation and white noise when you're trying to sleep
  • Disinfecting wipes - I can't describe all the ways you might use these
  • Command hooks - you can't put nails in the walls.  Tomorrow I will show you a special hack for hanging posters.
  • First aid kit/common medicines/prescription list - the first time you get a cold you will be happy you have this.  You will need a Band-aid at some point and a complete list of your prescriptions (with dosages, pharmacy information and doctor) is important
Finally, when I was in school, there was no technology.  Today, there are so many gadgets and apps you can get to make your life at school easier, more organized and successful.  Keep your music online or in digital format.  Use your phone to watch TV or movies.  Use of technology is not only more efficient, but solves one of the biggest problems of dorm living - lack of space.