The summer leading up to college was full of excitement. I was watching sale ads and shopping at stores all summer to gather the perfect necessities and accessories for my dorm room. The thought of being able to outfit my own space with items of my choice and going off to live on my own was so exciting. Bed Bath & Beyond and Target became my favorite stores. I wished I could afford the Container Store but obviously, that did not fit into a fresh high school graduate’s budget. However, regardless of researching all the lists of things I would “need” for my college dorm room, there are still some things I wish someone would have told me to think about purchasing.
1. Double Sided Mounting Tape. I began to buy this stuff like it was going out of style by the time I was a sophomore in college. It’s thick, strong, and can help hang items on the concrete walls of your dorm room. (Exactly, not all dorm rooms have sheetrock walls, so you can’t put nails in them.) Another good option is spray adhesive. You can find it at a hardware store or most any big box store.
2. 3M Command Hooks. These things are great, and come off with ease. They allow you to hang cute Christmas wreaths on you dorm room door, or create a hat rack along your wall, OR use ‘em to hang up Christmas lights around the perimeter of your room, creating a nice glow, maybe even consider using them to hang pretty cloth shower curtains on your wall to create a drapery effect of some sort.
3. Candle Warmer. It is common knowledge that you cannot burn candles in any dorm. It is not that the school has something against candles, they just don’t want you to accidently burn the place down. A candle warmer can be easily purchased at Walmart or Target for fairly cheap, then just stick a candle on top of it, (in a glass container) and when it gets warm enough, pull out the wick, and your room will be smelling nice and pleasant in no time. If you like the look of glowing candles they also have battery powered candles and tea lights these days which can be pretty cool as well.
4. Cable Lock for your laptop or computer. If you value keeping your computer, get a lock for it. Sure you may trust the other people around you, but you never know when someone might walk in your dorm and walk out with your precious laptop.
5. Check the Electrical Plugs in your dorm room or apartment. My sophomore year in college, the dorm was really old, built in the ‘50s, back before ground plugs were put into electrical items, so as a result, none of the plugs in our dorm had the space for the ground plug! Our computers, television, fridge, etc. None of it could be plugged in as soon as we moved into our dorm! So, we had to race to the local Lowes or hardware store to try to find the plug extenders or adapters to put in several of our plugs so our electronic devices would work. Especially if you are moving into an older dorm, you will probably want to make sure the plugs can accommodate your stuff, and prepare for it if they can’t.
Overall, there are so many things that you won’t immediately think of to take to college, so it is best to do your research ahead of time. Check out lists online that are available and make sure you check with your dorm for a list of stuff that is not allowed, you don’t want it taken up once you get to school.
One more piece of advice:
One thing I didn’t really consider was the hauling of all my stuff to school in the fall. I was just so excited to buy it all and pick everything out that I forgot about lugging it up all those stairs and fitting everything into my car. The great thing about a lot of stores now is that you can purchase an item in one store and pick it up at another! OR you can order something and have it delivered to your school when you move in! THEN you really won’t have to carry it all that far! Let the businesses do the shipping! Another thing you can consider is just waiting to buy some of the necessities in the college town once you get there! Several stores such as Bed Bath & Beyond will ship the product you order to your school, or allow you to pick it up in your new college town. Seriously, it will save you some time from packing and what not so check those options out!
Not sure what all you’ll need for college?
Here’s a suggested school supply list from Staples.
Bed, Bath, and Beyond has a great page of tips of What to Bring and What to Do at College as well as a list of Practical Solutions for moving into a small, cramped, Dorm room.
Best of luck on your college adventure, and remember to call me when you need pictures. 😉
Now, for a few pictures of my favorite college dorm room from my sophomore year in Lineberry Hall at East Texas Baptist University, where I shared a room with Wendy and Ashley for the first time. I’m willing to bet this was one of the best years of my life!
Above: the living room/study space—that’s my desk with the cool lanterns above it!
Above Left: the living space looking toward the door with the three closets we had, one had entertainment, one was the pantry/kitchen, and the other was a “coat closet” of sorts and mostly held a crate with our dirty dishes.
Above Right: My bed space! we fixed up this cool frame with drapes and had these curtains I could close so it was like my own little room within a room. ‘Twas nice.