15 Things You’ll Actually Need in the Dorm

moving into dormsJust a couple of weeks from now, cars will be double-parked outside dormitories while parents and new college students haul most of their worldly belongings up to their new homes- a place with concrete floors, shared bathrooms and about 230 square feet to share with a perfect stranger. Sounds cozy, doesn’t it? Technically, only 115 square feet of that will belong to you- as your roommate will also bring all of her worldly possessions to occupy the other half.

You’re in college now. So be smart! Unless your parents are selling the house and skipping town as soon as you leave- your old bedroom or the attic will be the appropriate storage for off-season clothing, prom collectibles, your stuffed animal collection, and old band instruments.

Obviously, you need to bring your clothes with you. Outside of that, be resourceful and use the following list to help you downsize before you even approach the threshold of your new campus digs.

laundry bagClothing

1. One laundry basket. Sorry mom, there will be no room for sorting.

2. One laundry bag. The cliche is so true, and so affordable. You will take laundry home. (You could also ditch the basket and use only the bag.)

3. Laundry detergent. You’re not doing laundry for a family of five, so one decent sized jug of detergent should last a while.

4. Hangers. Again, pack away the off-season clothes. This is the furthest thing from a walk-in closet. Bring only what you need.

5. Table-top ironing board…. if you must. Who irons in college?

college dormElectronics
You should probably save your graduation money until you meet your new roomie- that way you don’t double-up on these items.

1. Microwave. It should be small enough to zap a burrito- not prepare Thanksgiving dinner.

2. TV. I don’t recall a single wall in my dorm that could support a 50″ plasma. Something small will do the job. You can’t afford cable anyway!

3. Mini Fridge. Mini is the key there and it will be necessary.

4. Video Games. Every guy’s dorm room will look like a Best Buy, so you can probably save space and use someone else’s.

5. Computer. It comes down to what you can afford, but a laptop makes the most sense for saving space and toting to class, study groups or home.

bath towelsBed, Bath, Kitchen and Beyond

1. Two full sets of towels is probably all you’ll need. You can only use one at a time. “Borrowing” them from home is free and acceptable.

2. One set of bedding. You can wash it while you’re not sleeping on it. Again, “borrow.”

3. A small hand-held tub to store toiletries.

4. Find out what your room/suite mates are bringing for bath mats, shower curtains, etc. before making the investment.

5. Dishes. There’s no one to tell you to do them here- so don’t! One set with a plate, bowl, cup and utensils should do it. Doing dishes in the bathroom sink is a pain. You’ll eat in the cafeteria or off of a pizza box most of the time anyway.

Your dorm room will come with plenty of light, a phone, a dresser and some shelving. By now you’ve hopefully been on a campus tour and know the size limitations of your dorm. By all means, take photos from home and your favorite blanket- just take into consideration the limited personal space of your roommate, and your own need to not be bogged down in clutter. Put it this way- imagine living in a hotel room with another person for a year.

An added bonus to less stuff? The elevators will be jam-packed with people, making the stairs a faster alternative!

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