This is it – you are about to embark on some of the best years of your life. Mom or Dad won’t be around; you will be away from home and taking charge of your own life.
Moving to college and living in a dorm will be an experience you will never forget. But before you pack up the car, don’t forget some of these basic essentials.
(Bonus: these make excellent graduation gifts.)
1. Cleaning supplies
Part of becoming an adult is cleaning up after yourself. You will be in close quarters with your roommate, so keeping your dorm room clean will help make your 100-square-foot box feel like a home. Disinfectant spray and wipes, trash bags, paper towels, dish soap and a Swiffer will help you achieve a clean, healthy room. Before putting down your bedding, make sure to wipe down your mattress, because you never know who – or what – has slept on it before you.
2. Power strips and extenders
With all of the gadgets college students need, it is easy to forget surge protectors and outlet extenders. Most dorm rooms have two, maybe three, outlets. Bed, Bath & Beyond has a bundle that includes a power strip, extension cord, and outlet extender that is perfect for plugging in your phone, computer, printer, lamps and more.
3. Command Strips and hooks
Make your dorm room a home by hanging some pictures with Command Strips. Since most dorms don’t allow nails in the walls, Command has several “damage-free hanging solutions” for your photos, towels, coats and more.
4. Sewing kit
Mom (or Dad) won’t be there to sew a button back on your favorite jacket. Buy a sewing kit from Michaels or CVS and do it yourself to save that favorite blouse or pants and ultimately save you money.
5. Basic tool kit
Maintenance crews on campus are always busy and can sometimes take a couple of days to get back to you regarding a request. Having a basic tool kit will help you with simple repairs, let you assemble cool new furniture and make you the go-to handyperson in your hall. Try your local Home Depot or Lowe’s for a kit that is perfect for you.
6. Plastic airtight food storage
This is great for saving food for later or taking it with you to the library for your all-nighter. Plus, you can pack up some food from the cafeteria and enjoy it later. Target, Walmart and Amazon often carry small, cheap sets.
7. Basic dishes (bowl, plate,
cup and silverware)
Let’s face it, some days you aren’t going to want to trek to the cafeteria. Save yourself some heartache, and buy some basic dishes for when you eat in your room. Having soup out of a can isn’t very comfortable when you are sick, so make sure your dishes are microwavable. Target has a small dish set made especially for dorm dwellers.
8. Medicine cabinet supplies
Walking all over campus in those new shoes is bound to give you a blister or two. Stock up on bandages, aspirin, ointments, cold medicine, and vitamins to stay healthy. Having a proper medicine cabinet (or kit) will save you from going to the store and infecting others.
9. Toilet paper
This may seem like a basic necessity, but after 18 years of being used to having toilet paper at your disposal, it’s easy to forget. Unless your dorm has a communal bathroom, toilet paper won’t be provided. Stock up on your favorite brand from a warehouse store.
10. Laundry supplies
Lastly, if you have never done a load of laundry before, now is the time to start. Remember to separate your darks from your lights, and use the proper amount of detergent. Purchase a laundry bag, detergent, fabric softener and dryer sheets before you move in, because you can never be too prepared for an accident.
Stephanie Ross is a freelance writer and marketing coordinator in Boston. This article is based on personal experience.