I’m sure you’ve seen all of the back-to-school ads for college freshmen that have student’s dorm rooms all decked out in the most fanciful (and unnecessary) furniture, decorations, and more. Of course retailers want to sell you as much stuff for your dorm room as possible, but a lot of it is simply unneeded (and will be quite unwanted when move out day rolls around). Here’s what you really need to get your first year of college off to a good start.
1. Two Sets of Twin Sheets
Because who is diligent enough to wash their sheets every single week? You can extend that time between laundry days by buying two pairs of sheets, so you can switch them out every week, then when they’re both dirty, you can wash them.
2. Foam Mattress Pad
They don’t make those twin-sized dorm beds for comfort, and your back will soon learn that. If you want to get a single good night’s rest during your freshman year (and you’ll need it), invest in a comfy foam mattress pad.
3. Shower Caddy
Even if you have a private bathroom that you share with a couple roommates, you don’t want to hog all of the space by keeping your extensive collection of body washes and shower gels in the shower itself. Instead, keep them all in a caddy in your room and bring it with you when you need it. It’ll keep your roomies happy & your stuff won’t get used by other people.
4. Shower Shoes
Please. If you forget everything else, please bring a pair of shower shoes. Do you really want to find out the hard way how disgusting and bacteria-infested those community showers are?
5. Box Fan
A fan may not be the first thing on your list, but it should definitely be on there. It will cool you off if your roommate likes to keep the room excruciatingly warm, or if they are being too loud, you can drown them out with some peaceful white noise.
Even if you’re not a bookworm who’s going to bring their whole collection of novels with them, you should still buy a bookcase or two for storage. You’ll need it for your textbooks at least, but you can also use a bookcase to store other necessities, like notebooks, pens, and even decorations.
7. Cheap, Reusable Dishes and Silverware
There’s no need to pack an entire kitchen into your dorm room because chances are, you’ll be sharing a kitchenette with the entire building and it’ll probably be occupied most of the time. Not to mention, cooking is way too much effort when the cafeteria is only a few minutes away. A few plastic bowls and plates for heating up some hot pockets will work just fine.<
8. Coffee Maker
You’ll need coffee. Lots of it. But that’s about the extent of kitchen appliances you’ll actually need/use. Even though there’s probably going to be a coffee shop somewhere on campus, it will frequently be swamped, and those $5 lattes add up quicker than you think.
9. Over-the-door Hangers
As a lazy college student, you’ll probably end up tossing just about everything on the floor, but perhaps some over-the-door hangers will keep the important things organized and within easy reach. It’s just as effortless to hang up your jacket and purse than it is to throw them on the ground, then you won’t have to spend ten minutes looking for them when you need them.
10. Plastic Drawers
You probably saw those miniscule closets on the tour, and yes, they are just as small as they look, if not smaller. You’ll only be able to fit about 30 pieces of clothing into them, so unless you want to start a capsule wardrobe on the fly, it’s probably a good idea to bring some extra drawers for the rest of your attire.
11. Basic Medications
It may look suspicious if you bring a whole pharmacy with you, but it’s smart to bring the basics: pain relievers (Tylenol or Ibuprofen), allergy medicine (Claritin or Allegra), heartburn relief (Tums), and an anti-diarrheal (Loperamide).
12. Basic Cleaning Supplies
You don’t need a million different types of sprays and wipes for your tiny dorm room, so it’s fine to stick with just an all-purpose cleaning spray like Lysol and some Clorox wipes. Your dorm will get pretty gross anyways, but when you finally can’t stand it anymore (probably in February or March), you’ll have what you need to make the place livable again.
13. Power Strip
There’s probably a grand total of three outlets in your dorm room, and your roommate has probably already stolen two of them to plug in her TV and computer. So, make the most of your lack of outlets by purchasing a power strip so you don’t have to choose between charging your computer or having a lamp.
14. Planner (or Planning App)
After the first time you walk into your Physical Science class only to find out it was test day and you completely forgot to study, you’ll swear by a planner. Don’t trust your own memory when it comes to important things like tests (or fraternity parties).
I forgot to bring or ever buy an umbrella my freshman year and as a result, I skipped class when it rained because I didn’t want to get soaked. So, learn from my mistake and bring one so you won’t miss anything important in your classes, like the due date for a project.