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Dorm room essentials

Date posted:  8/1/16 09:00:00 AM

Living in a dorm room is a rite of passage for most college students. That first year or two sharing a medium- to small-sized living space will give you stories for future laughs with roommates and friends.

While most schools provide you with a bed and desk for your dorm, it's up to you to bring everything else. As newer dorms are being built, the rooms may provide additional amenities, but, generally speaking, you'll have to coordinate with your roommate to discuss what you need to bring.

Other than clothes and your computer, here are the essential items you need to bring when moving into a dorm room.

Make a small kitchen
Typically, when you live in a dorm, you're also paying for meals at the cafeteria. But some meal plans are more limited, or your schedule may occasionally prevent you from stopping at the cafeteria to eat. Also, once you're in school you'll quickly learn that your daily schedule will fill up with classes, study sessions, social activities and more.

During those few gaps in your schedule, it's always beneficial to grab a quick bite to eat. With a mini fridge in your dorm, you and your roommate can stock up on fresh foods that need to be refrigerated, such as salads, lunch meat, jelly, and even leftovers from when you ordered pizza.

Try to get a fridge that comes with freezer so you can also store frozen foods and make ice cubes to chill your drinks on warmer days.

In addition to the mini fridge, a microwave and toaster will also come in handy. You'll appreciate the toaster when you find yourself craving a warm bagel or crispy toaster pastry right before your morning class.

A microwave will help you heat up frozen foods, leftovers or Ramen noodles, a favorite of college students. When you want some hot food in a manner of minutes, the microwave will be your best friend.

Luckily, most mini fridges are small enough that they won't take up much space, but are big enough that you can store enough food and drinks to make it worthwhile. Mini fridges range in cost depending on size and features, while toasters and microwaves are a bit cheaper. You'll want to coordinate with your future roommate over who brings what and to hopefully split the costs evenly.

Personal items
You'll want to also bring at least two sets of bed sheets, an extra blanket or comforter and another pillow or two. Dorm beds aren't always known for their comfort, and, remember, they require twin XL linen sizes.

As for storing your clothes, usually you'll have a closet or wardrobe to hang up your shirts, pants, dresses, jackets and more. These spaces can also be big enough for you to store items in the top, and space at the bottom for some small drawers. Don't forget to bring the hangers.

Even with these provided items, if think you might not have enough space, you can also bring plastic containers that can be placed under a bed. Feel free to put out of season clothes in these bins and then swap everything out as the weather changes.

Also in this category are items that you might not think about until something is needed. Consider bringing:

  • Batteries
  • Extension cords
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Book holders
  • Dishes
  • Stapler
  • Small garbage can

It's better to bring all of these items on move-in day instead of frequently making trips to the store when you discover you need them.

Shower items
Shower items and other toiletries are a must-have. Bring soaps, shampoos, conditioners and anything else you use to freshen up.

Additionally, a shower caddy and a pair of flip flops are necessary if you're going to live in a dorm that has a communal bathroom and shower area. The caddy is useful for helping you carrying everything, while the flip flops are helpful for sanitary purposes. Even though the janitorial staff may clean the showers every day, they may be used frequently between cleanings.

A handful of towels and washcloths also fall into this category, in addition to a robe or cover-up

For your consideration
Now that you have the essentials noted, you'll want to consider some other belongings that might be worth packing in the back of the car. These are the items that you should take with you only if you have the space available. Otherwise, it's not the end of the world if everything doesn't fit.

On those nights where you want to relax, a television will come in handy. Since you're in a dorm, anything larger than a 30 inch screen might be pushing the space limits. Try to get a TV that has an HDMI slot so you can connect your laptop to watch Netflix or other Internet-based programming.

Depending on how far you'll be away from home, you'll have to make a decision on whether to pack winter clothing, if you'll be attending school in place where winter weather is prevalent. If you'll be attending school somewhat close to home, you might be able to leave behind the heavier sweaters and jackets until you have a chance to swap out seasonal wardrobes later in the year.

Otherwise, you'll need to pack clothes for all possible weather during the school year. Luckily, there are some packing accessories that can help you make your clothes as small and compact as possible.

College is a fun and educational time, but if you don't bring along the dorm room essentials, you might experience a few moments where you wish you had packed better.