One of the biggest struggles of moving away is knowing you have everything and then some. If you’ve been living under your parents’ roof for your entire life, you’ve never had to worry about simple essentials.
Starting from scratch is a daunting task, especially when you don’t realize how much you’ll need to get started. Follow our guide to ensure you won’t forget anything during this already stressful time in life.
Sleep Like a Baby
The bedding you never knew you needed
Let’s start with arguably the most important part of your dorm - your bed. Your school will provide a mattress, you just have to figure out whether your bed is a standard twin or an XL before you buy any bedding. We suggest two sets of linens, including fitted sheets and pillow cases. Buy one comforter or a duvet insert with a cover. One thing that’s often overlooked is a mattress pad. Your dorm bed will be nothing like your bed at home. It’s hard, lumpy, and probably very thin. A mattress pad is something you never knew you needed but we promise you can’t go without it.
You can never have too many pillows & blankets
Bring as many pillows as you need for a good night’s sleep. Don’t forget decorative throw pillows that help spruce up your bed a little more. Plus, you can use them for a study pillow. Pack at least one more blanket for cold nights and just in case your roommate likes it a little chillier at night. Not to mention having an extra blanket is nice for or hanging out in friends dorms for a movie or Netflix night.
Bedside lamps are a must for any late night cramming or reading that won’t disturb your roommate. The last thing you want to do is annoy your roommate right off the bat. If you’re not a fan of the library or just like the comfort of your own bed, some secondary lighting will do the trick. Also, add string lights near your bed for a dreamy effect.
There’s no doubt that sleeping in a dorm with rowdy hallmates can be difficult. Pack yourself some earplugs and an eye mask for times when your roommate stays up or there’s a party going on down the hall. There’s nothing wrong with being a little extra!
Eating & Cleaning Purposes
Ok, so you definitely don’t get a full kitchen in your dorm (and if you do, we want to know where) but there are small kitchen items you need to make life easier. Communicate with your roommate on who will supply the mini fridge and who will supply the microwave - you wouldn’t be a true college student if you didn’t live off of ramen and easy mac. With that, you’ll need microwave safe plates, bowls, cups, and mugs. Don’t forget silverware, too! A mini keurig will be ideal for early morning classes and late night cram sessions.
Avoid living in filth
For the times you eat in your room, make sure you bring a sponge and dish soap to wash your items between uses. Someone will likely clean the dorm hallways and restrooms, but disinfectant wipes will be your best friend for every surface of your room. Stock up on as many as you can along with laundry detergent and dryer sheets. Skip the broom and dustpan and opt for a handheld rechargeable vacuum to keep your floors and rugs tidy. Buy at least two mini garbage cans - one for near your desk and another for the bathroom if your dorm is a suite!
Make Personal Hygiene a Priority
Basic shower must-haves
Of course you won’t forget towels, wash clothes, and hand towels. But, one thing you or may not know you need is flip flops. Take it from us, you do not want to go in the bathroom or showers with bare feet. Buy a cheap pair that you designate for the showers, and you can thank us later. A shower caddy will make bringing toiletries to and from the bathroom a whole lot easier. Basics to include in your caddy are: shampoo, conditioner, body wash/lotion, loofah, razor, etc. A bathrobe is a comfortable alternative to towels when you’re walking to and from the bathroom. Plus, it’s great just for lounging around!
Small, forgettable items
All the little things you typically rely on your parents bathroom to be stocked full of include nail clippers, nail file, tweezers, cotton balls/swabs, floss, etc. Don’t forget to stock up on ponytail holders and hair products!
Take care of your clothing
Washing & Drying
Packing all of your clothing is one thing, but you’ll need items to help you take care of your clothes and look great. Choose one laundry hamper you know you won’t have trouble lugging to and from the dorm laundry room. Not all dorms have free laundry so be prepared to bring along plenty of quarters! It’s a great idea to invest in a hand steamer and a drying rack. At some point in your life your mom has likely fussed at you about what shouldn’t go in the dryer. Take her advice before you ruin your best clothes and toss them over a rack for a day.
Organizing your clothes
First things first, get more hangers than you think you’ll need. Some dorms clothing racks are exposed so try to stick with the same color hangers. Buy an adjustable shoe rack that can be made bigger or smaller depending on the size of your closet. If you know you have an abundance of clothes and are already nervous about where it’ll all go, try to get creative with storage. Buy a 6-12 cube organizer that can double as a TV stand while also allowing you to store bins of clothing.
Studying & Coursework Necessities
Must have electronics
A laptop is a must. Without it, your life will be much more difficult because you will likely need to visit the library often in order to complete assignments such as papers, discussion boards, or even just note taking. With that, you need to have a charger, USB flash drive and headphones to cancel out any background noise. We also suggest extension cords and surge protectors. This is a simple solution for the inevitable lack of outlets. A printer, though not required, is also a great investment. Your campus library or computer labs will have printers you can use, but having your own will save you a trip or the stress of waiting in a line.
Stay organized and prepared
Notebooks, binders, and folders will keep you well organized. You don’t necessarily need one for every class like high school, but definitely enough to hold notes and handouts. Bring plenty of pencils, pens, and highlighters. Notecards are an essential study tool that will help you with learning terms for quizzes, exams, etc. A day planner is another life saver that is incredibly helpful for staying organized. We suggest it even if you use your phone’s calendar to help you keep track of day-to-day to do lists.
Gearing up to moving out of your parents’ house can be a scary thing, especially when you’re used to them having everything on hand. Don’t forget to add things you know will make you feel most comfortable in your new space. This includes your go-to books or a stuffed animal you just can’t sleep without. Be smart about the extras you choose to bring and know what you can and cannot live without.