Last Minute Dorm Shopping List



With only a few weeks (or less) until you move into your residence hall, you’re probably feeling pretty good about the supplies you’ve picked up. But hold up, we can pretty much bet that you’ve forgotten a few essentials. Don’t believe us? Take a look at these last-minute dorm shopping list must-haves to see if you’ve got your dorm and desk covered.


Stapler, Staples, and Stapler Remover

This isn’t high school anymore. Your professor doesn’t have her own classroom with supplies for you to use. You’ll need to carry around your own stash of staples when turning in papers or working on an assignment. Don’t forget — this is essential.


Notecards, Highlighters, and at Least One Notepad

Sure, you’ll probably take most of your notes on the computer and you may be all into the e-textbook. But there will be times when you’ll need to print something out and take notes on it. You may even have to complete an assignment in class on, you know, paper! Don’t be caught without some of the basics, even if you’re loaded with the best and latest tech.


Extra Batteries

Late nights out, traveling for an internship, emergencies — these are all reasons why you’ll want to carry around an extra battery for, at least, your phone. You may also want a backup for your laptop or tablet. Throw one in your purse or backpack and forget about it.


Good Lighting

Dorm room lights are usually those industrial lights you see in generic office buildings — the kind that spread bright white light and gives you instant migraines. But for a few bucks, you can turn off those ugly overhead lights and make your dorm rooms nice and comfortable. Pick up some floor, desk, and wall lights. Get creative and make your lighting source a canopy over your bed or coordinate your lamps with your minimal room theme.


Easy-to-Clean Rugs

Dorm floors are notoriously cold and unforgiving. A warm, comfortable rug is one of those things you’ll be glad you have come wintertime. But read the tag before you invest. You’ll want one that hides stains, is easy to vacuum, and is relatively inexpensive.


Purple Rug from OCM


Bed in a Bag

Let’s go over the absolute needs: blankets, long size bedding, pillows, towels, and an organizer. Who wants to do all that shopping when you can instead just buy a Value Pak!? Everything’s included and you can find one to match your style. It’s so easy, you won’t have to worry about the first night!



Don’t make the mistake and wait until the day of class to buy your books. In most cases, they’ll be out of stock or limited options. Instead of paying more for the new version at your bookseller, check out eBay or Amazon for cheaper options that will be shipped to your dorm in a day or two. It’s a great way to save some bucks and get you ready for class.


Food and Cooking Supplies

While you probably paid a fortune to have a meal plan, sometimes you won’t be able to make it to the cafeteria or will want to stay in. Having a few food staples at the ready will be a big help. We’re talking non-perishable comfort food like mac and cheese, noodles, and soup (microwavable foods). Grab some bowls, plates, silverware, and cookware, and you’ll be all ready to wow your floormates as the resident dorm chef.

How to Make Move-in Day a Breeze



There’s nothing quite as exciting, thrilling, or stressful as moving into your residence hall for the new school year! With so much to plan and coordinate — not to mention all the different thoughts and emotions running through your head — you can probably use a little help. Here’s how you can make moving in day a breeze without breaking a sweat.


Step One: Think Basics

Here’s a simple question for you to answer: when is move-in day? Make sure you double- and triple-check. Many schools have different move in days and times based on your grade level, the dorm you live in, and if you’re attending any summer or orientation events. Make sure you check with the college so you definitively know when your assigned day and time is.


Step Two: Review Your Dorm Room

Some residence halls are palaces with upgraded features like in-suite televisions and memory foam beds. Others have dorm rooms that are basically cinder block cells the size of a large (or even not-so-large) walk-in closet. Before you do anything, head to your school’s residence life web page to review the layout of your dorm room. Note the closet size, the amenities, and the recommended furniture layout(s). These will all come in handy during the packing phase.


Step Three: Do a Pre-Pack

Nearly all schools provide shopping lists for incoming residents. These usually include things like extra-long bedding, pillows, towels, and office items. Once you’ve picked out all your essentials, lay them out on your bedroom floor and see how much space they take up. Add season’s worth of clothing, shoes, and accessories, along with your electronics. This will give you a rough idea of how much remaining room you have to work with. We recommend placing all of this in a trunk that can double as storage and seating in your dorm room..



Step Four: Plan Your Transportation

Once you know the footprint of everything you’re bringing, decide how you’re going to get it there. Most students can get away with using their parents’ SUV or truck to get by. If you have a lot, though, you may want to consider renting a U-Haul or other larger moving truck, especially if you’re moving cross-country.


Step Five: Pick Your Moving Crew

Most colleges have students who volunteer to help those living in the dorm move in. But you should also bring a few extra hands, if possible. Give these people tons of advance notice, especially if it’s on a weekday. And be sure they understand how far away your campus is and that moving in will probably be an all-day process.


Step Six: Review the Logistics

You’ve got your transportation decided and your crew confirmed, and all your basics are packed. Now, do it all over again. We’re not joking! This is when you can check and re-check everything from the move-in times and maps to what you’ve put in your trunk. Make sure everyone’s on the same page, and you’re ready to go.


Step Seven: Plan for a Shop

Whether you’re limited because you’re flying or you are forgetful, plan for a shopping day or night. You can grab the little things like kitchen gear, cleaning supplies, storage units, etc. at local stores. Or, you can have fun ordering everything online and having it all delivered to your dorm once you’ve moved in. Planning to buy later will help you keep moving day stress to a minimum.


Step Eight: Say Thanks

Move-in day is an emotional one — and not just for students. Make sure you express your thanks to those who help you, as well as those who got you where you are. Send thank you cards, give them a call, and take a picture and send them a postcard. A little love can go a long way.

Move-in Series: 2 Weeks Away from College Move-in Day


Move into College

Welcome back to the move-in series! We’re now just two weeks away from move-in day and the finish line is in sight. For those of you who haven’t been keeping up with the series, allow me to explain: this is part three of a four part series that gives step by step instructions for high school grads preparing for move-in day at college. We share plenty of helpful tips and tricks to help high school grads transition from their bedroom to their dorm room. Here’s seven helpful steps to follow when you’re two weeks away from move-in day.

Step 1: The Checklist

Whether you printed out one of our college ready lists, or made one of your own, it’s time to pull it out and look it over. Once again, go through your checklist and make sure you have everything you need. Order those last minute items with expedited shipping or make a run to the store. Don’t forget about food! Be sure to add food to your list. If you plan on making a run to the grocery store before move-in day, avoid buying perishable foods. Hold off on buying food like fresh fruit until you find a place to store it in your dorm.

Step 2: Pack, Pack, Pack

By now you should have most of your belongings packed and ready to go. Anything that you are not currently using should be packed, with the exception of items such as clothing, toiletries, and the like. Be careful of fragile items like picture frames and electronics. If you don’t have any bubble wrap lying around (and most of us don’t), use a few spare towels to wrap up fragile items. Stay organized while you pack by labeling your boxes and bags.  Keep all of your packed belongings in a designated spot at home as to avoid misplacing anything.

Step 3: Move-in day plan

How will you get to college? Are you moving in alone? How will you fit everything into the car? These are the kinds of questions that you should consider. If you’re taking a car, plan on loading it up the night before. Perhaps it would just be easier to ship everything or rent a truck. Once there, you need to figure out how you will move everything in. Ask your family members, friends, and roommate for help. If you’re moving in alone, consider hiring movers. Don’t hurt yourself trying to lug everything up to your dorm! Stay on track by creating a schedule for move-in day. It doesn’t have to be super detailed, but have general sense of when you want to leave, how long you want to spend unpacking, etc. Consider setting aside some time to go out to eat with your family. Think of it as a last meal and a final goodbye. Also, you want to leave plenty of time for yourself to explore the campus and attend events.

Step 4: Freshen up

New school, new home, why not a new hairdo? Get a haircut to look fresh for your first week as an undergrad; consider a whole new ‘do as you redefine your persona away from home. While you’re at it, spice up your wardrobe with a trip to the mall. Pick out a new outfit or two and arrive in style on move-in day!

Step 5: College Prep

Print out your schedule and book list. Start browsing around for textbooks and see if you can find a fair price. Buying used is a great way to save money and you can always sell the books back! Be advised that not all professors teach by the book…literally. If the book is only “recommended” or “suggested” you may not need it. Before you buy that $300 textbook, send your professor an email and ask if the book is required.  On the flip side, do not walk into class empty handed if the book is required for the course. Getting ahold of an in-demand textbook during the semester is a struggle. For a full guide to textbook shopping, check out the post Textbooks 101 for College Classes on our blog.

Step 6: Create a college bucket list

Make a list of all the things you want to accomplish and achieve at college. Perhaps you want to go on an overnight hike. Maybe you want to get straight A’s your first semester. Once you’ve come up with about ten goals, pin the list up on the wall. At the end of each semester, cross out what you’ve accomplished and add new goals. Hold yourself responsible for completing what you set out to do. Want to have even more fun? Share the list with your friends and ask them to go along with you on your adventures.

Step 7: Research student services

Check out all the student services offered at your school. Need help building your résumé? Not sure what career you want to pursue? Luckily for you, student services are available to help you with these things and more! Looking for an internship? Check with student services to see what contacts they have. You may be far from home, but help is right around the corner!

Home Away from Home: Your Last Summer Before College


Home away from Home

Hey fellow soon-to-be Freshmen, where is your new home for the fall and spring semesters this year? Whether it is Quinnipiac University (which is where I will be attending), The University of Miami or Arizona State — no matter how far — this is now your home away from home.


The Hardest Thing about Leaving for School

What is one of the hardest things about going off to college for the first time? Well easiest answer: leaving all your closest family and friends. I am not sure if I am by myself but I know the one person I can’t live without is my sister. My sister and I are inseparable — so how am I going to live without her for a few months!? Great question. Even if my sister and I don’t see eye to eye sometimes, I know she is the one person that I will have to call daily for personal updates — because she is my best friend who will be there for me through every mistake and every heartbreak I will eventually have. I haven’t even said goodbye to her and it breaks my heart knowing that the person I live right next door to will now be so many miles away.

GIF via Giphy


Then there’s the “I can’t wait to get away from my parents and move away to college already”

As much as sometimes we don’t want admit it, no matter what, your parents are your parents and you love them. Don’t listen to that line that everyone says because they are the ones probably paying for your tuition and giving you everything you probably ever wanted. Even though you’re on your own at school, don’t forget to call your parents. Personal admission: it frightens me that my mom is not going to be my personal alarm clock to wake me up in the morning before school and tell me to get up and out of bed. I know it is embarrassing that my mom still makes my lunch, but what kind of a person would I be if I didn’t have her helping me distinguish right and wrong?

College Moms

GIF via Giphy

You also can’t forget about your dad who is the one making the practical jokes about mom being stressing out her first born is going off to college. I know I am going to miss the morning update if my favorite sports team won lasts night’s game, or on the presidential debates.


GIF via Giphy

So many things are juggling through not only my mind but the thousands of other incoming freshman about to leave for college. Like, what are my classes going to be like? Are finals going to be hard? What if I don’t make it into a sorority? What happens if my roommate and I don’t get along? What happens if I am home sick? What if I don’t make any friends? Not seeing the same faces everyday from 8 am until 3 pm is going to be a big change…

My best friend is going to be extremely hard to leave behind, but I will also truly miss my newest friends, who are my coworkers from my summer day camp job. I’ll miss laughing, crying and cracking up about the daily ins and outs of working with kids at a summer camp.

Saying Goodbye

GIF via Giphy

It’s hard to believe that summer is almost over and college is almost beginning! According to BeBe Rhexa, it’s now “its just me, myself and I”.


Move-in Series: 1 Month Out (aka Grind-time)


Move in series 2

We’re back again with our Move-in Series. For those of you unfamiliar with the series, we are providing a step by step guide for high school grads preparing to move into the residence halls. Now that we’re a month away from move-in day, it’s time to knuckle down and take care of business. Follow the eight steps below to make the most of your time at home!

Step 1: Shopping Online

You still have plenty of time to order online and have things shipped before move-in day. Remember to stick to your budget, and pick out a dorm-room style that really speaks to you. Tip: don’t leave this till the last minute! You don’t want to end up settling for a last minute in-store purchase of something essential like your bedding or rug. Also, make sure you know how long items will take to ship in order to keep everything organized.

Be sure to check out OCM for the best deals and giveaways. Enter to win OCM’s Room Goals Instant Win Giveaway and stay tuned for future giveaways! Our blog and social media pages will keep you in the loop with all of the new products as well as college life advice.

Step 2: Professional Tasks

If you’re working a summer job, it’s almost time to put in your two weeks’ notice. Don’t wait until the last couple of days to quit your job. Leave on a good note so that you have a reference to put on your résumé – because perhaps you want to come back next summer and work again. Either way, make the right choice and give at least two weeks’ notice.

The next task is to build or update your résumé. A strong résumé should reflect your academic and professional achievements. You are bound to make connections in college both personally and professionally. So keep that résumé up to date; you won’t regret it! Take a look at our blog for more résumé help and advice.

Step 3: Network

Want to avoid that awkward silence when you first meet your roommate? Reach out to your roommate via text or social media. Before you get lost in conversation about who knows what, be sure to ask them about their plans for move-in day. Matter of fact, there are 11 essential questions that you need to ask. You’ll be spending a lot of time together over the course of the next year or two, so get friendly!

Talk to them about the serious stuff too. Let them know if you have any sort of medical condition in advance – that way, if something were to go wrong, they will know how to help.

Also, don’t be scared to reach out to your fellow classmates! You’re not the only one going off to college for the first time. You’re all in this together so make the most of it. It’s always comforting to see friendly faces in a new environment.

Step 4:  College Life

Do you want to be a part of Greek life? Are you interested in joining a club? Looking for inexpensive places to eat on campus? Start researching places to go and things to do before you arrive. Familiarize yourself with the school’s social media pages. That way, you can stay up to date with all the events going on around campus!

Make a list of things you want to get done freshman year. This is your time to explore, meet new people, and experience all that college life has to offer. Be adventurous and go outside of your comfort zone! Most importantly, don’t let this year pass you by. Perhaps you’ve always wanted to rock climbing — so do some research, pick a date, and take a new friend!

Step 5: Practice Makes Perfect

Let’s be honest, no one likes doing laundry. But you’re going to have to do it in college so you better practice while you’re at home. Continue to hone these skills that you will need to live on your own.

And with one month left, it’s time to take a hard look in the mirror. Take a minute and do a self-evaluation. Are you a messy person? How well do you get along with others? Keep in mind you will be sharing a room with someone new. Don’t be that messy roommate who forgets to do the dishes or take out the trash. Identify your bad habits, and work on breaking them while you still have time!

Step 6: Make a Quick Buck

As you sort through your belongings, put aside items that you no longer need. Sell these items online to make some quick cash. However, make sure you don’t sell off items that you plan on using after college, such as furniture. Consider selling old electronics, clothes, sports gear, and other items you might not need.

Now’s also a good for a short-term, part-time job like dog walking or babysitting. Check local listings and put up flyers around town. You may be surprised at just how profitable this type of work can be.

Step 7: Family & Friends

Don’t forget to spend time with those closest to you! Ask your family to go out for dinner. Plan a road trip with your friends. Whatever you do, make sure you spend some quality time with your family and friends! You might not be seeing them as much once you leave for school, so now’s the perfect time to spend time with them before the big move.

Step 8: College Registration & Other Deadlines

Have you kept up with all the due dates and deadlines for college registration? Keep in mind that scholarships and financial aid may take time to process and require you to manually log-in and accept any rewards. Don’t miss out on potential financial aid or a work study grant because you missed the acceptance deadline! Set reminders and check your college email daily. Take care of any paper work and send it in – you won’t want to be stuck doing this the first week of school.

Keep updating your class schedule as move-in day draws closer. Not sure what classes you should register for? Reach out to an academic adviser for assistance or reference your degree requirements. Figure out what times and professors work best for you. There are plenty of websites that rate professors so check those out before committing to a three-hour night class with one professor. Make sure you plan around your athletics and/or club activities. You might also want to consider scheduling a rest day to break up the week. It will help cut down on stress and can act as a great time to study or catch up with friends.

The Back to School Process: Shopping & Packing


It goes without saying that getting ready to move back in to school every fall can be met with mixed feelings. Of course it’s fun to shop around for new clothes, supplies, and decorations, but there’s also the more serious end of it: buying books, organizing your new stuff amidst the old, working out how it will all fit into the car, etc.

But trust me when I say- with careful planning, time management and organization, the back to school process does not have to be a daunting one. Take note of the tips below for smoother, more efficient back-to-school-preparation!

Make a list!


As you’re putting away your stuff at the end of the year, make a list of the things you know you’ll need to buy for the upcoming year. This will help you to avoid buying duplicates of things you already have, and you’ll get an idea of how much time you need to set aside to get out and shop.

(For an even more efficient list, separate into two sections: to-buy, and to-do. Can’t forget those end-of-summer-haircuts, last minute dentist appointments, etc.)

Sometimes, schools send out general packing lists to incoming freshmen to help them get a sense of what they’re going to need for living in a dorm. However, most of the time, these lists can be far too broad, confusing, and overwhelming, leaving you searching for something a little more direct.

Thankfully, OCM has recently come out with just the checklist! It’s divided into categories based on all the things you’ll be doing in your room (sleeping, hanging out, decorating, etc.)! I’m definitely wishing I had this checklist at my disposal when I was moving in for the first time.

Start early!

We all know that the end of the summer tends to creep up on us, and once it does, those last few weeks are gone in an instant. Don’t wait until the very end to conquer that list!

Instead, chip away a little bit at a time, starting around 3 weeks out from your move-in date. Whether you’re picking up last minute items or designating a special trip to the store, make sure it gets done sooner rather than later. You’ll be glad you got ahead of it when you’re really down to the wire!

Get organized!

Once you’re about a week out, it’s time to start dragging everything out of the attic! (Sorry family, I’ll be taking over the living room for just a few days.)


Label each storage bin according to what’s inside: “desk stuff”, “bedding”, etc. This will make it way easier when unpacking in your dorm room.

Don’t forget to get your backpack ready too! Throw in those notebooks, textbooks, and planners and you’re ready to go.



Happy packing, and good luck moving in!

How do you get ready to shop for school? What are some of your tried and true packing strategies?