Plus Advice For What NOT To Bring!
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The top 10 items for a college dorm room or apartment is a giant consideration, one that has probably taken a great deal of time and money already! But there are also some items they should NOT BRING with them.
They have dreamed about their first dorm or apartment. They might have visited a space like their future room back during college orientation. But it is now all a blur as reality sets in and it is time to squeeze everything in the car for the journey, whether it is across town or across the country!
We discovered that it is just as hard, sometimes harder, to pack for an across-town move as it is for a distant move. The problem with local moves is that you do not give as much time and planning to what you need and end up making a lot of extra trips! But maybe they did that on purpose because they knew they would be homesick? Wishful thinking on mom’s part.
Do I have everything? Did I forget anything? No, and probably!
After a combined 18 years of dorm and college apartment living experience in our family, I think maybe a better question is, “Do I NEED everything I have?” After moving three children to different colleges over the years, I can guarantee that you pretty much always have TOO MUCH STUFF!
“Oh Minimalism, where are you?”
It apparently did not stop at my house. Do not waste time and money trying to make previously purchased items fit into a cramped or awkward space! So, there are some items you need to leave at home.
DO NOT BRING THESE THINGS TO COLLEGE
Here is a brief list of things you SHOULD NOT BRING when moving into a college dorm room or apartment:
3. Extra furniture – That dorm is much smaller than you remember, and in reality, is not the same as the picture taken with the wide-angle lens!
2. Extra pillows – Sure, everyone has 75 pillows on their bed at home nowadays. But when you get to a small dorm room or apartment, often with a roommate, every little bit of space counts! Sure, they are super cute the first day when you take pictures to send your mom, but accessorizing with multiple accent pillows on the bed can make the already tiny room feel even smaller.
1. Extra storage bins – You will definitely need some storage bins. But what size? How many? Will they be hidden or will their go on that new shelf that will fit the small corner nook that you will need to purchase? If they do not fit, you have no place to use them or store them. Maybe you can try to sell them to other people on the hallway!
You will quickly discover what the word EXTRA means.
You will try to shove the extra pillows under the bed, but there will be no room since the storage bins with your clothes are already filling up the space. You know the clothes, the EXTRA ones that you purchased or that were gifted to you, those 15 different options of cute outfits for the first day of class? Yeah, there is only one first day, and after that you will wear sweats, or jeans and a t-shirt 90% of the time.
We have learned from experience! And I mean the kind of experience where you learn from your mistakes! Dorm rooms and apartments are really small; do not make them even smaller by bringing everything you own!
Here are some crucial tips to remember:
- Take only those items that are the bare essentials when you are moving in.
- Once both YOU AND YOUR ROOMMATE arrive and unload, and carry all of the EXTRA SURPLUS things back to your dad’s truck, you can begin to make a short list of things you both forgot, or of items that can fill that unusual little extra corner of space that you could put a shelf or a chair.
- THEN you can make a Target or IKEA run or get shopping on AMAZON for the perfect things to fit your new place!!!
But before you take off for new adventures (or before you let your son or daughter back out of the driveway for their new independence, make sure these items are already purchased and loaded. These are ESSENTIALS, no matter the size or configuration of the dorm or apartment.
Purchase the following items ahead of time:
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10. 2-8’ multi-prong Extension cords and surge protector.
Invest in quality and not just a cheap version. They will be needed for several years!
9. Command Strips! A Bunch!
You will need these in all shapes and sizes. Some older dorms have concrete block walls in which you cannot nail anything; others are new and have restrictions against holes in the wall. Command strips are the perfect solution. Go ahead and buy several packs of these and you can make friends on the hallways really fast!
- Assorted pack of Command Strips: https://amzn.to/30yaIV3
8. Laundry Caddie
Not the big laundry basket, because you do not know how much space you will have yet. But you will definitely need a caddie for your detergent, dryer sheets, etc. This can be similar to the one you already have for a shower caddie. They are handy keeping several different things organized!
7. Small clip-on fan
This Vornado is the perfect solution to making your room more comfortable. Whether it stays too warm and you need to cool it down, or the heater makes your room really stuffy, a little moving air will make you happy! And, it might help you sleep better the night before a big exam. The options for mounting or clipping this fan on to a variety of surfaces will be good to have.
- Vornado Clip-on Fan: https://amzn.to/31ozt5f
6. Mattress Topper/Pad
It will not feel like home! But you can do your best to make it that way! A mattress topper or pad, hypoallergenic, is essential for your comfort! Here is a great option at a great price!
- Mattress Pad: https://amzn.to/3gAK6bk
5. Small hanging shoe rack
We know you already have, or your kids already have, set aside a dozen or more pairs of shoes to take to college. Shoes thrown around and unorganized can disrupt an otherwise perfectly organized and decorated dorm or apartment. Since you do not know how much space you will have in a closet or otherwise for storage, this is a good option that can be placed in numerous places.
- Shoe Rack: https://amzn.to/3a0G0XG
4. Alarm Clock
Everyone wants to use their smart phone, but a back-up alarm is always good to have! This can be very simple, but it is essential. Some people like a combination alarm/charger port, but I have found that the simpler electronic items tend to last much longer. Make sure it has a snooze feature. After all, this IS college!
- Alarm Clock: https://amzn.to/3gxXQnu
3. Extra Set of Sheets!
Your sons might only change the sheets once or twice A YEAR. But your daughters are hopefully a little more conscious of needs like this! An extra set of sheets is a great idea to have. They do not have to be the nicest high quality like your pair that you already have, but a back-up will definitely be useful at some point when the dryers in the laundry room are out of order! Moms, make sure these get washed before they leave for school! The linked set below is very affordable and comes in a variety of colors and patterns.
- Twin bed sheets: https://amzn.to/3iib08G
2. Target Gift Card
Most mid to larger college towns will have a Target nearby. Target is a college student’s dream store! Complete with everything from household decor to clothing to food, Target will be a good place to find those last-minute necessities. A Target Gift Card is NEVER WASTED, and ALWAYS APPRECIATED!
1. Amazon E-Gift Card!
Why would it be anything else? It’s the way to a college student’s heart! There is a reason it is the largest marketplace and business in the world because there is no more reliable, fast, and extensive selection in all of the world than Amazon. And every college student knows how to use it and find what they want really fast!
AMAZON delivers to the dorm or apartment!
As hard as you try to think of what a college student might need, once they arrive at their new room, and meet their new roommate, it will take them about 5 minutes to realize they forgot something! OR they will see what the roommate brought and want one for themselves.
Amazon gift e-card – Do not leave home without it! This card can be customized with a theme of your choosing, and you can add the amount you want on the card.
Amazon Gift E-card:
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Now that you’ve gotten your college student settled, what do you do with an empty nest? Here’s a great article on How To Survive Empty Nest Syndrome. I promise that in time…you will be ok!