By: Madyson Fitzgerald
The summer before moving into college includes fun visits to the beach, days lounging by bonfires and, to top it off, lots of shopping.
Outside of registering for classes, looking at clubs and collecting spirit gear, coming to college prepared is a huge task that compares to no other. Although figuring out where to start can be a hassle, there are numerous resources both online and through schools that can help. In fact, many former and current college students share lists that helped them prepare for their first year away from home. Here’s a quick guide to shopping and packing for college!
With Every Dorm Comes Different Responsibilities
Lots of factors can influence what exactly you may need for your dorm. One of the biggest is how far your college is from your home. If you live only thirty minutes away from campus, you may not have to pack as much supplies as someone who’s out-of-state and won’t get the chance to go home as often.
Another important thing to note are items that are not allowed in dorms. For instance, hot plates, candles and other fire hazards are generally not accepted. Also, different schools offer guidelines for certain appliances, as with refrigerators, microwaves, or TVs. Considering the type of bathroom you have is important as well; you may need a shower caddy to take to the hall bathroom with you, but that isn’t a problem for people living in a suite-style dorm.
Saving Money and Finding Deals
There are many opportunities to save money while you shop for your dorm. For instance, planning with your roommate is almost always beneficial; you can “go half” on some of the items you may both need. Sharing appliances also saves money; instead of being in a room with two refrigerators and microwaves, one roommate can get one appliance and one can get the other.
One of the biggest priorities of college students is saving money. Stores like Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, Dormify and more offer yearly deals on dorm supplies. Not only can you find decor, but they also have discounts on classroom supplies, such as pencils, paper, highlighters and other items.
Amazon will also become your best friend; they offer “Student Prime”, a program for college students looking for deals. They also offer Prime Delivery, early access to discounts and other benefits. Similar discounts can be found on apps like Spotify, Netflix and much more. Being a college student on a tight budget seems tough, but with the help of student discounts, everyday items can become much cheaper!
The Basic List: What Every College Student Needs
Below are items that you can find on almost any student’s college shopping list:
- Extra Large Twin Sheets
- Mattress Pad (Memory foam is always a treat)
- Extra Blankets
Bath and Toiletries
- Towels (Including washcloths)
- Shower Shoes
- Shower Caddy
- Toothbrush and Paste
- Facial Wash and Moisturizer
- Shampoo and Conditioner
- Hair Products and Accessories (Including a blowdryer/straightener)
- Over-the-Door Mirror
- Laundry Bin
- Trashcan and Bags
- Extension Cord
- Hand Sanitizer
- Cleaning Supplies (Including window cleaner, Swiffer, etc.)
- Mini Lamp
- Mini Fan
- Pencil Holder
- Pencil Sharpener
- Alarm Clock
- Charging Station
- Command Hooks (For hanging objects)
- Medicine (Pain, allergy, etc.)
- First-Aid Kit
- Feminine Products (If necessary)
- Cotton Balls
- Pepper-spray/Mace (If necessary)
- Water Bottle
- Laundry Detergent/Softener
- Stain Remover
- Pencils and Pens
- Folders and Binders
Of course, many of these items are optional, but across multiple lists, these are the most common. Additionally, miscellaneous things, like a portable charger or makeup, can be packed up as well.
Overpacking: How to Avoid It
Plenty of freshmen come home after their first year of college with the same complaint: “I brought way too much stuff.”
Overpacking is the result of overthinking. A good way to avoid this is to identify what you actually use in your everyday life. For instance, if you only use an electric kettle to make tea every once in a while, you probably won’t miss it too much in college. On the other hand, if there’s a pair of shoes that you wear multiple times throughout the week, it would be smart to take them.
Clothing can also be a substantial concern. Considering the fact that the semester starts in August and ends in December, most students take down bundles of clothes (and shoes) in sections. For August, take most of your hot-weather clothes to school. Then, when it starts getting colder, trade out some of those clothes during Fall or Thanksgiving Break. This saves space instead of bringing everything on the front-end of the year.
Shopping and packing proves to be one of the biggest chores for college students, and it can be quite a hassle. However, with careful planning, anyone can move onto campus prepared for the new school year!