It feels like yesterday that I was anxiously collecting things to start my “new life” in college. So, a lot of my readers are probably going to be attending college in the fall! Yay! This is an exciting time for you all and I want to make sure you’re prepped for the semester ahead! I lived in a dorm my freshman year of college and can definitely say that it takes some effort to make it feel homey. Upon moving in for the first time, you’ll most likely see a small, cold, white room just waiting to be decorated – make sure you have all of the right tools! Also, if you know who your roommate is going to be, I STRONGLY SUGGEST getting in contact with them to plan out themes and colors of your room (if you’re OCD like me). There was definitely some things I wish that I had freshman year to make things a little easier, so I won’t leave any essentials out of this post! Enjoy!
Bedding: Along with fitted sheets (most dorm beds are twin extra long), a comforter, blankets, pillows, and pillowcases, there’s two extra things I could not live without. The most important is a mattress pad – let me tell you, the dorm mattresses have been slept on a million times, so they’re NOT the most comfortable. After figuring this out, I purchased a super thick mattress pad and this made a world of difference. Second, I recommend making a DIY headboard. Headboards make a huge difference for me – not only will it make your sleep more comfortable, but it will also make your room look way cuter.
Extra Storage: Naturally, a dorm room is made for one person, but they shove two or three people in it. So, it’s going to be extremely small. You’re also sharing the space so you won’t have much storage for food, clothing, and other extra stuff. I bought two bins from Target with three drawers in each for under my bed. This gave me SO MUCH extra storage. To do this, you may have to buy bed risers to have enough room underneath – so worth it! Aside from bed storage, you may have other places for storage (under the bathroom sink, above your closet, etc) – for this I recommend just buying handy boxes and small drawers. You don’t want to get your stuff mixed up with your roommate, so try to keep everything in a container!
Don’t forget the little things: Your dorm is going to be your new home and you won’t have anyone to look after you. So with this, don’t forget the little things like light bulbs, scissors, a sewing kit, an umbrella, a flashlight/lantern, safety pins, lint roller, batteries, command hooks, a fan, chords, etc, etc.
Kitchen items: You probably won’t have a kitchen in your room (if you do, I’m extremely jealous), but your dorm will probably have a community kitchen for you to use. Also, I created a small corner for a mini kitchen – I put my microwave on top of the fridge, and beside it I had a little end table with my coffee maker and utensils. Don’t forget the can opener, cups, forks, knives, spoons, mugs, plates, bowls, Ziploc bags, plastic to-go containers, and a water filter. For a healthy college grocery list, click here!
Cleaning items: Yes, the dreaded cleaning items. You’ll have to clean up after yourself – a crazy concept right? So, here are the basics – vacuum, broom/dustpan, Lysol wipes (these save my life to this day), air freshener (dorms don’t smell the best), toilet bowl cleaner, laundry detergent, dryer sheets, stain remover, an iron or steamer, and whatever else you feel like you need to clean up!
Shower/beauty products: Don’t forget – this is your new home! Make sure you have your makeup, makeup wipes, hair products/tools, bobby pins, hair ties, lotion, deodorant, perfume/cologne, shampoo, conditioner, shower cap, body wash, shower shoes, a mirror, face wash, feminine products, razors, sunscreen, toothpaste, tweezers, cotton balls, tissues, nail polish, hair brush, toothpaste, q-tips, eye drops, a shower caddy, washcloth, robe, and any medicine that you would normally use. For me – a must have was Zzz-Quil. Most nights that I wanted to go to sleep early, there would be a lot of noise or I would be stressing too much to sleep – taking medicine like and having earplugs will help tremendously!
Clothing: I would recommend bringing clothing for all seasons – but maybe that’s only because I live in Texas and the weather is EXTREMELY unpredictable. Bring lots of Nike shorts, leggings, and t-shirts as this will most likely become your daily wardrobe. But also, bring dress up clothing for when you go out or have a formal presentation. Don’t forget to bring belts, rain boots, running shoes, jackets, a hat, gloves, PJ’s/sweatpants, undergarments, workout gear, swimsuit, socks, a laundry bin, and anything else you need. You probably won’t have a lot of space, so this is where the extra storage concept comes in!
School supplies: Among all of this frivolous decorating, you probably forgot that you’re going to have to do school work. Be prepared for a tough first semester with a stapler, staples, a printer (some libraries have printing available), paper, ink, notebooks, a binder, dividers, flashcards, writing utensils, a lap desk, calendar, a calculator (you’ll probably need a graphing calculator for math), a planner, post-its, tape, a 3-hole punch, headphones, tape, a desk lamp, and a backpack.
Electronics: You’d be surprised how much you use electronics in college. I’d make sure to definitely have a laptop if you can afford one. College is basically just sitting in different places with your laptop. With your laptop, make sure to have your charger, phone charger, extension chords (if your dorm allows them), a TV (not necessary, but handy for politicos like me who like to watch the news), cable chords, DVD player, USB drive, and surge protector.
Finally the fun part: Decorations: The best part of moving into a dorm room is decorating it. Definitely decide what mood you want for your dorm room – cozy, fun, bright, rustic, etc. Some major things that can really fix up a dorm room are an area rug, tapestry for the wall, wall decor (Hobby Lobby and Ross are the best for this), string lights, curtains, and other fun deco that fits your style (I LOVE TARGET DECO). Just make it your own! One thing that made my room feel extra homey was an excessive amount of pictures. If your room comes with a bulletin board (mine did) or you buy one, buy some fabric from a place like Hobby Lobby and pin it over the ugly brown color. This way, you can still pin stuff on it without having the gross cork showing. I also just had picture frames in places like on my desk and my nightstand – looking at pictures of friends and family brings me joy!
Most likely you’ll forget things, but luckily there’s always a Walmart near by to pick up those extra things. It’s imperative to speak with your assigned roommate to make sure that you don’t bring two of everything. It will drive down the cost a lot to split everything! Also, I had a grand old time watching tons of dorm rooms tours on Youtube before I moved in – you’ll get tons of ideas from these! Good luck and have fun!