The one thing that most college dormitories have in common is the fact that the rooms are relatively small, at least in comparison to the bedroom to which college students are accustomed to having at home with their parents. The small size of the dorm room and the limited or non-existent storage space means that it is especially important that each student take the time to consider what things they absolutely must have and weigh that against those optional things without which it will be necessary to live.
Here is a look at some of the most important necessities a student will need to have.
Colleges and universities don’t furnish bed linens, so you will need to bring you own. Plan on purchasing at least two sets of sheets. This way you can put one on the bed while the other is waiting to be laundered. A bed in a bag is a great and inexpensive way to purchase sheets and a comforter altogether. They often come with pillow shams as well. The drawback is that you will only have one set of sheets to match the comforter.
As an alternative, you can buy bedding separately. Cotton jersey t-shirt type sheets are sold as sets and are quite inexpensive. They also typically come in a bag that can be used to store the sheets that aren’t being used. If you live in a place where the winters get cold, cotton jersey sheets are a great alternative to flannel. They can be used all year around, too.
You will undoubtedly need a blanket. A heavy duty washable cotton or thermal blanket is perfect. They are also reasonably priced.
Colleges won’t provide pillows, so you will need to bring your own. You can consider bringing some extra throw pillows or even floor pillows that can be used to provide additional seating when friends come to visit. A back rest pillow will provide the perfect support for anyone who wishes to study on their bed.
*Various types of storage containers –
Because of the limited available space in dorm rooms, storage containers are extremely useful. Some things like fabric covered cubes are useful because they can double as an end table or as a place to put your alarm clock next to your bed. Under bed storage containers are also an excellent idea because they provide you with a lot of additional storage without consuming any floor space.
*Hangers for clothing –
It may seen silly to think that hangers are something college students need to bring to their dorms, but these aren’t furnished. You can buy plastic hangers by the bunch, and they are very inexpensive. If the available closet space is limited, it might be wise to invest in hanging things that can allow you to hang more items of clothing in a smaller amount of space.
*A computer –
Although college campuses have computers that students can use at various places on campus, there is never any guarantee that the computers will be free when one needs to use them. Having your own will make it possible to use the computer without having to be tied to anyone else’s schedule. It’s also a necessity for working on research papers. A laptop is a good space saving choice. Make sure you have a lock for it.
Don’t bother to purchase a really expensive computer. The high end stuff you have in your dorm room, the more likely it is that someone will attempt to steal your stuff. Purchase a lock for your laptop, and get in the habit of not leaving your dorm room unlocked. Purchase a hook to put your keys on and a key chain so you remember to take them anytime you leave your room.
*An alarm clock or clock –
If you have to get up for an early class, the alarm clock will become your new best friend. A clock radio or plain old alarm clock is a real good thing to have. Make sure it has a battery back up in case there is a power failure.
*A robe and slippers –
A robe and slippers is a real necessity. You will use it whenever you go back and forth from the community bathrooms to your room, and it will come in handy when you need to grab something to throw on for those middle of the night fire alarm drills that dorms are frequently required to have.
*A laundry bag, basket or hamper –
When you live in the dorms, you will have to cart your laundry from your room to the laundry area. Having a laundry bag, basket or hamper can make the transport easier. It can also provide you with a place into which you can toss dirty clothes so your room isn’t constantly covered with dirty laundry.
*A shower caddy bucket or basket –
Most dorms don’t have bathrooms for each individual room. There may be a sink that you and your room mate will share for brushing your teeth, washing your face, washing up coffee cups, pots and so forth, but you will have to traipse to wherever to take your shower or go to the bathroom. You will need something to carry your shower and bath necessities to and from the shower area.
*Towels and other bath linens –
You will need to furnish your own towels, wash cloths, hand towels and so forth. You may want to purchase a bath rug that you can carry with you back and forth from the shower just in case there is nothing outside the dorm shower.
*A vacuum cleaner, carpet sweeper or dust mop –
Find out whether the dorm has a vacuum cleaner that students are allowed to borrow to clean their rooms, especially if the room is carpeted. If they don’t, you may need to furnish something yourself. An inexpensive Swiffer can work quite well as a dust mop.
*Milk crates –
Milk crates are cheap and useful ways to store things. You can use them as a place to store your books, notebooks, school supplies, or even use them to create additional storage place in your closet. They can be stacked on top of one another, and when you use them in your room, you can cover them with something that has a hard surface and use them as end tables, a coffee table, and you can even use them as a place to store cleaning supplies or snacks.
Don’t forget that the walls on your dorm room will be bare. How you decorate the walls is a matter of choice, but check to see what the regulations are regarding putting nails or other things in the wall. Some dorm rooms have bulletin boards above the desk area. These boards can be useful for hanging calendars, for putting pictures up or for keeping important reminders of things you need to do. You may also want to purchase a dry erase board to put on the door to your room. This will allow your friends and dorm mates to write you notes more easily.
Try to arrange to talk to your room mate before you arrive at school to discuss what each of you is going to bring, and to make a plan to divide the responsibility for bigger items equally. A clean, well organized and comfortably furnished dorm room doesn’t need to have a lot of stuff in it to be homey; it is the small touches that you put on it to make it your own, and that you and your room mate decide on together that will make your room the unique and fun place you’ve always hoped your college dorm room would be.