Every high-school student dreams of the day when they will begin college life and move away from home. Moving into a dorm and finally having the freedom to decorate how you want, clean (or not!) when you choose, and live life by your rules is one of the most exciting things about going to college. When move-in day finally arrives, you don’t want to be struggling with packing, or worse, forget any of the simple necessities that you may have taken for granted at home. It’s important to prepare your checklist of dorm room essentials ahead of time so that you can focus on the fun and excitement of move-in day. Here’s what you need to pack before you leave home.
There may or may not be a provision for bed linen, including pillow cases, bed sheets, comforters etc. Thus, it is a great idea to keep at least two sets of bed linen. Of course you can bring more, but having two sets is ideal for easy storage because when you wash one, the other will adorn your bed. Bring your pillow and an extra cushion, for support while studying, reading, or watching a movie in bed or on the floor. You can always keep it aside when you don’t need it, and it adds an extra layer of comfort to your dorm decor.
Clothing and Accessories
We all love to show off our style, whether we’re walking to class or walking into a party! However, unlike the plentiful storage space that we find at home, dorm rooms have very limited storage space. Thus, you should only pack enough to fill this storage space comfortably (and to get you through from one laundry day to the next). If you bring too much clothes, shoes, or accessories, all your storage space will be occupied and can make a small space look and feel even smaller. Plus, you need to save room in your wardrobe for all the new clothes you’ll buy at the bookstore to show your school spirit!
While you will have limited storage space in the dorm room, you can make the most of it by bringing and using a variety of hangers. They will not only tidy up your room, but will allow you to neatly stack more clothes within the same space. Look for thin, velvety hangers for shirts, tops, or dresses. Their narrow width will allow you to fit more in the closet than plastic hangers, and the soft coating keeps clothes from falling off. You may also want to bring some different types of specialty hangers, like those designed to hold multiple pairs of jeans or skirts, or a scarf hanger for belts and accessories.
Baskets (For Storage and Laundry)
While storage space in dorm rooms may be limited, baskets can help you make the most of what you’ve got. Storage baskets can help you organize a variety of items, from clothing to school supplies, and give your room a neat appearance by selecting baskets in coordinating colors or materials.
Similarly, a laundry basket will be a savior when you look for a ‘dumping station’ for your dirty clothes. As a bonus, a decorative laundry basket can help you hide the pile in style when inviting over friends or a date. If you don’t want to carry basket, opt for stackable or foldable cartons that can be easily shoved under the bed or in the closet when not in use.
College life is not only about fun and freedom, but also about responsibility. Thus, you will need an alarm clock when you have those early morning lectures. While mobile phones can serve the purpose of an alarm clock, many of us may forget charging after a late night studying or hanging out, and accidentally skip an important alarm. Alarm clocks also give an old-school charm to your dorm room, and make it easy to check the time at a glance.
Your dorm room will be your home-away-from-home for a good part of the next few years. Therefore, you should definitely spruce up its look by adding wall art or décor that you like. You don’t have to go over the top and fill your room with random clutter, but include a few special items will make you happy to come back to your room at the end of a tiring college day. If you are a painting or art enthusiast, or a photographer, you should take some of your own masterpieces to adorn the walls of your dorm room. Family pictures, greeting cards and other such memorabilia also make great room décor, and help keep warm memories fresh.
Towels, a bathrobe, and flip flops are necessities to keep you comfortable and clean during and after a shower at the dorms. A tote to carry your toiletries makes it easy to keep your bathroom stuff in one place, making everything easier to store and easier to carry to or from the bathroom.
You might have a central kitchen or a personal kitchenette. Whatever the case may be, you should inquire with the school about what supplies and equipment are allowed to be brought. If you are sharing a room with others, it is a great idea to divide these items among yourselves. The cafeteria is going to be a prominent and very exciting part of your college life, but it is recommended that you bring some appliances like a microwave or toaster, to save you on those occasions when you are unable to fetch a meal from outside. An electric kettle will also come in handy for making things like instant coffee, tea, or ramen – the official food of broke college kids everywhere.
You should make a list of all the documents that might be needed in the university, not only during the initial registrations and memberships, but also in the long-run. If you need specific documentation, identity cards, or permissions, it is best to arrange for them well ahead of time. It is best to make copies of important documents and save them properly in digital formats too.
First-aid Kit and Medicines
While it is extremely likely that your dorm will have a first-aid kit and medical room, it is advisable to stock up on these items yourself, too. This way, you won’t have to rely on the availability of a nurse or medical attendant for small needs like band-aids or aspirin. If you take medicines regularly, you should store your prescriptions safely and in a place that can be easily reached. Stock up on your medicines and be sure to refill them before you run out.
You will likely lose a few pens, notebooks, and post-its. Therefore, keeping some stock of these items is a great idea. Make a list of these items and keep them handy. Bring glass markers and permanent marker to put a label on all your personal belongings that will be kept in common facilities.
Hanging a white board with erasable markers can help you plan your tasks in advance and be more organized. If you are more of a traditional student, hang a monthly or yearly calendar on the backside of your door or on a wall. If you like to maintain a diary, then you should definitely bring one with you to document your experiences.
While this checklist is by no means complete or exhaustive, it should help you get started with packing for dorm life. Once you’ve moved in and can compare your items with what your friends and roommates have, you will figure out what’s left to get. By having the necessities in your bags on move-in day, you’ll ease the transition from home life to dorm life, and set up a comfortable space to call your own.
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