Excitement and stress are kicking in for both you and your child while dorm shopping! After living in dorm rooms for many years, I have compiled the top ten must-haves of dorm life. The essentials go without saying (sheets, pillows, etc.). This post contains all the things you may not have considered when writing up your shopping checklist. Bonus: did I mention everything on this list is under $30?! Keep your student happy and your wallet happier.
- Bed Risers.
These bad boys are a must get. However, you should only buy if you have seen the dorm room first or know for a fact they are not included. Some dorms will actually lift your bed on request, make sure you know if that is an option before you buy. Lifting your bed will leave so much room for storage such as clothes, books, and luggage. These risers are almost seven inches and will be perfect to squeeze the essentials under and keep everything organized.
- String Lights.
Dorms generally have poor or harsh lighting in their rooms. String lights are great for nighttime when students are trying to wind down or even for a hip look when friends are over. Especially great to hang over the bed for some lighting when their roommate is trying to sleep.
- Coffee Maker.
For those caffeine addicts this is a must have! Skip the long morning coffee lines and make it in the dorm. Also great for those long nights of studying. Lifehack: use the coffee maker for hot water to make oatmeal or even ramen. Check the university’s policy on appliances in dorm rooms first before you buy.
- Reusable water bottle.
Terrific for your student to bring to classes and have in their dorm room. Also great for the environment by cutting down plastic bottle use. My personal recommendation goes to the Hydro Flask. The water stays cold for 24 hours and will even keep ice overnight. Coffee and tea lovers can keep their beverages hot for over 6 hours in one of these bottles. They lean toward the pricier side of things, but come with a lifetime warranty!
- Sleep Mask.
Perfect for your student when they need a little extra shut eye. Will keep out light if their roommate is up late studying or fantastic for naps in between classes! Perfect for the weekends when your student will most likely be sleeping long after the sun comes up.
- Command hooks.
Another way to utilize all the space of the room and free up room in the closet. Command hooks are an easy way to hang coats, purses, or even backpacks. It will keep clutter off the floor and free up space that would normally be occupied. These have a sticker back so it will not damage the wall. Most dorms request no holes in the wall so this is an easy way around that. A pack of five should keep anyone happy for the next year.
- Bedside pocket.
These are especially useful for those rooms that do not have nightstands or if your student is in bunkbeds. It gives room to hold a phone (aka alarm clock) so they will never be late for class! Plus, plenty of room for remotes, chargers, and even books to ensure they do not get lost in a potential disarray of the room.
- Bath robe.
When sharing showers your student will need coverage to get them to and from the stalls. They are also exceptional for lounging in during nighttime dorm study sessions. A long and soft robe will help keep them warm during the winter months. This robe is extremely fluffy and comes in pink, blue, or grey.
Another shared bathroom must have, specifically if your student is in a communal shower situation (freshmen most likely are). These types of showers are home to all sorts of nasty critters and many people get athletes foot because of it. Avoid dealing with itchy feet and get your student some shower shoes. These comfy shoes are sleek, stylish, and most importantly slip resistant! There would be nothing more embarrassing than wearing the wrong shower shoes and having a rather unfortunate fall.
- Shower caddy.
The last third and final bathroom related shopping expense. With communal showers there is nowhere to leave your belongings. Your student will need an easy and convenient way to travel from their dorm room to the shower hall in style. This shower caddy will most certainly hold shampoo, conditioner, and (hopefully) soap. Plastic or mesh caddies will dry easily and not get moldy or smelly.