Dorm living is going to be a lot different from anything you’re used to, so you’ll want to make sure you’re well prepared for the change. So what do you need to bring with you? Along with the basics (clothes, toiletries, bedding, whatever prized possessions you can’t live without), check out our been-there, done-that, dorm packing list.
A small computer desk and chair. Find out the room’s dimensions before making a purchase, but either way, stay away from the big and bulky.
A laptop computer. A laptop will be invaluable for taking notes in class and studying in the library and coffee shops, as well as in your room. If you want a bigger screen for dorm use, get a monitor to hook up to your laptop. You should be eligible for an educational discount when purchasing your computer, so wait to see what your college advises.
Cell phone/smart phone. No need to get a land line at school—you and your roommate can easily keep your calls separate by using your own cell phones. Get a smart phone and you can also use it to stay on top of email and course assignments.
A sturdy backpack and school supplies. College textbooks tend to be heavy—make sure you have a bag that can withstand a lot of weight. Fill it with school supplies like pens, pencils, notebooks, and Post-Its.
Compact storage space. Dorm rooms are small. We can’t stress that enough. After you find out about your dorm layout, pick up some space-saving storage units, such as see-through bins that easily slide under your bed.
A mini-fridge and/or microwave. Before buying either of these small appliances, you’ll want to first make sure that they’re allowed at your school, and that your soon-to-be roommate isn’t already planning to bring them. You can generally rent a mini-fridge from your school, but you’ll save money by purchasing one and re-selling it when you’re done with it. Though you’ll have access to a cafeteria at school, it’s always nice to stock up on a few snacks and cold drinks.
A few dishes, mugs, utensils, and dishwashing supplies. You probably won’t have a kitchen, so don’t go overboard—but it never hurts to have a few basics around.
Posters and cool décor for your side of the room. At most schools, you can find a variety of posters for sale at the bookstore—but if you want something more original to show off your taste and sense of style, have a look on Etsy.com or eBay for handmade or vintage decorations to warm up your dorm room.
A digital media library. If you still have most or all of your music on CD, now’s the time to digitize. Rather than bringing your entire CD library, convert your tunes to MP3 and get an MP3 player, as well as speakers that will let you play your music from your computer in high quality. Likewise, if you want to bring along some TV shows and movies, digitize them so that you can watch them from your laptop or monitor with speakers. Because these files can use a lot of your computer’s memory, store them on a separate hard drive instead, and make sure you have a backup.
A K-cup machine. Do you crave coffee every morning? Instead of getting a machine that makes a full pot and needs to be cleaned out every time, pick up a Keurig cup machine and a selection of your favorite coffees in K-cup form. The device lets you make a single cup at a time, and requires no clean-up—just remove the used K-cup and you’re done.