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Don’t forget these dorm essentials!

Jamie Ballard

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Beyond the basics

As incoming freshman are beginning to pack up their belongings (or if you’re like me, thinking about maybe packing up your belongings…next week), it’s suddenly dawning you that you aren’t exactly sure what you’ll need. Of course, you know the basics – bedding, storage, shower stuff – but there are many other things you might be forgetting. Here are the top items you won’t want to forget.

1) Vacuum, broom and dustpan
When your dorm room is your bedroom, kitchen, and living room, things are apt to get rather messy from time to time. You’ll spill things, drop things, track in dirt, and generally make a mess. Staying organized with drawers and storage boxes isn’t always enough, you’ll have to clean the floor too.

This is first on my list because of personal experience. I recently moved out of the dorms, and after all the furniture was moved, the amount of crumbs, dirt and dust on the floor was appalling, even to a slob like me. If I had taken $10 to buy a broom and dustpan, and 10 minutes a week, my room would have been much better. Don’t make my mistake. Clean your floors.

2) Air freshener
Much like the above items, air freshener is one of those things you’ll need to keep your room pleasant. Take two people’s dirty laundry and microwaved food smells, combined with whatever other smells might be floating around the floor, and your room could smell a bit…funky. Get an air freshener you like, but be sure to use it sparsely. (You don’t want your room to smell gross, but you also don’t want anyone choking on the air in your over-scented room)

3) An first aid kit
You don’t think about needing a band-aid until it’s 2 in the morning and your new heels have rubbed your feet so raw that you can barely have a blanket covering them. You don’t think about needing aspirin until your head is pounding so badly you can’t see straight. You don’t think about needing burn cream until you burn your wrist making cookies in the dorm kitchen. Need I go on? Buy a first aid kit.

4) Surge protector
Between your phone, laptop, hair straightener, game console, television, and whatever else needs to be plugged in, you won’t always have enough outlets. Get a surge protector (but be sure to turn it off when you’re not in the room – there’s my eco plug for the day!)

5) Portable speakers
There will be times when you and all your friends are getting ready to head out, and your laptop speakers just won’t cut it. Or maybe your friend hosting a party broke his speakers (happens more often than you think). Sometimes, you just wanna jam out to your own music for a bit. Whatever the case, portable speakers are a good item to have.

6) A Keurig coffeemaker
Depending on your dorm rules, you may not *technically* be allowed to have one of these, but in my experience, it’s usually not a problem. Keep it under your bed or out of sight when you aren’t using it, if you’re concerned about an RA checking your room.

Obviously, this is a must-have if you’re a coffee drinker. But even if you’re not, you can use it to brew tea, make ramen, make instant oatmeal, and more.

Other items:
Wall hooks for towels and decorations
Bed tray/lap desk for laptop, writing, eating in bed, etc.
Party supplies to decorate your friends’ rooms for birthdays
Small whiteboard and dry-erase markers
Paper towels and baby wipes
A small area rug

Bonus: Things you don’t actually need from the “Dorm Essentials” section of Target
A “organizing tray”
Ironing board
A filtered water pitcher – buy bottled water in bulk, or a reusable water bottle
A wastebasket – most dorms provide one

What did you find were the most useful items in your dorm? Things you wish you had brought with you for your first year?

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