- Education and Science
Top Dorm Room Essentials
Dorm Room Packing List
When your child starts their freshman year in college most likely they will live in a dorm room. The first thing to learn about living in a dorm is the lack of space and storage. Most kids will of had their own room growing up and sharing a room is a new experience. There are some dorm room essentials to add to a packing list for college.
No longer can they decide to "store" their clothes on the floor, or just shut the door to the mess by closing the door. Their roommate lives there too and won't appreciate tripping over shoes.
I have brought a son and daughter to college and helped them shop for dorm room essentials. I myself lived in a dorm room for two years before I moved to an apartment. There are essentials that you must have to make living in a "shoebox" more livable and increase your storage efficiency.
Cooking in a Dorm Room - Healthy cooking in a dorm?
College is not just bout studying, it's about socializing and eating food. At first it's all about pizza delivery and eating out. Then the budget gets tight and eating cheap becomes the college mantra.
It's not always possible to get to the cafeteria for all meals and many college students eat one or two meals in their dorm room. So what is essential to eat healthy in college?
Cooking in the dorm room is restricted to appliances that can NOT catch fire, so no open coils, and George Foreman grills are not allowed in most schools. But you can have a microwave, rice cookers and normally there is a kitchenette somewhere in the dorm for more involved meals.
A microwave doesn't have to be black and boring. Jazz up your dorm room with a vintage looking red microwave. Just about EVERYTHING can be fixed in a microwave.
In addition to a microwave a rice cooker is allowed in dorm rooms. Keep whoel grain rice on hand (doesn't need refrigeration) butter, and seasonings and you have a really good meal or late night snack.
Rice cookers can also cook pasta, bread, cake, vegetables and so much more.
Maximize Closet Space - Tackle The Closet First
Even though each dorm room has two closets, there is no way they will be big enough for two seasons worth of clothes, shoot, her closet won't even be big enough for her coats and sweatshirts. The traditional plastic tube hangers really take up too much room, and wire hangers are out of the question.
Why? Because Mom says so, wire hangers indent the shoulders of your clothes, bend, and become a tangle in the closet. Stay away from wire hangers.
Velvet thin hangers remarkably take up about half the space. Maybe I should get them for my own closet to save space.
Maximize your Dorm Space - Tips From the Experts
Obviously the first step is only take what you will need. But, girls don't think that way. "I'm going to need everything Mom!" If you can get a floor layout of the room ahead of time and learn the limitations on mini fridges and microwaves. Some dorms don't allow microwaves in the rooms, and there are size limits on the fridge. Share a fridge with your room mate to save room.
Think under the bed storage, totes that stack, and pack your clothes in containers that will serve a double purpose in your room.
Maximize Vertical Storage Space - When the Closet is Not Enough
When I lived in a small house I found tall skinny dressers were invaluable. They took up a little over a square foot of floor space but had the same storage as a standard dresser. My daughter has one in her room now that will be put in the back of the pick-up and taken to school, but they are pretty easy to find at most department stores.
Often called Lingerie Dresser, it's ideal for other clothes besides underwear such as swimsuits, T-shirts, socks, workout shorts, and pajamas.
This Lingerie chest comes in either white or black. Both can be customized to fit the personality of the college student and decorated with school colors, photos, and memories of home. I expect my daughters to be a virtual bulletin board.
Think TALL laundry basket instead of the traditional horizontal basket which would take up more valuable floor space.
Shoe Storage Ideas - My Daughter is a Shoe Horse
I'd like to think my daughter will keep her shoes up off the floor, and an over the door shoe storage unit would be ideal. Most will hold 20 shoes, which should be enough for any normal person. In the empty spaces, if there are any, the pockets can hold brushes, curling irons, and other miscellaneous items.
Shoe storage space can be found under the bed, in trunks (doubling as a sitting space) or over the door.
To increase storage space in a dorm room use the backs of doors and wall space. It's amazing how many uses there are to an over-the door shoe organizer. Clear pockets are a plus.
This under the bed shoe storage unit will hold 16 shoes and is more durable than other soft sided option.
Decorating your Walls - Hang art on your wall without damaging the paint
Colleges and Universities have strict rules on how you can hang items on your wall. Pictures and decorations must be hung in a way that will not damage or remove the paint or finish. If it damages the wall then you are responsible for the cost to repaint and many times forfeit your housing deposit.
Every dorm room and residence hall is a reflection of the students inside, in my daughters case it will be a sign of a creative mind, an eclectic personality, and someone who loves her friends.
The trick is attaching the wall decorations without damaging the walls. Most colleges and universities don't allow tacks, nails, or anything that will damage the paint. Luckily the
Command hooks are FANTASTIC and really the way to go when hanging framed art, canvases, or heavier decorative items.
They are priceless. Pick up at least a half a dozen packets for the dorm room, bathroom and doors.
These hooks have an easy to remove pull tab that won't damage the paint when you want to remove them at the end of the year.
My favorite in college was the removable and reusable poster putty. My Mom sent me Garfield comics every week that I posted over my bed.
My daughter has posters, framed pictures, photos and collages of her friends and favorite wall decorations
The new vinyl wall art makes decorating your dorm room easy. There are hundreds of designs and it's all dorm room friendly, which means it won't damage the paint when you remove it at the end of the school year.
Under the Bed Storage - Lots of Space, Under your Bed
It's amazing what you can store under your bed, it's also amazing what can get lost under the bed. If you're lucky you can raise your bed quite a ways and fit small pull out drawers in an accessible fashion. Most college students will have less than a foot of space under the bed.
Never fear, there is something for everyone. Even my storage challenged daughter with a dorm room measuring 12 ft x 14 ft, oops that's right, half of that is for her roommate. So everything needs to fit in a 6x7 space, and most of it will be under her bed.
These pockets slip in between the mattress and are ideal for phones, iPods, flash light, lotion, head phones and anything a student would want to keep handy by the bed.
Attach this storage bag to the end of the bed to hold bathroom items, water bottles and things you want easily accessible. Great for bunk beds were your storage can be eye level.
Have you Moved a College Student into the Dorms - What was your experience
Be honest, did your college freshman over estimate the room in their residence hall or dorm room? Did they have enough space?
Did you bring anything back home?
Outfit your Dorm Room on a Budget
If you have time search on eBay for dorm room essentials and storage solutions. Trunks, mini-futons, sling chairs and shelving can all be purchased for a fraction of the cost. As most college students are on a budget spend wisely, take your time and get into your room first. See how you use the room before investing in new, or used furniture.
You may find out a desk unit would be a waste of time if your roommate is too loud, or the neighbor is playing music at all hours. The library may be where most of your studying is done. In that case a sling chair or storage ottoman might be a better choice. Or maybe that big screen TV is just the ticket.
Was moving your college freshman stressful? How many cars did it take to move them into their room? Did you bring anything back? What did you forget? Inquiring minds want to know.