Tips for Moving into a College Dorm Room
By: Danny Lipford
The days when students arrived at college accompanied by a single suitcase or footlocker are long past. Now there’s a long laundry list of items, ranging from electronics to transportation, needed for college life when moving into a dorm room.
What to Bring When Moving Into a College Dorm Room
Today’s necessities for higher learning include:
- Computer and printer
- Sound system with MP3 player or iPod
- TV with video game system and DVD player
- Microwave and mini-frig
- Pillow and linens
- Towels and toiletry supplies
- Clothes and shoes
- Cell phone and digital camera
- Car, bike, or skateboard
- Hiking and sports equipment
- Musical instruments
- Books and school supplies.
Given all that excess baggage, consider yourself lucky if you can cram it all in the family car without having to tow a trailer behind!
Once you arrive at school, the big question becomes where to put it all and how to organize it. Given that the average dorm room is only around 200 square feet—half of which will probably be occupied by a roommate—every inch of floor space counts. But don’t despair, there are a number of innovative ideas and products that can help keep everything tidy and shipshape. Here’s how to go about it.
Do Your Homework
Before you arrive, check with the school’s housing office or website to see what you’re allowed to bring and what’s considered taboo. Items that may or may not be allowed include microwaves, hot plates, televisions, halogen lamps, candles, and additional furniture.
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The school should also give you with a list of rules concerning alterations you can and can’t make to the room—which usually include no nailing, screwing, painting, or any other permanent changes—as well as the standard issue items that will come with it, such as a bed, desk, and/or dresser.
Check in advance to see if the bed is a standard single (39” x 75”) or extra long (39” x 80”), so you’ll know what size sheets to buy. While some dorms come with loft beds that allow space underneath for a desk or dresser, students are usually not allowed to make that kind of modification themselves.
Once you’ve been assigned a roommate, check with them to see if they would like to share larger items, like a microwave or mini-frig, to reduce expenses and avoid unnecessary duplication.
Get Everything Together
After you’ve compiled a list of everything you think you’ll need, go over it again and pare it down to the essentials you can’t live without. With list in hand, check newspaper flyers and shop around for back to school bargains. Look for items that:
- Fit under your bed or can be stored under it in pull out drawers.
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Once you have everything in hand, pack it in storage containers that can be used in the dorm room, rather than suitcases which will have to be stored or returned home when you arrive. If you’re traveling by air, mail what you can’t carry aboard the plane, or shop for bulky items after you arrive.
When the big day arrives, make the most of your limited dorm space:
- Use tension rods to hang curtains without damaging walls.
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