Every list from Target, Walmart, Bed Bath & Beyond, or any other store that sells dorm supplies will give you their own version of the dorm room essentials, but the best way to know what you really need is by living in a dorm room. Unfortunately, waiting until after you’re all moved in probably isn’t the best idea. So the second best way to know what you need is to ask someone who already knows from experience. While it is easy to assume the obvious necessities, there are always surprises.
Deck the walls
Wall decorations, for instance, might not seem necessary but like I said, you’d be surprised. What’s the big deal with wall decorations? Hanging up pictures of your friends and family or posters of your favorite shows is one of the easiest ways to make your room feel like home. It takes away the white sterile walls and in a matter of minutes transforms an entire space. So when you pack, bring a couple posters and have your favorite pictures printed. The comfort they bring compares to nothing else.
Sheets in multiples
Shopping for dorm room decor always means shopping for bedding, and when you find the perfect bed set it feels like the search is over. Except that you need to be prepared for the day when you plan on washing your sheets and the washers are all full and you can’t wait because you have class, or work, or a club. You are still going to want a clean pair of sheets, but you won’t have them. Unless, of course, you planned ahead and packed two or three sets of sheets. The more sheets the better.
Never enough hangers
One can never have enough clothes hangers. Which is why it is important to pack way more hangers than you have clothes to be hung. Some you will lose, some will break or be borrowed, and others will be used for the clothes that you buy. Because when you have a nice dress shirt or a new dress that needs to be hung before a special event but you are all out of hangers, you’ll probably wish you had too many instead of too few.
Tale of the tape
Tape, of all kinds, will become an odd necessity during your college years. Packing tape, duct tape, painters tape, scotch tape … I think that’s all the tape. Anyway, I can’t count the number of times I’ve needed tape and didn’t have it. You’ll need it for sending packages, hanging things on your wall, making posters and projects, hanging up fliers for your club, fixing things, taping extension cords along the walls, and anything else you can think of. Tape is more than handy, it is an essential.
Bulk shampoo and conditioner will save you trouble in the long run. It is inconvenient to run out of either on any given day, but when you’re tired or busy and you can’t get a ride to the grocery store and it’s too cold outside to walk to CVS it is especially inconvenient. So while you’re out food shopping in Costco or Sam’s Club, ask your mom or dad for one of those insanely large bottles of shampoo to save you a little bit of trouble in the long run. It’s all about the easy fixes.
* Bonus: What not to bring *
Sometimes people don’t consider some of the things they shouldn’t bring to school, and I am here to tell you that you do not need to bring more than a few t-shirts. Loyola loves swag t-shirts and the students love receiving them. So much so that over three short years I have accumulated well over 30 (yes, 30) free t-shirts. So don’t pack them because soon they will take up all your precious space and then what?