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Off to College? Here Are the Necessities

Aug 27, 2013 02:39AM ● By Erin Frisch

If you or a loved one will be heading off to college soon or moving back to college into an off-campus apartment for the first time, make your life easier. With the change of scenery and new digs comes the somewhat daunting task of figuring out what you need to bring. Making a list of the essentials can save you a lot of stress once move-in day arrives. Here are lists of necessities for both dorm-style living and off-campus living that you can use to make your shopping trips and move-in days a little less hectic.

Dorm-Room Essentials

Bed/Bedroom: Mattress pad (a must for those crunchy dorm mattresses), sheets, blanket or comforter—all in extra-long twin (XLT); pillows; and an alarm clock (if you don’t use your cell phone). A full-length mirror is nice to have.

Room/Living room: TV, speakers, iPod docking station.

Studying: Desk lamp and extra bulbs; laptop, backpack, USB drive, power strip; printer, ink, and paper (most schools offer printing in their libraries, but if they charge you to print per page, it can become expensive); notebooks, pens, pencils, and a calculator. A dry-erase board and calendar will keep you organized and keep track of assignments and exam dates.

Bathroom: Shower caddy, shower flip flops, and a bathrobe (for those who will have communal bathrooms); your preferred bathroom essentials (dental care, soap, shampoo and conditioner, skin care, etc.); bath towels, hand towels, and washcloths; hair dryer, straightener, or other styling tools you use.

Laundry: hamper/laundry basket, detergent, stain remover, drying rack (for things you can’t put in the dryer); hangers for your closet; iron and ironing board (to save space, choose the small kind that can be used on a tabletop). If laundry machines in your dorm are coin operated, bring a few rolls of quarters for a start.

Kitchen: If you have apartment-style dorms, you’ll need a set of dishes, glasses, mugs, and flatware, plus a few pots and pans, a spatula, ladle, etc. If your dorm room does not have a kitchen, it’s great to have a microwave for quick meals and snacks and a mini fridge to keep yogurt, cheese, and juice or soda cold. A reusable water bottle and a water-filtering pitcher are great. If you like to be well caffeinated, an electric coffee pot and mugs are essential.

Health: Be sure to bring your go-to pain relief for headaches and other minor ills, as well as cough drops, antibiotic cream, and Band-Aids.

General: Include some cleaning supplies (like 409 or another all-purpose cleaner or Clorox wipes) for the occasional spill and cleaning dust off your computer, keyboard, and printer; or for cleaning your microwave and mini fridge. A hand vacuum and basic toolkit will also come in handy. Under-the-bed storage containers will help you stay organized and save on space.

Off-Campus Apartment Essentials (keep in mind that communal rooms can be furnished in cooperation with your roommates, so make sure you collaborate!)

Bedroom: Mattress, box spring (if needed), bed frame, sheets and blankets/comforter to fit your size bed; pillows, bedside table, and an alarm clock (if you don’t use your phone). Wall decorations will make your room feel more like home. You’ll also need a dresser for your clothes (most apartments include closets in each bedroom). A full length mirror is nice to have.

Living/Dining Room: Seating (couch, loveseat, beanbag chair, etc.), throw rugs if you have hardwood floors, coffee table, dining table, speakers, iPod docking station, TV and TV stand, floor and table lamps if there is no overhead lighting.

Studying: See above. You’ll also need a desk and desk chair.

Bathroom: A shower caddy is usually not necessary. You’ll still need the other items listed above, as well as a toilet brush, plunger, and bathroom cleaning supplies (think Scrubbing Bubbles and sponges) to keep your bathroom sparkling.

Laundry: See above.

Kitchen: a set of dishes, glasses, mugs, and flatware; pots, pans, a strainer, and cooking utensils. You’ll also need food storage containers for leftovers and a microwave if there isn’t one in your kitchen. Other items that are great to have include a toaster oven, a water bottle and water-filtering pitcher, a coffee maker, and a blender. You’ll need dish detergent, sponges, dishtowels, and a drying rack. Paper towels and a paper-towel holder are essentials as are kitchen-cleaning supplies.

Health: See above.

General: Cleaning supplies for an apartment should include a vacuum cleaner, a broom and dustpan, and a mop and bucket if you have tile or hardwood floors, plus dusting supplies. A toolkit is essential for hanging art and photos and to fix any loose screws. Don’t forget extra light bulbs and a flashlight! A stepstool can help you get to those hard-to-reach cabinets, and extension cords with power strips help you maximize your outlets. If you don’t have central air-conditioning, you may want to pick up a window unit or fans to use in early fall and late spring.

Now that you have all the essentials covered, relax and have a great year!

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