the school year’s winding down here, and I know a lot of you are about to start your first year of college. sometimes, this involves moving into a dorm, and there are so many dorm packing lists out there that tell you about so many “”necessities.”” this really easily gets overwhelming, so here’s the list of things that I have in my dorm right now that I really appreciate having!
two sets of sheets - make sure they’re the right size for the bed (often dorm beds are twin xl). i got two sets which included a pillow case, fitted sheet, and regular sheet. sometimes, the ‘college’ sets have pockets on the sides of the fitted sheets which can be super useful, esp if you decide to loft your bed!
pillows - when I was buying dorm stuff, i had the designer dorm room in mind (which is the goal for a lot of people when shopping, but it’s not super easy to attain. just stick to what works for u!). this, for me, involved pillows. i have 2 normal pillows (either i sleep on both or i alternate them out so no one of them gets too flat), and a smaller, soft decor pillow (i use this mostly to block up the space between the bed and the wall so my other pillows don’t fall off when i use them as a backrest haha), and a fourth, white fluffy square pillow (this one just looked cute, but i ended up using it as a desk chair cushion bc my chair didn’t come with one, it’s been a lifesaver!!)
comforter (tbh it’s always so hot in my dorm room that i hardly use this, and mostly just stick to the sheets haha, but it’s definitely important in winter)
extra blankets - just a couple lighter ones i use when i just wanna curl up or when i don’t need something as heavy as a comforter
foam mattress pad - !!!!! cannot stress this one enough. it makes my bed so comfortable. my dorm bed is now nicer than my home bed. i 100% recommend getting one of these (and make sure its the thick sheet of foam, not those weird cloth ones that make you feel weird when you touch it haha)
desk chair cushion (mentioned above) - wait until you see your room for this one, your desk chair might already have a cushion. if it doesn’t, get something to use as one. your butt will thank you, and it’ll make it so much easier to study. (also some people i know wanted to get their own desk chair - the rolly cushy kind - so if that’s what you want, go for it!)
desk lamp! - if you’re like me, you’ll stay up hours later than your roommate, and you need to be able to see. the kind i got was actually given away free from my uni, but it has usb ports and 3 different levels of intensity for the light itself, so it’s really nice!
cups/pen holders - stay organized. i brought a mug for this and ended up getting a few free cups at giveaways, and vases from flowers and things like that that I use to hold the pens on my desk.
misc desk organizers - to keep your study space put together and to keep all your stuff in a decent place (it’s so easy to lose things, even in such a small space)
hangers - i just got a couple packages (about 24 total i think?) which ended up being the perfect amount for me
sweater organizer shelves thing - these are everywhere at stores for dorm shopping. it’s basically a stack of box shelves. they also have drawers you can get for them, but i don’t have any of those. i just stuff my sweaters/cardigans/sweatshirts/extra sheets in there, it’s nice and saves a lot of closet space!
towels - i got 4 towels, just so i don’t have to do laundry as often. it ended up being a good amount for me. also a lot of people i know have washcloths, which wasn’t something i thought about but is a good idea if you use them!
shower caddy - a necessity! i use one of the bag ones, instead of the plastic ones, and i’ve heard a lot of people with the hard plastic ones wishing they had the mesh bag type (but obvs u do u)
dry shampoo - super useful for when you didn’t get a chance to shower and want to at least try to look a bit more cleaned up
laundry detergent - pretty straightforward. also hamper/laundry bag/dryer sheets/whatever else you need to get ur clothes clean (also stock up on quarters if you have to pay per load)
hobby supplies - i do a lot of crocheting/brush lettering/reading, whatever your hobbies are, you’ll wanna do them, so keep stuff in your room for it
wall calendar/white board calendar - useful for planning and remembering important dates (also i use this to keep up w what my roomie has going on bc we don’t talk about that sorta thing a whole lot but it’s nice to know when she’ll be back/out of the room/whatever)
whiteboard - i have a bigger wall mounted one, but i use it for assignment/meeting reminders and also as a study tool for before exams. plus it’s fun to doodle on when i really don’t feel like doing anything haha
string lights - sure, they’re a classic dorm cute thing, but they’re also useful when you want just enough light to see, but not enough to keep your roommate up or be distracting. i use mine all the time, plus it makes the room feel more warm and homey!
i also have a 10 foot long phone charger which is my heart and soul i love it sm it’s so useful bc i plug it in under my bed in the corner and not only reaches up to my bed, but also over to my desk. 10/10 would recommend.
How do you redecorate without breaking your fragile bank account??
I love this question! Everything on this list is under $30, and most of it can be purchased from the safety of your dorm room couch.
Decorating on a Budget
1. Plants: Plants are my personal favorite decor (apart from Xmas lights). They’re inexpensive and look great in any location. If watering a plant every day doesn’t work for your schedule, get a cactus! I water my cacti twice a week.
2. Xmas Lights: I try to distance myself from people who say that Xmas lights are just “seasonal”. I have three different strands of lights up all year long, one in each room and one on my outdoor balcony. These lights are perfect for parties, romantic evenings, etc.
3. Candles/Incense: Dorm room or apartment landlord permitting, candles and incense really help an apartment feel more homey. They also help stave off the smell of your cat’s litter box, which is always a plus.
4. Posters: Posters aren’t as expensive as you think they are, but poster frames are ridiculously expensive. And you can’t buy the cheap ones, they fall apart instantly- you have to buy the $40 ones. My advice to you, buy posters and hang them up carefully with pushpins or tape.
5. Clocks: Buy a cool clock off Society6 or RedBubble for $25. It’s my belief that the right clock can help brighten up an otherwise dull-looking room. I bought my boyfriend this Bob’s Burgers clock for his birthday last year.
6. Shower: You don’t need to use the low-grade weak shower head that came with your bathroom. You can buy color changing shower heads and spa quality shower heads on Amazon for $25. Go forth! Always keep your old shower head somewhere safe, and put it back on when you’re ready to move out. There are lots of great and truly unique shower curtains out there on the internet, but they’re expensive. You’re better off buying one from Target or Walmart.
7. Night lights: I am the sort of person who always needs to pee at 3am. I have always used night lights in my bathroom and kitchen because they’re so much better than blundering around in the dark. Similar to the Xmas lights, they help create that “mood”. I have these cute little lava lamp night lights.
9. Chalkboard paint: Dorm room or apartment landlord permitting, chalkboard paint can help turn your room into a perpetual canvas. A friend of mine from college did this to his incredibly small room, and it looked so good.
10. Beaded curtain: Beaded curtains help make small spaces appear larger. We have a beaded curtain hanging in our hallway currently, and it’s great. You don’t need a super expensive one that was handmade by the indigenous people of wherever. Just a simple one to put in a doorway or hang on the wall to change your space.
This year I'm moving into a school owned apartment on my school's campus, but the kitchenette only has a microwave. I'm kind of having a hard time looking for ways that I can cook myself more meals than just the frozen stuff at the grocery store and I wondered if you had some advice ?
Check out your college’s student handbook, and see if they allow any of the following cooking appliances. These can get expensive, but are well worth the money and will give you more dining options: