plus they save lives

Things I learned you’ll actually need for your dorm after one year of college that you probably won’t see on pinterest

So, I recently finished my first year at college (which was definitely an adventure, and probably one of the best years of my life so far) and I’ve made a few mistakes, but none that couldn’t be fixed. For example, I really didn’t do adequate research as to what I’ll actually need for my dorm room because I was too busy fantasizing how I was gonna diy decorate my dorm room into a pinterest masterpiece. Anyway, I quickly learned my lesson.

Basically, your dorm room isn’t just for display. You live there. It’s gonna get messy, it’s gonna have to store a lot of stuff, and you’re not always going to have time to keep it in pristine condition because life gets crazy. But you can deal with it, I promise, and for all the new freshman prepping for their first dorm experience, I want to give some advice on how you can be prepared for what college life actually hits you with.

Alright, so I actually ended up being in a triple (so I had two roommates) which meant I had even less space than the average broom-closet sized dorm room and I had two people I had to get along with. Thankfully, we all ended up being really close and very considerate of each other, and I am incredibly grateful for it. We learned our lessons together, and this is the list of stuff we came up with:

1. Vacuum: Get a real vacuum, maybe a cheap one (not like a crazy dyson), but a real one. Not just a handheld one (like we had) because it won’t be enough. Girls shed hair. A lot. (especially three long haired girls like us) People might accidentally spill a bag of powdered sugar on your rug, or you might rip open a bag of cereal a little too vigorously, or, more seriously, you might break something like glass and you don’t want anyone cutting open their foot on a shard. 

2. Swiffer: If your floor was linoleum like ours (that’s why we needed a rug, which I’ll mention later), then it will get dusty and dirty. Having a swiffer is just nice to have because once you vacuum your rug clean, you don’t want the dirt on the linoleum getting on the rug. Plus, it’s gonna a rain and there’s gonna be mud. It’s gross.

3. Brita filter: So my dorm was actually the absolute best freshman dorm not just because the people were amazing, but because we had sinks. IN OUR ROOMS. It is just so CONVENIENT. Anyway, I am fully aware that not everyone is as lucky as us and the only sinks will be in the bathroom. A Brita filter pitcher is nice to keep in your fridge because you can have fresh clean in your room at any given moment.

4. Trash can: We had three in our room for each person but they kinda ended up being shared based on location in the room, but yeah. You need somewhere to throw away stuff.

5. Plastic bags or just garbage bags: And not only do you need a place to throw away stuff, you need plastic bags or garbage bags for clean disposal. And trash piles up real fast in your tiny room, so you’ll need to replenish these bags very often. I learned from my mom that you always have a place to store your plastic bags, and so we had a designated plastic bag drawer where we kept all the bags from our local campus convenience store, or the drug store, or wherever. Trust me, it’s saved lives. (as in, barf bags)

6. Command hooks: So we had to bunk two beds and loft another to have enough room and it’s kind of a pain in the ass to constantly climb down to throw something out so we had a trash bag hanging from a command hook on my roommate’s lofted bed and yeah. That bag has saved lives. (same situation as above) Plus, you can hang hats, bags, towels, little caddies for your toothbrush off of these hooks and it’s just so nice because you don’t lose things.

7. Clorox wipes: Again, stuff gets gross, and you’ll unfortunately need to clean things (ie your mom doesn’t clean everything for you anymore). Have two packs stored because you never know.

8. Dish soap: Real dishes need to be washed well, or else you’ll get sick.

9. Sponges: For the dish soap. And the dishes.

10. Windex: For our mirror, which we wrote on with washable marker, and I killed ants with it too. 

11. Storage for food: Something airtight so bugs can’t get to it, like a trunk. We also had mice sometimes go into our vents. And then into people’s rooms. They’re looking for a warm place to hide, and food. Don’t leave food out is the lesson. But also have food in your room! Our room was well known to always have food and its really nice when you’re staying up late and everything is closed.

12. Tissues: Freshman plague is so real. You will most certainly get it, and probably several times too. 

13. Vitamins and medicine: Your immune system is gonna get a work out in college. Help it out with some vitamin C tablets. Have some tylenol or advil for headaches and aches and pains. And side note, if you’re really sick, just go to the health center, you don’t have to suffer through it.

14. Slippers: Get a comfy, cheap pair (because sometimes dorm hallways are gross, especially on the weekends) that you can wear all around your building and still be comfy.

15. Power strip: So much stuff needs to be plugged in and you definitely won’t have enough outlets between you and your roommate(s).

16. Printer: Okay, this seems a little unreasonable, but we were lucky because my one roommate had a spare one at home (how though??) and I have frequently said it is my favorite thing in our room. It has come in clutch so many times. But if you have a campus printer near you, or if its too expensive, it’s fine not to have one. But if you do get one, I would recommend getting one that is NOT wireless. University wifi doesn’t like you using other wifi (ie it won’t work). Get a printer that has a cable.

17. Plastic plates and forks: We have real dishes and silverware too, but plastic stuff is just easier clean up.

18. Rug: I almost forgot about this one.The floor gets cold and a rug also makes a room feel homier. You and your friends are gonna sit there and bond all that fun stuff, and someone might even sleepover on it (if they have a sleeping bag).

19. Chairs: So we actually didn’t have any other chairs other than the ones that university gave us for our desks and those are okay and everything, but some of our friends had these amazing, foldable, springy chairs that were so comfortable and also a lot of fun, and I am definitely getting one for my room next year. 

Other things you might need but might forget (maybe?):

Razors

Umbrella

Rain boots

Rain coat

Extra towels

Contact solution

Favorite mug

Tea

Stapler

Make up wipes

Facials

Lamp

Of course, this is not an exhaustive list, you’ll definitely need other things (like a fridge, microwave, sheets, pillows, decorations, etc), or see that you really don’t need some of the things I’ve mentioned. Honestly, do what you feel is best and good luck! I loved my first year at college! Like basically everyone, I had some trouble adjusting at first. I felt pretty lonely in the beginning too, but once you start going, things start to fall into place. I met some great people, had some great classes, and honestly, I’m going to miss my first year–even with all the excitement of being an upperclassman next semester.

I hope this helped and that you have just as great of an experience in your first year as I did–actually, even better!

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