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Dorm Must Have & Must Not Have

CupCakeMuffinsCupCakeMuffins 816 replies78 threads Member
Which items would you recommend to pack or avoid, based on your or your child's experience?
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Replies to: Dorm Must Have & Must Not Have

  • NJWrestlingmomNJWrestlingmom 1279 replies2 threads Senior Member
    My son goes to my alma mater, even had the same dorm I did his freshman year. And I couldn't believe how small those rooms were!!! Luckily he's only about 1.5 hours from home, so we would didn't bring everything in one shot. If you can, I just keeping it minimal because the space is cramped!!
    Under-bed storage was a must (especially if you have a girl who will likely need more clothes space). My son liked the milk crates since they were open and he could see what was in them. Used them to store food/drinks/laundry supplies under the bed and books/binders on top of his desk. We did bring a small all in one printer - he and his roommate shared it. Was nice to be able to print in their room.
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  • gardenstategalgardenstategal 5872 replies10 threads Senior Member
    There are several threads on this if you search, but imo, the less you bring, the better. I would focus on making the bed comfy -- good mattress pad (memory type) covered by regular mattress pad and nice sheets (with comforter with cover.) Maybe an extra set of pillowcases. (As a parent, I felt better knowing that the bed was a bit of a haven and would permit a good night's sleep!)

    Anything that makes storage easy will help. Many schools are more than happy for tiny dorm rooms because they force the kids to be out and about and part of the community. They are intended for sleeping, not living!
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  • bopperbopper 14125 replies100 threadsForum Champion CWRU Forum Champion
    Dorms are small. I agree with @gardenstategal ...make the bed comfy.
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  • CupCakeMuffinsCupCakeMuffins 816 replies78 threads Member
    edited July 2018
    @NJWrestlingmom My kid loves milk crates.

    @gardenstategal & @booper I agree with minimalist approach, dorm rooms are tiny. A comfy bed is a neccessity, will order a memory foam mattress pad.
    edited July 2018
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  • UndercrackersUndercrackers 872 replies2 threads Member
    Yes, definitely less than more. You never know what they need until they actually are there experiencing it. Can always back fill if necessary. I will say that a small, quiet fan was something my kid did not have her freshman year on the 7th floor of a forced triple in the Bay Area (no A/C) - an overly warm room makes it tough to get a good night's sleep. Got the fan for sophomore year and it really made a difference in comfort.
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  • CupCakeMuffinsCupCakeMuffins 816 replies78 threads Member
    How do you manage trips to communal bathrooms? Always carrying a shower caddy?
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  • NJWrestlingmomNJWrestlingmom 1279 replies2 threads Senior Member
    @CupCakeMuffins my son did. I recommend the soft, mesh kind. Amazon hasn’t them for $10. The big hard plastic kind is kind of cumbersome and water won’t drain through.
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  • CupCakeMuffinsCupCakeMuffins 816 replies78 threads Member
    Please post a link if you have something you find very practical.
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  • CupCakeMuffinsCupCakeMuffins 816 replies78 threads Member
    edited July 2018
    @skieurope LOL. In my kid's case that's every morning and evening. It would be nice if communal baths had lockers there. He has a beard thing going on but most boys need to shave as well. I suppose its even more complicated for girls with make up and hair dryers and period issues at dorms where toilets are in common areas as well.

    edited July 2018
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  • skieuropeskieurope 39619 replies7193 threads Super Moderator
    It would be nice if communal baths had lockers there.
    LOL, like that will ever happen at most colleges.
    He has a beard thing going on but most boys need to shave as well.
    Most guys have their shaving gear included as part of their shower tote/caddy. He can always just pull his razor/trimmer/etc out if that's all he needs to bring with him. I'm sure your son can figure out what will work best for him.

    Personally, I found a hanging mesh kit worked for me, but it's really personal preference.
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  • CupCakeMuffinsCupCakeMuffins 816 replies78 threads Member
    Which one you recommend as best and where to find it at best price? Please post link if not too much trouble. Also post links for other must have at best price deals as your good deed of the day.
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  • GoatGirl19GoatGirl19 327 replies5 threads Member
    The storage ideas above are great--I'd also like to mention that most box-shaped containers that are cubes or taller than they are wide can be turned into shelves by removing the lid and turning the box on its side. I have two milk crates (which belonged to my parents when THEY were in grad school so they're crazy tough) that I stack on their sides and use as shelves for music books and textbooks. My college never gives us enough bookshelf space.

    Avoid packing too many clothes. If you need multiple sets of seasonal clothes and have the opportunity to store the extra elsewhere and switch out, it's highly recommended. Speaking of shower caddies and communal bathrooms, make sure to get a pair of dollar-store flipflops to use as shower shoes, and a bathrobe. It's way more pleasant to have a bathrobe than to have to walk down the hall of your co-ed dorm floor in a towel.
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  • scubadivescubadive 1091 replies3 threads Senior Member
    I bought my kids bedding at Macy’s on sale.
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  • ProfessorPlum168ProfessorPlum168 4150 replies89 threads Senior Member
    edited July 2018
    I bought the Lucid 4-inch ventilated mattress topper from Amazon. The blue one seems to be out of stock but the gray one is in stock. It’s around $80 but the price varies a bit from time to time.

    https://smile.amazon.com/LUCID-Ventilated-Memory-Mattress-Topper/dp/B00GIBRYAO

    Costco also has Novoform, 3 inch thick, which is really good, but hard to find Twin XL especially now. When it’s on sale it’s $99. Novoform does have an advantage in that it also includes a cover for the mattress pad itself, whereas the Lucid one doesn’t. However, if you’re putting a fitted sheet over both the pad and the mattress I don’t think it matters that much. Just make sure you know the depth of the mattress and make sure that the fitted sheets you will use can go over both the pad and the mattress.


    edited July 2018
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  • AboutTheSameAboutTheSame 3124 replies47 threads Senior Member
    California D found the bed warmer under the mattress pad & bottom sheet to be a life saver in cold New England. A lot of what defines "comfort" is where you're coming from. Had a printer shipped to D. She found it much easier to use the school printers to save space -- and let them buy the toner.
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  • OhWhatsHerNameOhWhatsHerName 785 replies31 threads Member
    I bought a budget printer (<$40 with no wireless option) freshman year and quickly found that printing from the library was much less hassle. Freed up some coveted under desk space.

    I think freshman year I brought too many Knick knacks and leisure items, like favorite books I’d already read, multiple pairs of slippers, adult coloring books (that was a must have...), and other solo activities. To each their own, but I had no time or interest in any of these things. They just took up space.

    Less is more! I found myself overpacking in almost every area but sticking to essentials would’ve been nice.
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 23268 replies17 threads Senior Member
    A mattress foam pad and a fan are all that are required. Everything else is extra and can be figured out once he's there.

    Some dorm bathrooms do have cubbies. I saw them at Smith on a tour. However, I'm sure there is some looting that goes on.

    My daughter had about 1/8th the stuff she had her first semester by her final semester (dorm v sorority house room, but about the same set up). One blanket instead of 4, one towel instead of 2-4, the shower caddie long ago ditched, one or two coats not 8. Shoes? She had a case of them at first and then only a few pairs and some boots. No lamps, alarm clocks, coffee makers, extra pillows, 'books she really likes and might reread', trinkets from high school friends, stuffed animals, hangers, hangers and more hangers.

    Pretty much anything on that list the schools suggest? Nope, not needed.
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  • gardenstategalgardenstategal 5872 replies10 threads Senior Member
    Some schools do provide storage space for shower caddies.
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