Some parents “go to the store and grab a list like they did when their kids were in elementary and high school and go straight down the list,” said the mother of three and a shopping veteran in college. Says Lisa Heffernan. Or they buy things they want their students to use (see you, cleaning products).
Author Asha Dorn Fest estimates that you can safely leave 70% of these items on the list. Parent Hex. And the mother of an emerging college sophomore who’s home for the summer.
Don’t buy or bring.
Hefernan, co-founder of the blog, says refreshers need only two things. Grew and flew.: A good mattress topper and a laptop.
Here are seven items you can skip:
- Printer Don’t waste table space or worse, keep it under the bed. There are many printers on campus.
- Television. Students can watch on laptops or TVs in public areas or in someone else’s room. Bonus: Your youngster goes out and meets others.
- Speakers Small spaces do not need a powerful speaker. Earphones can be a good idea and can respect a roommate.
- The car. Some colleges prevent newcomers from having cars on campus or restrict their parking. You can also save on insurance by having a car at home.
- Equipment. If you bring it, you have to store it. Heffron suggests a broken blue Ikea storage bag with a zipper.
- The toilet will run until May. Buying bulk can save money, but you need storage space.
- Duplicates of anything provided by the college, such as a lamp, trash can, desk chair or dresser.
When students pack for the summer, those things are left behind. Luke Jones, director of housing and residential life at Boys State University, looks at unopened food – lots of ramen and candy – and stuffed animals and mirrors.
Jones says many students regret bringing high school T-shirts and souvenirs and some of their clothes (dorm rooms are usually small).
Then what can you buy?
Before shopping, find out what the college forbids (candles, space heaters, electric blankets and halogen lights are common). Check with your classmates about the equipment (who is bringing the refrigerator or microwave?) And the color scheme if they want to set. Know the dimensions of the room and the size of the bed. And most of all, you know. Your budget. Not everything should happen. Brand new.
Ten things – in addition to all the important mattress toppers and laptops – that many students find necessary in the dorm room include:
- Pillow cases in addition to one or two foot sheets in the correct bed size. Heffernan says most students don’t use top sheets.
- Comfort or duvet with washable cover.
- Shower sandals with enough light to label with a towel or laundry mark in a specific pattern.
- Power cord with surge protector and USB ports.
- Basic first aid kit.
- Easy to use storage. If achieving something is too much, your student will not do it, says Heffernen.
- Wipe clean. According to Heffernen, students cannot touch products that require several steps, but they can use wipes.
- Leaning on your back to read in bed.
- Area carpet. Floors are often hard and cold.
- Comfortable items. Dornfest says it could be a blanket or a picture of a dog – something from home that will make the place a little more personal.
Afraid you will forget something important? You probably, Heffernan says. But chances are, you or your student can order it online and deliver it. Consider doing this with some items to avoid the hassle of bringing them yourself, and remember that “dorm needs” are often sold out after school starts.
Check the reality.
If you or your student still wants to copy the rooms you’ve seen on Instagram and Pinterest, think about how the room will be used.
Once your son or daughter goes inside, the room will never look like this again. Choose strong items and be realistic. Will throwing pillows make the place look more homely and charming, or will it be thrown on the floor by the parents on the weekends?
Co-host of Dorn Fest. Edit your life. The podcast offers a great reason not to overdo it. “A new man needs to be encouraged to get out of the dorm room,” she says. “Anything that draws you into campus life can be good.”
She is not advocating a monk-like environment, but one that encourages breaking the norm. College should be a time to try new things and meet people from different backgrounds. Dorn Fest suggests making the bed as comfortable as possible and keeping some home reminders. The ideal dorm room is more launch pad than cocoon.
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topic 7 things college freshmen don’t need – and 10 they do. Originally published on Nerd Wallet.