College Dorm Rooms
Experienced Mom offers advice on what to bring and what to leave at home

college move in advic

Our past ten years of summer have been spent getting one of our four settled into their college dorm room or off-campus apartment. One year we had three move-ins! Furnishing their college housing can be an expensive endeavor and with multiples in college at the same time, I learned early that budgets must be set and kept.



TOP 12 tips for furnishing a college dorm room while keeping an eye on your  personal finances... what to bring and what to leave at home... Happy Shopping!



what you need for a college dor

Before you hit the stores... have them contact their roommates so there is no duplication of items.

1. Comforter or bedspread and sheets.. Do not spend a fortune on designer labels. Dorm mattresses are usually twin extra long and those are the size sheets you must purchase. These sheets will not fit any other mattress properly, thus their lifespan is limited to the time the kids are in the dorms. I would recommend 2 sets of sheets, two pillows and a backrest. They spend a lot more time studying on their beds than at their desks. You should easily be able to get all this for under $100

2. No one likes to think about this one, but it may be the most important item on the list!  A Bedbug mattress protector

Here are two premium bedbug protectors from Amazon: Twin XL Size SafeRest Premium Waterproof Lab Certified Bed Bug Proof Zippered Mattress Encasement (Fits 9 - 12 in. H) - Designed For Complete Bed Bug, Dust Mite and Fluid Protection and the matching Twin Extra Long (XL) Size SafeRest Premium Waterproof Lab Certified Bed Bug Proof Zippered Box Spring Encasement - Designed For Complete Bed Bug, Dust Mite and Fluid Protection 9" Again, we can't stress enough how important these are to put on the list! Most dorms provide Twin XL mattresses but you can get these in any bed size.

A Mattress pad, egg crate or feather bed mattress topper are all usually needed. College dorm room bedding is usually not that comfortable and these will improve that situation!

3. 3 extra large bath towels, 2 washclothes, 1 hand towel. Good but not best quality. These will not see year two in most cases, especially with boys.

4. A Bathrobe, some shower slippers or flip flops and a small carry container for shower supplies and don't forget a thermometer for the times they are under the weather.. could save a trip to the infirmary.

5. A collapsible mesh laundry hamper. They fit more than a basket and can “stuff” into closets or under beds in those small college dorm rooms.

6. Rolls of quarters for laundry machines, if needed. The laundry machines may work on their student ID swipe card, but if not, quarters will be greatly appreciated!

7. Ipod/Iphone/Ipad charger/alarm clock like this iHome iD37GZC Dual Alarm Stereo Clock Radio for iPad/iPhone/iPod with FM Preset Station Memory (Gunmetal) is a multi-purpose item that will be well used.

8. Rent the micro-fridge. It is dual purpose and much cheaper and easier on everyone’s back than hauling your own into the dorm; plus they can usually split the cost with their roommate.

9. Make sure you have the proper components to hook up the computer. Ethernet cord, wireless card, network connection information.. however they will they get online and onto the college server. You will receive information, in advance of arrival, from the school’s technology department that tells you everything. Read it! The most awful experience is leaving them with no internet access. This is a priority.

10. Make sure you have invested in a good surge protector and a lock for their computer that can wrap around the desk or bed legs. And bring a couple of reams of paper for last minute printing in the dorm.


11. 2 extension cords and multiple outlet strips and a tool box. You’re bound to need it. And don't forget a USB Flash Drive. And remind them to save every paper they write on a flash drive! Here's another inexpensive but must have little device: It's Hub Man! He gives them 4 USB outlets. With all the things they plug into their computer... this cheap little gadget is a lifesaver.

12. Buy underbed storage bins, yaffa blocks, over door hangers sparingly or even wait until you get there. We have lugged more of these into college dorm rooms, only to have to bring them back as there was no room or no need.



Our favorite place to shop for the College Essentials is Amazon.com - best prices, great customer service and speedy shipments.. that a  winning combination.



Once you have the dorm furnished, make sure you read this important advice for college parents. It's a list of things you need to get done with your child before they leave for college. #5 is especially critical if they are over 18. Plus good reminders on cell phone and data plans that could save you alot of money and aggravation.


saving money on college textbooks

Get some good advice on SAVING MONEY on COLLEGE TEXTBOOKS

College Dorm Room set, Once home.. start thinking about a care package.. Here are some great ideas for college care packages!


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