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You really don’t need that at college!
If you haven’t started shopping for your incoming college freshman yet, whether for things for their dorm or clothes; well, then, we are here to tell you that you probably shouldn’t bother. You see, our daughters have cleaned out just about every store and depleted us of our savored stack of Bed, Bath and Beyond coupons. Ok, so we are kidding… sort of. Actually what we wanted to share here was that given that we have had not only our two kids but our nieces and nephews (we are a multigenerational gator family going back to my almost 90-year-old uncle), we have learned that there are a few things you really don’t need to purchase and bring.
For instance, that printer you spent hours picking out. It turns out there are quite a few places around campus to print wirelessly and then you won’t have to pay for continuous refills of ink, which can actually be more expensive than a whole new printer. Curtains. I know it says that students can bring curtains to cover up their closets because they have no doors at college, but, trust us; the curtains will spend more time on the floor or pushed to the side. And when they crash to the floor in the middle of the night, no one is happy.
All residence halls will be upgraded to UF’s “World Class Wireless” which will allow students to use wireless not only for phones and computers but also for gaming and streaming entertainment devices such as Apple TV, Google Chromecast, and Amazon Fire. Leave Alexa and/or Echo home. While UF does allow these devices on their network, not sure their roommate would appreciate your student’s commands. Of course, if they are living in an apartment, perhaps their roommates would not mind having these devices.
It is tempting to want to simply pack by taking everything out of the drawers and closet, but truth be told, if your student’s wardrobe is as ridiculously large as our daughters are, it just won’t fit in a college dorm closet. Chances are they will be home or you will visit at least once before the “frigid” cold sets in, so perhaps they can exchange a few tank tops and bathing suits for some sweaters then. There simply isn’t room no matter how many under-bed boxes you buy. The same holds true for shoes. My daughter brought about 20 pairs of shoes with her. Even with a shoe rack, there just was not enough space.
One of our daughter’s summer roommates showed up with a 24 piece pot and pan set. While it was lovely, we assure you most of it was rarely used. As a matter of fact, when we packed up for summer there was an array of kitchen items strewn all over the counter and the girls weren’t even sure which belonged to whom. So, until your student decides that Giada is their greatest role model, kitchen items are best purchased at the dollar store.
As for their pets, there are not too many allowed into dorms. Check out our Pets blog to see what is allowed. For off-campus living, there are some apartments that allow pets. Click here for which ones are pet-friendly.
Finally, we encourage you to have your students speak with their roommates before arriving at school. My daughter lived in one of the traditional style dorms with a full kitchen. She talked, texted, snap chatted and so on with her new roommates so they did not duplicate the same allowable appliances. When she moved off campus into a four-bedroom apartment, they had not even talked about items they needed for the common areas including a television, kitchen set up and cleaning products. One of the moms and I ended up making a Target run after a long discussion as to how they would split the cost. The concern was that after they moved out, who would get these items. Personally, I thought they would probably not be in the best of shape so suggested they work that out when they got to that point. They have lived together for two years and are moving together into a house with another student so it has more than paid off.
With so many great deals out there on Overstock, Wayfair, Dormify, and Amazon in addition to the traditional big box stores like Bed Bath & Beyond, Kohl’s, Walmart and Target, if you plan in advance, you may be able to save some money too and not end up running around trying to find items that could possibly be sold out. I’m writing this off to Millennial’s tendency not to communicate and tell you “Don’t worry, I’ve got this.”
As for what to bring, we’ve got our Shopping Guide for New Students that breaks it down and has some great places to find what your student will need. Happy Shopping!
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