All the Tips and Tricks to Make it Easy
Once your student has been given their move-in date and dorm or residence assignment, the process of handling what can be a stressful, labor-intensive and often expensive process of moving begins. Traditionally, female students tend to take a full-on decorating approach complete with wall décor, signs, pictures frames, string lights, desk accessories, and many other decorative items. Male students do not quite go that full in and often just want a comfortable bed, maybe a poster or two and perhaps a rug. It is quite humorous after each drop-off, whether it is for summer or fall, to see my friends’ postings on Facebook and Instagram, (because that is the social media that parents are most comfortable with), and see the obvious difference between a completed dorm room.
This may be one of those sticker price shock moments. According to the National Retail Federation, back to college spending averaged $942 in 2018. This is big business with college checklists resembling the lists usually reserved for wedding and baby shower registries. If you go by the many college dorm checklists, you will be faced with a list filled with items you may have never considered. Some, like gaming systems, seems a bit far-fetched. You are not looking to entertain your student for the next four years; just to set up a comfortable room where they can study, relax and feel a bit of that home feeling they left behind.
The key is to try to get a head start on shopping. Perhaps you are – one store gets it done type of person. Maybe you are a bargain shopper. We have links to many retailers- all of whom have entire college shopping departments.
Break It Down
Let’s break this down with some tips for both genders:
If you have a student living in a dorm, the beds are not necessarily the most comfortable. You will want to get a mattress protector pad, mattress cover and for the best comfort, a memory foam mattress topper. You will find these at Target, Walmart, Bed, Bath and Beyond and many department stores. Consider this an investment for the next year minimally as they will be provided with a Twin XL mattress.
From there you will need a minimum of two sets of sheets (fitted and flat) plus pillowcases. No one is saying that they need the top thread count but certainly try to get a set that will not pill after one wash. They will want to wash their sheets once a week minimally so two should be sufficient. Next, most will want a comforter or duvet cover. Consider getting a Queen size comforter because most apartments are queen size beds so that twin xl won’t work, possibly one year later. Throw in an extra blanket as the dorm rooms tend to be kept very cold.
A floor rug, if they have hard floors, is not a bad investment, not the Persian variety but just a rug that will cover some of the floors between the traditional two-bed dorm rooms. A 5’ x 7’ should be sufficient.
Most of the dorms do not have walk-in closets, the area that is considered a closet has ample space yet does not have a door or enclosure. You can purchase a curtain or panel, a tension curtain rod, and clip rings but keep in mind, many times these tend to fall down. This is more what we consider to be decorative.
If your college student is planning on having a television in their room, you will need a coaxial cable. Extension cords are not allowed in UNF dorms; they do suggest a power surge outlet which can come with extra plugins.
Many students also like to have a mini refrigerator in their room. Some roommates may share the refrigerator so that will determine the size, but some may prefer their own. Many stores, such as Best Buy, will allow you to order it online and arrange to pick it up or have a family member or friend pick it up, at the store of your choosing.
Most dorm check-in processes allow you to use their carts. They do not have dollies or hand trucks or flatbed hand trucks. Click here to see the type of cart that UNF offers. Please look at the picture above “maintenance request” to see the type of cart that is available (if you are lucky enough to get one.)
Can You Bring It?
You will need to check with allowable items but you may want to consider purchasing a small microwave as well. Another great item to have is a Keurig or one cup coffee maker. If you have a student who cannot live without hot coffee, this is very convenient, but definitely more expensive, way to have coffee. There is a Starbucks on campus and countless Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts close by, but having your student make their own is often more economical. Target and Walmart sell the bottles of Starbucks Iced Coffee which have six 8 oz. servings.
A Brita water filtration system is also recommended over the more convenient plastic bottles. For one, plastic bottles do not have fluoride so unless your student is using a fluoride added toothpaste or mouth rinse, they do run the risk of cavities should they not have any fluoride.
If your student is like mine, there just is not enough closet and drawer space to accommodate all of his or her clothes, shoes, dry goods, toiletries, medicines, etc. That is where the under-the-bed plastic drawer system comes in handy. The problem you may face is availability. Here are a few tips. Either bring them with you if your vehicle space allows or order ahead of time. Besides Target Bed, Bath & Beyond and Walmart, which is where most will head, consider Office Depot, Dormify, Overstock. We purchased ours at Office Depot so with the 20% off coupon I had, it was comparably priced.
Instead of a traditional iron and ironing board, consider using the now popular mini hand steamers. They are very easy to use and work just as well. Another great item, especially if your student needs a step stool to reach the bed, is a storage ottoman. Clearly, by its name, you can see it can be used for storage but it is a more decorative way for them to climb into bed. Looking for something fancier, try Dormify. Overstock has some reasonably priced ones too. Bed, Bath & Beyond also carries them. Walmart has a wide variety of colors for $16.88. Most of the stores were sold out when we got to campus, so we would recommend either bringing it with you (and store stuff in it) or ordering online.
For our complete shopping guide for new college students, click here.