Thursday, August 23, 2018

College Dorm Room Essentials

It has been a bit since I moved into my final dorm room my sophomore year of college although I still remember it very well. Freshman year I lucked out with a spacious dorm room however, that space was traded out sophomore year in order to live with my pledge class on our sorority hall. Furman is unique in a number of ways, but since we don't have sorority houses, we get a hall in the dorms for our sophomores instead. For whatever reason, the room was shaped like an "L" making it tricky to come up with a good arrangement for the furniture included without it feeling like an obstacle course in the room. 

Through these dorm experiences, I was able to figure out what essentials were necessary for sharing a room with other people, making a small space feel more like home, and attempting to keep things organized while following the rules put in place in the dorms. Today, I thought it would be fun to share 12 of my dorm room essentials. When looking through this list, I've realized that even after moving out of a dorm and into an apartment, these items are still in use! I suspect that most of these products will quickly become essentials as I move into my house as well.

(To shop the items, click on them directly in the image or shop using the links below.)

Nell, I blame and thank you for this one. When moving into our freshman dorm, Nell brought along this sound machine and I quickly became hooked. When living on a busy hall where not everyone values shut eye as much as you might, a sound machine that provides a bit of white noise provides a bit of peace. Even though Nell and I no longer live together, a piece of our time together is since I have owned my own sound machine ever since. 

Hear me out on this one...Is a fancy detergent really necessary? No, but little luxuries like the small of the dive scent glamorous wash detergent gave me a taste of home even when I was 8 hours away. I never thought I'd take pride in a detergent being my signature scent, but my little figured out I was her big because the t-shirts I gave her smelled like me. Now when my friends hug me or walk into my room after I've done laundry they always say I smell like me which means I smell like this detergent. A secret to make this detergent last longer is to put a cap full in with a regular unscented detergent. That way you get the scent from the more pricey detergent but the cleanliness from a more affordable option. 

As a huge fan of natural light, I've realized that occassionally it comes at a price. Somehow I end up with windows that offer great natural light but also have artificial street lights nearby that give my room a glow even at night. I have gotten to the point where I like total darkness when I sleep making blackout curtains a responsible choice. The ones I've included are from PB Teen and are a bit more expensive (but are the *best* and *cutest* blackout curtains I've had), so here is a more affordable option as well. 

This is a bit of a cheat since I never had these in my dorm room, however, I so wish I had! In my apartment these were the perfect way to organize some bathroom products in the tiny space that I had meaning it could do the exact same thing in your dorm room! Although the bathroom I'm about to have in the house we are renting has more storage space, these shelves will be a cute way to display perfumes and products I reach for often without cluttering my counter space. Plus they are available on Amazon Prime, a major win in my book.

This may not be an essential for everyone but if you're looking to make your dorm room a bit more homey, a headboard is the perfect solution! I made both of the headboards I used in college and got one from Not Just Dorms for my first post-grad apartment. There is something about a headboard that makes a room look more complete. You'll quickly find that your bed will serve many purposes in your dorm from sleeping to a study spot and even additional seating when friends come to hang out. A headboard is the perfect way to make your bed more inviting in all of those situations! 

If you're not a coffee lover yet, college has the potential to make you one. While I do have friends that deny themselves of this simple energizing pleasure were able to resist a daily cup of coffee, for those of you like me who can't a keurig in your room will be a game changer. I've been using the same keurig since my junior year and it has undergone making more than one cup of coffee for my roommates and I for years. Although you may have a meal plan where you can grab a cup of coffee in your dining hall on the way to class, there are times you will be in a hurry or want need a late night cup making it convenient to have your own coffee maker in your dorm. It may just be the best roommate you ever have! 

The best space saving piece of furniture I had in my dorm rooms was a desk hutch. With textbooks, notebooks, and pens and pencils alike, your desk can get crowded quickly. Instead of spreading out your stuff atop of your desk, spread up. My desk hutch was super easy to build and under $50 (which is a steal compared to many others that were available when I was on the hunt). Available in a few different colors, it's easy to match your decor and furniture while giving you a little bit of extra room.

Removable wall hangers may seem like a no brainer but stock up ahead of time because you won't want to pause your dorm decorating to run out to try to find these (which can be tricky in a college town). All four years in college, we were unable to hang things any other way than using non-damaging, removeable wall hangers and I found that ones that had velcro on both sides ensured that what I was hanging stayed up and that I didn't damage the wall come time to move out. 

Closet space wasn't something that was overly abundant in college. From storing costumes for different functions to your suitcase for trips home, making the most of the space was important. Before I left for college my freshman year, I switched all the hangers in my closet to skinny huggable hangers. These hangers gave me that ability to fit more pieces of clothing horizontally in my closet and even had the ability to cascade downward. I can't imagine how tight my closet would have felt had I chosen to use plastic ones. 

My freshman and sophomore dorms had community style bathrooms meaning that nearly 40 girls were using the same space to brush their teeth, wash their face, and shower. As someone who doesn't love getting ready with other people, I couldn't foresee myself putting on makeup while making small talk in our hall bathroom. Instead, I purchased a small makeup mirror that sat on my desk so that I could allow that space to double as a vanity. If you're anything like me and plan to get ready in the comfort of your own space, this is a must have!

So I may be pushing it with the term "essential" at this point by including a personalized pillow, however, touches like this made my room feel so much more like home. Whether you go for something monogrammed or something patterned in your favorite color, these touches of your personality will provide a sense of comfort no matter how far from home you might be. 

Maybe I should have listed this first, but Clorox wipes are necessary to have on hand from the minute you walk into your dorm room. Although the room has likely already been cleaned, it doesn't hurt to wipe everything down before settling in. Once the move in process is over, you'll be glad to have these on hand for spills or quick clean up sessions as needed. While it doesn't hurt to keep other cleaning supplies on hand, if you're anything like me in the dorms you'll find that these become your go-to.

What are your go-tos?

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