College is expensive and getting kids ready for school can be a strain on any budget. We have looked at the basics that are on each college checklist to see what every student needs, the items most teens cannot live without. Here is a look at a few extras. If your budget can stretch to it, here are the things that students love and use all year long.
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Our Favorite Dorm Extras to Add to Your Freshman’s College Checklist
1. Extra Big Pillow
Dorm beds have no headboards so adding an extra pillow will create a little bit of luxury for your freshman. We love oversize pillows that our kids can use to lean against the wall when they sit in bed and study. These Reading Pillows look wonderfully soft and are durable, too.
2. IKEA Frakta Bag
These are not only incredibly helpful for move-in day, but they are all excellent to use as under-bed storage for bulky sheets and towels or off-season items.
4. T-Shirt Quilt
Ordering a quilt from Project Repat is one of our favorite ways to bring a little bit of home to a dorm room as there is nothing that is more personal than a blanket stitched from memories. Take all the shirts from camps, class days, family trips and ship them to Project Repat – they do the rest.
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4. Hydro Flask Sports Water Bottle
This bottle is super popular brand on campus now. Say goodbye to plastic bottles forever!
5. Phone Charging Cable
If you have a kid in college (or soon to be going) a long charger cord may be the single most useful gift you can give them. They can have their phone plugged in and charging overnight yet still close enough to their dorm bed to use as an alarm!
6. Safe or Lockbox
This is well worth the expense for any student but more so if your college kid wants to take a passport, valuable jewelry or has prescription medicines that they needs to keep secure.
7. Clothes Steamer
If your kid is used to looking neat and prefers clothes that have been ironed, consider a steamer rather than an ironing board and iron since there is little room for these bulky items. We hear great things about this Mini Steamer with Travel Pouch and look at the adorable colors it comes in!
8. Dimmable Desk Lamp with USB Charging Port
Roommates rarely go to sleep at the same time and, when your student is up late studying (we can hope!) turning the light down with this lamp’s dimmer switch will be greatly appreciated. This one also has a USB port, which is a super-useful feature.
9. Small Fan
Dorm rooms without air conditioning are roasting hot during the first and last months of the school year and a desk fan can help when your kid is trying to finish a paper, study for a test or sleep. The Vornado 460 is recommended by The New York Times Wirecutter reviewers.
10. String of Lights
Did we already say how dreary dorm rooms are? If your kid’s college allows it, consider this 25 foot long string of lights to create a festive look with minimal expense and effort.
11. Tool Kit
Your freshman will be to go-to person on their hall with this tool kit. This one, a 39-Piece Tool Set with Plastic Toolbox Storage Case, is well-priced and has all the basics your kid will need for the next four years of dorm and apartment living.
12. Refrigerator Cart
There is nothing quite as filthy and disgusting as the floor of a college dorm room. Putting a refrigerator that holds food on that floor, well, yuck, just yuck. Here is the answer. This Mesh Compact Fridge Cart,by The Container Store, will be one piece your freshman can use for four years.
13. Wall Decorations
Dingy blank walls in dorm rooms are depressing and beg for a personal touch. Dormify has an extensive collection of tapestries and wall hangings to spruce up dorm rooms in styles that match any college student’s taste.
14. Bose wireless headphones
Wireless, waterproof, sweat proof, perfect for working out or just walking across campus. Having a good set of headphones can also help to block out the noise that even the quietest roommate makes.
15. Shower Speaker
One of our sons roomed with five other boys and shared a bathroom – yikes! They installed a speaker like this one, a Water Resistant Bluetooth Shower Speaker, and listened to the music from their phones while showering.
16. Phone Battery Charger
College students are on the go from morning (ok, late morning) to night and it’s easy to drain a phone’s battery. This portable, high-speed charger is a lightweight and easy to throw in a backpack to make sure your student can always keep a phone charged, which is the single best safety device to include on their college checklist.
17. Extra storage
This ingenious Storage Ottoman from Dormify also doubles as extra seating when the top flips up to create a chair. It comes equipped with dividers for shoes and floss flat when not in use.
Cold and dirty dorm floors can be vastly improved with area rugs but make sure you select one that is durable and won’t show stains. Bed, Bath and Beyond offers many to pick from including this navy rug that comes in five others colors.
19. Lingerie Bag
Freshmen need to master the art of laundry in college and using Mesh Laundry Bags can be a practical and inexpensive way to take care of delicate undergarments and to keep track of matching pairs of socks.
Freshman year is a great time to get a new backpack. This one, by the Herschel Supply Co. comes in loads of different colors and designs, holds a 15″ laptop and has waterproof zippers which will help keep things dry if your student gets caught in the rain – which they will.