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The college years are some of the most exciting and memorable years of your life. But, if the thought of moving into a dorm is stressing you out, you’re not alone. Millions of others just like you are currently trying to figure out how to fit all the dorm essentials for girls into a tiny room, too, and it’s anything but easy.
Space is extremely limited, so you’ll only be able to bring the bare necessities. Making a list might help you narrow down the essentials so you aren’t drowning in clutter or forgetting the important stuff come moving day.
Sure, you have a calendar on your laptop and smartphone, but having a big one to look at and mull over is a must when you’re in college. Hang a dry erase calendar above your desk and mark important dates like exam days, due dates and group project meetups. This way you won’t ever have an excuse for forgetting to study or turning in late assignments. Keeping a calendar in plain sight will also help you budget your time better so you can succeed at school.
Finding enough storage in your dorm room can be a real challenge, especially if you have a roommate. Luckily, you can easily create more storage space by packing a few collapsible storage bins. These boxes come in all different shapes and sizes so you can find ones to fit in the closet, underneath the bed and in random nooks and crannies. The best part is you can smoosh them flat or shove them into tight spaces where a normal crate or bin wouldn’t fit.
If you can stand in the middle of your dorm room and touch at least two walls, you probably don’t have enough floor space to warrant a full-size vacuum. In this case, a handheld one will do the trick, which is great because you didn’t have space for a giant sweeper, anyway. Pick a cordless or rechargeable model for maximum portability. Ones that include brush attachments are even better since they can get into tight spaces and out-of-the-way spots.
Of course, if you don’t have much floor space, there’s probably not much room for a dresser or bookcase. In this case, you might have to use a hanging shoe rack to store school supplies, extra pantry items, cosmetics and other random items that don’t fit anywhere else. You can also use over-the-door racks for their intended purpose to organize footwear and maximize space. Regardless of how you utilize this storage solution, choosing one with transparent pockets will make everything easier to find.
Some college dorms have a bathroom in each room. Others make you walk all the way down the hall to a shared bathroom and showers. Either way, having a cute caddy is a good idea because it’ll keep all of your toiletries neat and organized. Look for a plastic tote with multiple compartments to arrange everything from shaving cream to face wash. And, if you do have to walk to the showers, one with handles will be especially helpful.
Maybe you’ve already spent a fortune on furniture, rugs and dorm décor. At this point, you’re just looking for the cheapest storage solutions available. Luckily, you can still get a ton of bang for your buck with s-hooks. These cheap, compact hooks are incredibly versatile and super easy to use. Hang a few over a metal rod to secure cookware, store cleaning supplies, hang plants or vases or even organize your jewelry.
7. Silverware/Flatware (Amazon)
Up until now, you’ve probably never even thought about buying silverware. After all, why buy another when your family’s used the same one for 18 plus years? Well, now that you’re setting out on your own, it’s finally time to buy a set. You can find standard four-person sets for as little as $10, but investing in versatile, forged flatware may be worthwhile. That way you don’t have to replace bent spoons and dull knives when you move into an apartment or house.
Ok, this item isn’t essential, per se, but, for girls with painful menstrual cramps — or those who are always cold — a heating pad is a must-have. Look for safety-certified models that feature auto-shutoff and quickly reach your desired temperature. Pads with backlit controllers, multiple heat settings and a soft, machine-washable cover also promise functionality and, most importantly, comfort and warmth when you’re feeling ill or lonely.
Even if you have all of the essentials, your dorm room probably won’t feel complete. That’s because you haven’t lived in it yet. There aren’t many personal touches and that’s totally ok! Resist the urge to overpack and simply embrace the empty walls and extra floor space instead. As you collect memories and mementos over the next four years, those empty spaces will slowly disappear. Just you wait. College is going to be awesome.