In only a couple of short months you’ll be moving to school and into a dorm room. Packing can be tedious—and of course, expensive—but it’s vital, as you need to bring your life’s essentials with you. So here are ten must-haves, as well as some tips on how to get them cheaper:
1. A surge protector. A good surge protector will guard all of your electronics, and will also serve as an extension cord, allowing you to plug all of your necessities (computer, lamp, phone charger, etc.) into one outlet. To get a quality protector that’s also reasonably priced, shop locally at a supplies store such as Office Depot, Staples, or Walmart and find one that’s on sale.
2. A floor lamp. Your residence hall might provide you with a desk light, but that’s likely not enough to illuminate your whole room. So pick up a floor lamp somewhere like Target or Lowe’s, and make sure it takes energy-saving bulbs so that you spend as little as possible.
3. A good bed set. A quality bed set goes a long way in ensuring you’re comfortable, so invest in one that will last. That way, you won’t have to spend money on bed supplies year after year. And if you sleep well, you won’t have to spend as much on coffee to keep yourself awake when you nod off halfway through your first class of the day.
4. Bed risers/storage boxes. If you’re like most students, your dorm room will be full of things that you can only classify as stuff. Since you need somewhere to put it all, purchase some cheap bed risers and a few plastic storage boxes at a store like Bed Bath & Beyond. You’ll be able to stay organized and neat, which also saves when it comes to state of mind.
5. A laundry bag and detergent. One of the worst aspects of dorm life is laundry. Still, it has to be done. To ensure that it’s done efficiently, pack a laundry bag buy your detergent in bulk—preferably off campus, where it’s probably cheaper.
6. Towels and clothes hangers. Don’t forget the small things such as towels and clothes hangers. Buying these items ahead of time instead of when you’re already moved-in won’t only save you cash, but also a major headache.
7. An Ethernet cable. With wireless technology in vogue, it’s easy to forget that wireless internet connections can sometimes be finicky. To ensure that you can always access the internet at school, pack an Ethernet cable just in case.
8. A first aid kit. While your school has a medical center, it’s best to have bandages and convenient medicine such as aspirin at arm’s length. Again, it’s cheaper to buy supplies ahead of time, as prices will be noticeably higher at the school’s store.
9. A small fan. In most cases, dorm rooms don’t have air conditioning. To beat the heat, bring a small fan that will keep you cool. That way you won’t have to sit in the food court chugging $5 milkshakes.
10. Posters. Not decorating your dorm room would be a crime, but you can still show your personality and sense for décor on a budget. For example, you could grab a stack of magazines and cut out distinctive pictures to make collages, which are perfect and personal decorations.
Of course, talk to your roommate ahead of time about who’s bringing what in order to capitalize both on savings and efficiency. For instance, you probably don’t need two floor lamps in your room, so communicate clearly and divvy up the more expensive items. Pack wisely.