Dorm Room Essentials for ‘Home Away From Home’

Van loaded full of student's possessions ready to move to the university


It is almost that time of year again – back to school!


When preparing to move away from home, it’s easy to forget the little things that can make a difference in dorm room living. Luckily, there are a variety of resources that can help you remember to purchase all the essentials for your child’s new digs.


Before you do any shopping, check with the school to see if they have a list of items your student should bring, and those items to be left behind.


Once all that is squared away, it’s time to start going down a checklist. This one from Bed Bath & Beyond is thorough and easy to follow.


Bed Bath & Beyond also offers a Pack & Hold System, which is one of the easiest ways to prepare for a move. Visit a location close to home and scan all of the items you wish to pick up at a Bed Bath & Beyond near the university. Once you and your child arrive at school, take a trip to the local store to pick up all of the items! Not only does this program eliminate the hassle of paying for shipping, but it also gives you more space in your car or suitcase to bring other items such as clothes, electronics, and even decorations.


With all of that said and done, below are eight more items to help make any dorm room the perfect “home away from home.”

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PowerCurve+ Surge Protector $34.99

This surge protector charges a number of devices at once, and is perfect for those dorms that only have one or two outlets.


Amazon Echo Dot$49.99 

This hands-free Echo Dot speaker from Amazon offers multiple services including setting alarms for class, playing music, and answering questions. It’s perfect for students who like a little background music while studying.



Double Over-the-Door Hook $9.99 

This satin-nickel double hook is an essential – trust us.  Hang bath towels, any ironing, or an outfit for the next day to stay ultra-organized.


Laundry Hamper$7.99

This lightweight, mesh laundry hamper is ideal for bringing clothes to and from the dorm’s laundry facilities. The pop-up storage-friendly hamper is easy to fold down to conserve space when not in use, and even offers side pockets to hold any detergents or other laundry items.


Shower Tote $9.99

Avoid clutter and transport bathroom accessories easily with this mesh shower tote. Hang it on the room’s door hook to conserve space or to dry off.


Desk Lamp $14.99

It seems like every dorm room needs more lighting than what is provided. This desk lamp features a flexible head, ample storage, and a built-in USB port in the base. An added bonus? It also has storage space for desk supplies to give easy access to items used daily.



Bed Lifts $24.99 (Set of 4) 

Most dorm rooms are tight in space and any extra storage space helps. These espresso-colored wooden bed lifts are perfect to create extra storage under the bed. Use one to lift a bed 3.5 inches, or stack two sets together to raise your student’s bed up to 7 inches.


Mini-Refrigerator $129.99

This stainless-steel mini refrigerator maximizes space, as it can rest on the floor or a countertop. It’s the perfect size for even the smallest dorm rooms.

10 Hardworking Organization Tools You Already Have

By: Laura Gaskill

In our quest for fresh, beginning-of-a-new-year, organized perfection, it’s easy to get a bit carried away in the organizing or office supply store. While specialized sorters and doodads surely have their purpose, more often than not they just add more clutter to our homes. Commit to getting it right this year (and saving a bit of cash in the process) by sticking with these 10 hardworking but often overlooked helpers that are probably sitting in your home right now.

1. One mobile calendar. It doesn’t really matter whether you prefer a paper or digital version; the important thing is that you stick with one calendar system, preferably for everyone in the house. Google Calendar is a great, flexible, mobile option you can access from home or on the road.

Washi Masking Tape by mt, 5 pieces
2. Washi tape. Never before has such a humble item (tape!) inspired quite the same level of obsession as this colorful Japanese paper tape. It is easy to tear, removes cleanly from most surfaces, and comes in the most gorgeous hues. Use it to label everything from glasses at a party to files, pantry jars, storage bins and more. And when you are done labeling, use it to wrap a gift, tape photos to your inspiration board or make your own wall art.

3. A magnetic knife strip. A wall-mounted knife rack can do so much more than keep your knives neat and out of the way (though it’s great for that, too). Use it to organize spices in the kitchen, tools in the garage, keys by the front door and scissors and other necessities near your desk or crafts area.

Instax Mini 7s and Mini 25 Instant Cameras
4. Your camera. Snap photos of the contents of storage boxes and kids’ toy bins and tape them to the fronts as visual labels. Photos are also ideal for documenting oversize art projects, so you can let go of the original in good conscience.

5. Tote bags. The humble tote bag can work just as hard as a basket or storage box, but with the added advantage of being portable and lightweight. Use totes to sort things you store temporarily, like library books, work materials and workout clothes.

6. Binder clips. Using these tiny workhorses only for their intended use would be missing out — you can also hang art, corral cables, keep packaged goods fresh in the kitchen and keep rolls of ribbon and wrapping paper from unfurling. For extra credit, upgrade your binder clips with small lengths of washi tape (see number 2) and label away.

7. Zip-top bags. One of the most versatile (and cheap!) organizing tools around, baggies can be used to store hardware pieces all together, sort items in your junk drawer, keep toiletries neat in your suitcase, freeze soup flat or even pipe frosting.

Bright Stockholm Binder
8. Basic binders. Paperwork gets lost easily when piled up in baskets or stacks. Use three-ring or portfolio-style binders (with plastic sleeve inserts) instead to file away instruction manuals, magazine clippings and more.

9. A smaller filing cabinet. Have a giant filing system? You are probably saving too many papers. Make things easier on yourself by going paperless whenever you can and making sure that you really need to save each paper item that you file. Most of us can get away with one or two well-tended drawers.

10. A donations bin. It’s one thing to get organized — staying organized is another matter altogether. One tool that has the potential to keep your home neat and clutter free is a permanent bin dedicated to giveaways. Keep it in a central spot where you can toss things in whenever you think of it. When the bin is full, empty it at your favorite charity shop; repeat.

Related Links:
Label the Bathroom Cabinets for Optimal Organization
Dedicate a Hamper as a Donations Bin
More Ways to Organize the Living Room