Shopping for a college dorm room, especially if it’s your first, can be both exciting and overwhelming. You know you need the perfect bedding and posters, but what about the less thrilling items, like extension cords and stain remover? The following list of Do’s and Don’t's are meant to help you make shopping for your college dorm room less daunting and more fun.
Don’t forget how small your room will be! Those glossy magazine pictures of college kids sitting on beanbag chairs watching TV are very misleading. The average college dorm doesn’t have room for extra chairs or televisions. Dorm rooms are notoriously tiny, and it’s important to keep your dorm room’s dimensions in mind when shopping for the extra stuff.
Do buy what you can to make your bed comfortable. Mattress pads, even the most basic versions, can save you from months of lying on a hard bed. A few extra pillows can be helpful for propping you up during a relaxed study session, and a soft comforter can make your dorm room bed tough to leave. Most dorm beds are extra long twins, so keep that in mind as you shop for sheets and covers.
Don’t buy a printer. Duke has printing stations in just about every dorm, so you can print freely without wasting valuable room space.
Do think about storage. Be creative: under-bed bins, adhesive hooks and drop down hangers all work to maximize your limited space.
Don’t buy things that have to be nailed to the wall. Websites like allposters.com sell hundreds of thousands of posters that you can remove at the end of the year, without damaging the walls. Stores like Target and Bed Bath and Beyond sell adhesive stickers that work better than tape for whatever you decide to hang.
Do stock up on toiletries you use every day. Running out of shampoo never seems to happen at a convenient time, and buying a bit extra when you shop means you’ll be able to buy less during the year. That being said, it’s not necessary to get a whole year’s worth, just enough to safely get you through the beginning.
Don’t stress out about buying a ton of trendy new clothes for the whole year. Styles change all the time, and it’s easy to spend a lot of money on clothes you might not want in a few months. It will be easier to assess what clothing you need once you get to school. Trips to shopping areas near Duke like Southpoint can make for a nice weekend outing.
Do buy a good raincoat and rain boots if you don’t already have them. College students spend a lot of time walking outside, from their dorm to the bus, from the bus to class, and to almost every meal. Its no fun to show up to class or dinner soaking wet!
Don’t buy things that you don’t use at home. If you never use a hair straightener or bleach for your clothes, you probably won’t start in college. If you’re ever in desperate need of something random, another kid in your dorm is bound to have one you can borrow.