If any of you are like me, then you have also been shopping for the 2011-2012 school year since the first week you got home for summer. It’s not your fault! There are so many reasons to buy new things for your dorm or apartment. Each year, stores come out with even cuter, more efficient ways to make your room look amazing. Plus, who wants the same comforter all four years? All I’m saying is, if you’ve already started packing for this upcoming school year, you’re not alone. It’s never too early to start packing. This year, however, try to focus on what is actually important and what is a total waste of space.
After your first year at a university, it’s easy to finally admit that bringing seven different shirts with the same logo, or fifteen pairs of flip-flops, maybe, just maybe was a waste of space. Katie Halstead, a sophomore at the University of Illinois said, “It’s not that I wish I would have known what to bring, but more like what not to bring.” Halstead said that she brought way too much her first year. “You’re going to be living in a building full of girls that you can borrow from. And anyway, you’re too busy having fun to think about all of the random stuff you brought from home!” Katie brings up a great point: If you forgot something it’s not the end of the world! There are tons of other girls with cute clothes, and if all else fails, well that’s what Urban Outfitters is for. Here’s a good rule of thumb for your first year: If you don’t remember the last time you wore it, then don’t bring it!! However, don’t forget to pack your goofiest (neon, plaid, and Hawaiian) clothes for all the different theme parties you will probably be going to!
Most college students (or their moms) have a favorite store to pick up the random essentials. Bed Bath & Beyond prides itself on being a go-to shop for college dorm and apartment basics. At the Bed Bath & Beyond in De Kalb, Illinois, one employee, Kristen, gives most incoming freshman the advice of picking their bedspread first and then using those colors to decorate the rest of their room. Kristen said that most students come back from their first year regretting the lack of storage bins in their rooms. “I recommend the stand up storage if your room is big enough, but if not go with the under-the-bed bins,” Kristen said. Under-the-bed storage is a great way to pack away bulky items like jeans and shoes so that you have more drawer space for the rest of your clothes. Another Bed Bath & Beyond expert, Emily, advises incoming freshman to purchase a Brita Water Filter. New to the market are individual Brita water bottles that filter as you drink. Emily said, “I wouldn’t have survived without my Brita!” So there you have it, the experts in college dorm decorating recommend Britas and lots of storage bins.
After dorm life comes apartment life, which means more responsibilities and more reasons to buy fun and new things! Shopping for an apartment means that you get to shop for kitchen tools and bathroom accessories. When it comes to advising someone who is moving into an apartment for the first time, Sarah Ozawa, senior at the University of Illinois, advises weekly cleaning. “Make sure you keep it clean all year because it builds up and it’s easy to let things get messy,” Ozawa said. Staying organized will also help with apartment upkeep. “Keep a schedule, as cheesy as it sounds, of chores or it can all fall on a few people who always end up cleaning.” Having a clean and organized apartment will make it easier to keep track of all of your new apartment purchases too! A dry-erase calendar is perfect for this type of organizing, especially if you need to trade cleaning shifts with one of your roommates.
Whatever kind of housing you are moving into, it’s important to try to keep in mind that everything that you love at home probably isn’t that important when you move back to school. George Foreman would probably be pretty flattered if you brought his grill to your new apartment, but do all three of your roommates need to bring one too? Communication!! The key to success for your new living environment is to figure who is bringing how much of each thing. Keep it simple, silly! Start packing, if you haven’t already, and keep in touch with your future roommates. You wont regret it!