Heading off to college this fall? Don’t forget these items! Purchasing some of them might seem like common sense, but you don’t want to find yourself without these college dorm essentials.

(By the way, winning more scholarship money in high school is a great way to afford more college dorm-room luxuries for yourself! Have you ever thought about it like that before?)

1) Fan

Trust me—a fan is a must. Not all dorms will have A/C. Mine, for example, ran the heat only in the winter, but never ran the air conditioner due to green initiatives at the college. They also banned window A/C units, which some students used anyway. Don’t find yourself hot and sweaty when you don’t need to be—invest in a quality fan.

2) Lamps

No light’s worse than fluorescent light—it’s probably the light they use in hell. It can be difficult to maintain a good mood and concentrate on schoolwork when all you’ve got is fluorescent light, so make sure you grab a nice desk lamp—and, even better, a lamp for your room. The desk lamp can be used to illuminate only your work surface, allowing you a greater degree of focus. The room lamp can cast a warm, friendly glow.

3) Alarm Clock

Most people use their cell phones—but trust me: the day you fail to wake up to your cell phone (whether it’s dead or you’re in a deep sleep) can be an exceedingly miserable day. Murphy’s Law dictates that that day will probably be the day of an important test or meeting, so invest in a good alarm clock to insure against sleeping through class.

4) Clothes hangers

Take an effort to minimize the amount of clothing you bring to college—but once you’ve decided on the pieces you will, in fact, wear, make sure you’ve got some good clothes hangers. I recommend buying one set of the same type to avoid an uneven, disorganized-looking closet.

5) A way to watch TV, movies, or Netflix

Probably the coolest way I’ve seen someone do this in college is by getting a projector to connect to a laptop and playing movies on a big blank wall. Invest in some quality speakers and you’ve got a much more portable and enjoyable experience than that of a heavy TV. A TV will do, though, along with a Blue Ray or DVD player.

6) Storage boxes or stackable crates

Dorms are often very cramped and small. Make sure you maximize space by getting some storage boxes or stackable crates. Store things under your bed and create verticality!

7) Plenty of towels

Towels are important. No one likes having to reuse a wet towel.

8) An extra set of sheets

Trust me—they just might come in handy.

9) Laundry supplies

Laundry is vital! No one likes a smelly person or mountains of dirty clothes littering a dorm. Make sure you wash your sheets and pillowcases—along with the rest of your dirty clothes—once a week. Bring plenty of quarters, a durable laundry hamper, and detergent.

10) Flip-flops

These are for using shared bathrooms and showers. Protect yourself against whatever’s lurking on the on floor.

11) Shower caddy

It’s hard to carry all of your toiletries to a shared bathroom without a shower caddy. Grab a good one to take your soap, shampoo, conditioner, razors, shaving cream, toothbrush, toothpaste, and mouthwash to the bathroom when you need it. Try to never allow yourself to get locked out of your room when you shower. It’s not fun.

12) Bathrobe

These make traveling to the shower a breeze—and in the unhappy event that you find yourself locked out of your room after showering, you’ll feel better than if you were freezing and clutching a towel.

12) Basic set of dishes

You may do most of your eating at the cafeteria or at various establishments on and around campus—but it doesn’t hurt to have some cups, plates, knives, spoons, and forks.

13) A mini fridge

Mini fridges are very wise to have. Think of all the beverages and snacks you can store in them!

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Additional Resources: “Winning College Scholarships for High Schoolers” Video Course

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