DormSmart Living Blog

July 29, 2017

Using College Checklists to Plan and Organize Move-in Weekend



Using College Checklists to Plan and Organize Move-in Weekend
College checklists are popping up all over the internet of late; some with good advice and some with not so good advice for college bound students, especially freshmen. The worst advice I have seen thus far, is recommending that students save a little shipping money and time by "waiting" to shop over move-in weekend or during their first week of classes instead of planning and organizing their move early.

To preface my comments below, before and after founding DormSmart, I personally experienced college move-in weekends with my own students. This is what we learned, good and bad:

College Move-in Weekend = ONLY TWO DAYS

It’s a weekend, typically two fun-filled hot days, with hopefully no rain, of:
  • arriving on campus;
  • finding a place to park and obtaining a permit for the weekend;
  • picking up the keys to and inspecting your dorm room;
  • completing the required orientation for your residence hall;
  • getting your mailbox;
  • getting your student id card;
  • registering your bike or vehicle;
  • moving your belongings into your dorm room;
  • unpacking and organizing your dorm room;
  • possibly waiting for your microfridge to be delivered if you have a rental;
  • picking up your text books;
  • confirming your class schedule and locating your classes; and
  • more...
all while attending mandatory activities, for you and your family, designed to give students a smart start at college.

Did I mention that you’ll be waiting in line to complete most of these tasks? Hopefully, you won't be one of those lucky students who has an audition, practice, or activity for their athletics, arts, or other school organizations over move-in weekend. My youngest daughter actually attended practices and performed during her freshmen move-in weekend.

Shopping Over Move-In Weekend Can = DISAPPOINTMENT

Let’s forget about how you or your family will manage to find the time over move-in weekend to locate and drive to stores near campus because once you get there, you’ll probably be disappointed when you realize that the selection is either limited or picked over and the checkout lines are long. After all, it is back to school shopping season for students of all ages.

You can choose to wait to shop for college supplies during the first week of classes, but you’ll delay getting organized before classes start and your help will be headed back home. Even worse, you may be one of the many freshmen who do not have a vehicle to drive to the store and transport their purchases back to campus. Maybe you can recruit some help while you are locating and waiting for the campus shuttle. Hopefully, the shuttle schedule will fit into your class schedule and can accommodate transporting all your purchases. If not, you can make a few trips.

Using College Checklists to Plan and Organize Move-in Weekend = A Smart Start for Freshmen

By this time, I am sure you get my point… move-in weekend is a busy time for students, family members, and colleges. It is best to use tools such as college checklists to plan your move and complete tasks ahead of time. Whether you personalize our dorm room checklist, use a checklist provided by your college, or create your own checklist... it will help you have an organized move to campus so you can take advantage of the many activities over move-in weekend that provide freshmen with a smart start at college.

Good luck at college and live dorm smart!



July 24, 2017

Answers to the Most Commonly Asked Questions About Twin XL


Because twin XL is a big topic at DormSmart for college bound freshmen, here are short answers to the most commonly asked questions about twin XL:

Will twin sheets fit a twin XL mattress?


No. A twin fitted sheet will NOT properly fit a twin XL bed because a twin XL mattress is actually five inches longer than a twin.

Will full sheets fit a twin XL mattress?


No. A full size fitted sheet is made to fit a 54 x 75 inch mattress; whereas, a twin XL mattress is 39 by 80 inches.

How long is a twin XL mattress?


A twin XL mattress, commonly referred to as a twin extra long mattress or extra long twin mattress, is 80 inches in length. 

How long is a twin XL comforter?


For the best fit, make sure the comforter you purchase for your twin XL bed is 90 inches or longer. Knowing the comforter dimensions (measurements), typically listed on the packaging, is the most important factor when shopping for bedding that will fit a twin XL bed.

Live DormSmart!

July 3, 2017

When Shopping for College, Shop for You!


When shopping for college, remember articles such as this one and tools like our Dorm Room Checklist, are just there for students to use as a general guide of what they may or may not want to bring on campus. Ultimately, it's about you!

For example, some schools actually accept electronic submissions of assignments or offer electronic printing services so you may not need a printer. But if your school requires a hard copy or if you are someone who procrastinates, like my daughter, having a printer in your dorm room may be safer than walking across campus in the middle of the night to print an assignment. Also, some schools charge for printing services and do not offer color options.

For students who do not care about ironing their clothes, forget ironing supplies. But for those of you who like a crease or participate in business or military related student activities that may require one, then bring ironing supplies to campus if policy permits. Just make sure the iron is UL listed and features 3-way auto shutoff, in case it's left on or gets knocked over. Because there is really no need for two irons and ironing boards to take up space in a dorm room, be sure to coordinate with your roommate. As for students who favor steamers, like irons, they too have heating elements; so, if you bring one to campus with you, just make sure it is a UL listed appliance that auto shuts off and is school approved. If you are on a tight budget, you may want to forego using the commercial dryers at the campus laundry to de-wrinkle your clothes. It can become a costly and energy consuming habit.

For those students who enjoy watching television and movies on their laptop or tablet, you just saved a little more space in your college dorm room. However, for those of you who do not enjoy the experience or use your electronics for other activities while watching the television, like many of us, it is fine to bring one with you as long as it is dorm room size.

At the end of the day, it’s your dorm room and you have to live in it. This is your home away from home and you should be able to bring whatever style of bedding, necessities, electronics, or school approved appliances to help you transition to and be successful at college. So get what you need, get organized, hit the books, and enjoy the ride.

As always, remember to check and respect your campus housing policies before shopping and packing for college and live dorm smart!

June 23, 2017

College First Aid Kits...


LIVE DORM SMART TIP: How To Make The Perfect First Aid Kit For College Students 

Build The Perfect College First Aid Kit For You
College is a long-term commitment so students need more than the typical over the counter first aid kit that contains only one or two doses of medications and a few bandages. They are costly and do not provide adequate medical supplies for a college student living away from home for an extended period. The best solution for college bound students is to stock their own first aid kit and stow it away in their dorm room for minor medical emergencies such as the flu, cuts, burns, headaches, cramps...

After extensive research, one of the best sources Team DormSmart has come across on how to make a first aid kit for college students is About.com. They have a great article that helps parents and students build a first aid kit for college in their teen health guide (content reviewed by their medical review board for accuracy). Additionally, their guide provides a wealth of helpful information about teen health and wellness... perfect for college students living away from home for the first time.

Using About.com's Guide, combined with a student's knowledge about their own personal medical history and needs, should help students to build the perfect first aid kit to take to college for the long term.

Live Dorm Smart!

June 3, 2017

Be Safe! Always use surge protectors with overload protection in your dorm room...



LIVE DORM SMART TIP:

Because college students operate or charge many small appliances and electronics in their dorm rooms such as a laptop, iPad, cell phone, mp4 player, TV/DVD combo, blow dryer, coffee maker, iron, vacuum... on a limited number of circuits, it's important to invest in quality UL listed surge protectors that provide 2-way protection:
  1. Protects their valuables from power surges; and
  2. Prevents students from overloading their circuits with an internal 15 Amp circuit breaker.
With overload protection, if a student operates too many small electronics or appliances at the same time, the surge protector will trip its internal 15 Amp circuit breaker letting them know they need to unplug something from the unit... turn something off. Once they reduce the overload, they just reset the surge protector and are good to go again!

University or college housing staff will love students who use surge protectors with overload protection because they didn’t trip the main circuit to their dorm room requiring a maintenance call or cause a fire resulting in property damage or loss of life by overloading a circuit.

Students will love surge protectors with overload protection because they won't have to go to class or out on date with wet hair or wrinkled clothes because maintenance couldn't get there on time! Live Dorm Smart!

Note: Always check the product manual and specifications before plugging a product into a surge protector or electrical outlet. Also, check your university or housing regulations regarding the use of surge protectors.

June 2, 2017

Planning a Smooth Move to College



The best advice I can give to incoming freshman about planning a smooth move to college is to shop and pack early! Speaking from experience, I understand that there are other things students would rather be doing during their last summer before college. Personally, I was more interested in hanging out with my friends and family as much as possible... okay, mostly friends. I was a master procrastinator, failing to realize the amount of work involved in planning my move to college. I had never lived on my own. If my mom had not dragged me through the whole process, I would have been completely unprepared for move-in weekend. Thanks, Mom!

When move-in weekend arrived, I was surprised by the number of students who were scrambling about to find the time to shop for basic essentials like bedding and shower supplies. At my college, students were given a day and a half to move in, unpack and organize their dorm rooms before classes commenced... all while being required to attend "sessions" and pick up their books simultaneously. There was barely enough time for students to move in and unpack let alone go shopping, even with their families lending a hand.

There are a number of advantages for incoming freshmen who plan,  shop and pack early for college:
1. Larger Variety of Products Available
If students wait until the last minute, they may find that many of the products they are interested in purchasing are sold out. Custom and made to order products like bedding, generally take longer to make and ship. Shopping early means that students have the luxury of selecting from a wider variety of dorm room supplies.
2. Quality Check
What happens if a purchase is damaged or disappointing? Shopping early allows students to do a quality check so there are no surprises during move-in weekend.
3. Avoid High Shipping Costs
Shopping early for college helps students to avoid the high costs associated with expediting the shipment of their purchases. If students are in a time crunch, a better alternative may be for students to have retailers ship their purchases directly to their campus.
4. Smooth Move
Shopping early gives students more time to pack properly for move-in weekend. Packing properly is key to a smooth move. My mom has a great system when packing for move-in weekend. Sort and pack your essentials by type (i.e. cooking supplies, school supplies, shower supplies...). As you pack, create a list to bring with you of what each box contains to make locating and unpacking for college quick and easy. If you are able, store you boxes and list for move-out weekend to make packing and storing your dorm room supplies over the summer just as smooth.
A smooth move to you and live Dorm Smart!

- Megan

May 27, 2017

Top Items College Students Forget to Bring to Campus


What items do college students forget to pack for their dorm room?

Good question, we frequently hear students or parents say they forgot:
  1. Tool Kit
  2. Waterproof Shower Bag or Caddy
  3. Surge Protectors
  4. Laundry Supplies
  5. Trash Can
Feel free to add to this list! And remember, if you forgot to pack an item, DormSmart.com can deliver your dorm supplies to your college campus...

Live Dorm Smart!

May 25, 2017

Shopping for Dorm Appliances Tip...

LIVE DORM SMART TIP:  The general rule of thumb students should use when buying appliances for their dorm room is this:

DO BUY appliances for your dorm room that are small in scale and can operate on a 110/120v plug. This information should be available on the products' packaging. Bottom line, buy dorm sized appliances.

DO NOT BUY any appliances with an open flame or open coil for your dorm room. Meaning, leave your hot plates and toasters at home. The majority of colleges and universities do not allow these appliances on campus as they consider them fire hazards. Additionally, electric skillets are generally frowned upon, anything where a piece of paper could touch it and catch fire. As for irons and coffeemakers, stick with quality auto shutoff products.

Always check your university or college housing regulations before buying dorm appliances. If you are confused, call DormSmart at 1-877-616-DORM and we'll contact them for you! You can also check our Housing Connector to see your school's policies.

Live Dorm Smart!