DormSmart Living Blog

June 3, 2017

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


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.

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

August 17, 2016

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, can deliver your dorm supplies to your college campus...

Live Dorm Smart!

May 18, 2016

How to Get Through High School Graduation

Somebody told me once that change happens quickly, you can try to manage it, but in today’s world, it is best if you just hold on tight and take the ride!

April is a crazy month for graduating high school seniors. If you are a senior reading this blog, you are probably feeling pulled in many directions right now and a little overwhelmed! Final papers and final exams are probably keeping you up at night as well as the uncertainty of the future such as college selection and acceptance, scholarships, awards… the list goes on and on! And what about those little details such as deciding what to wear for graduation or giving your parents the guest list for your graduation ceremony and graduation party… I think you get the picture.

My point! This is an exciting time in your life. In a few short weeks, it will all come together and you’ll be walking across that platform to receive your hard earned diploma and many decisions will be settled. We’ve all been there!

In the meantime, just take a deep breath and remember to focus on the important tasks and decisions at hand. Remember that both you and your family may be a little overwhelmed right now with this life changing event. You’re preparing to leave home and your family is preparing to let you go! It is a huge life change for everyone! So, while you may not be able to control change, you can make the transition easier for yourself and those close to you. Focus on the decisions and activities that require your undivided attention and allow your family to assist you with the rest. In the end, it will make high school graduation and your move to college a much happier experience and memory for everyone! Enjoy the ride! Live DormSmart!

Already attending college? Help your future underclassmen by sharing your high school graduation experience.

January 8, 2016

Planning a Move to Campus for Spring Semester

Spring semester is fast approaching which means shopping for and shipping dorm room supplies during an already busy holiday season for many college bound students. To ensure your dorm room supplies make it to your campus on time this January, it is important to understand the various shipping services offered by retailers today and their related transit times before shopping.

Actual transit time is the amount of time it takes your dorm supplies to reach your campus once they leave the retailer’s warehouse. When shopping for dorm supplies, the actual amount of time it takes to receive your order depends upon:

1.       How long it takes the retailer to process your order;
2.       The shipping service the retailer chooses to transport your order (transit time); and
3.       The proximity of the retailer’s warehouse to your college campus.

For example, if your college campus is located on the west coast and you purchase dorm supplies from a retailer who warehouses only in New York and utilizes a 5 to 10 days shipping service… odds are your dorm supplies will take closer to 10 business days to reach your college campus, maybe more, even if that retailer processes your order within 24 hours.

So if you are headed to campus this January, plan accordingly…  remember to factor in the time it takes a retailer to process your dorm supplies order, the actual transit time for your order to reach your college campus, the holiday rush, and the possibility of inclement weather.   Bottom line, it’s best to shop early to avoid delays and reduce costs!

To assist you in your dorm shopping this holiday season, here’s a breakdown of average transit times for standard shipping services typically used by today’s online retailers:

FedEx SmartPost5 to 10 Business DaysYes
UPS Ground1 to 5 Business DaysNo
FedEx Ground1 to 5 Business DaysYes
USPS Priority Mail2 to 3 Business DaysYes

Good luck this spring and remember to live Dorm Smart!

August 13, 2015

Last Minute Words of Wisdom for Parents of College Bound Freshmen

Off to College ImageCrunch time is here, and it's time for one of the most precious people in your life to leave the nest for college. I started DormSmart because of my personal experiences as a parent of college age children, so I am happy to share my experience with others. I hope it helps to make this transition a little easier for you.

For me, I experienced a mixed bag of emotions. I was proud of my children's accomplishment but worried for their safety living away from home for the first time. Of course, my daughters thought that meant I didn't trust them when the reality is, I don't trust the world with them. I wanted everything to be perfect in their dorm room so they would adjust, and I would feel better knowing I left them prepared and in good living conditions. Of course, they didn't appreciate it as much as they should have at that time and just wanted me to leave campus so they could start their college adventure. I felt both happy that my children were so excited about this new chapter in their life and frustrated that my children were so excited about this new chapter in their life, especially the leaving home part. At times, I took my frustration out on those around me, even strangers like retail clerks or school officials. For lack of a better word, I was just panic-stricken.

If I can impart any wisdom from my personal experience as a parent of college bound freshmen, it would be this...

  • I can promise that your student doesn't realize they are still that little bundle of joy that you brought home about 18 years ago, so they cannot fully appreciate the feelings you are experiencing as a parent. Rest assured that attitude will change when they have their own bundle of joy. At that time, they will appreciate you more and realize that parenting does not end when you leave them on their college campus. It never ends.
  • I can promise you that they will make some missteps as they embark upon this college journey, but the values and lessons that you instilled in them will ultimately prevail.
  • I can promise you that everything will not be perfect on move-in day and your student's lack of interest in making everything perfect will upset you because they mentally moved out over the summer and just want you to go home. Just remember they still love and need you; and, at the first sign of trouble, you'll probably get a phone call.
  • I can promise you that they won't call home enough, and you will worry yourself sick. I remember telling my daughters repeatedly, "Don't text me. Rather, call me, so I know it's really you." I have learned that when I don't hear from my daughters, it's usually because they are happy and safe. Typically, I hear more from them when they need me.
  • Lastly, I can promise you this... there are no guarantees in life, and you cannot control the world; but, if something does happen, the love and bond that you share with your student will be your greatest strength and see you through it. My youngest was attacked on campus her freshman year, and I just cannot put into words the amount of fear, guilt, and grief I felt as her mother; but, we got through it and she's starting law school this week. The only other time in my life I felt that kind of fear was every day that my middle daughter was deployed to Iraq.

At the end of the day, just take a deep breath, have faith, be flexible when things don't go perfectly on move-in weekend, let your student know you love them, and live in this moment because it's a precious time that you will fondly remember and so will they.

July 31, 2015

Money Saving Tip for College Freshmen Shopping for Twin XL Bedding

Save Money When Shopping for Twin XL Bedding for College

It's true. You do need a twin XL fitted sheet, bed bug protection, mattress topper, and pad for a good night's sleep on the typical dorm room twin XL mattress. While a twin XL comforter set is preferable, if you plan to move from your dorm room with a twin XL bed into an apartment with a larger full or queen size bed by your sophomore year of college and money is an issue, you may want to consider purchasing a full or queen size comforter set instead of a twin XL comforter set to save yourself a little money in the long run; especially, if you are going to raise your dorm room bed for storage. As long as the comforter is 90 inches or longer and the pattern works on the bed, you can make it work in your dorm room. The additional length on the sides can be used to hide the stored items underneath your raised bed so you won't need to invest in a twin XL bed skirt. 

Best of all, when you move from your dorm room into an apartment next year, you'll only need to buy new sheets, bed bug protection, a mattress topper, and pad because your comforter set should fit if you planned accordingly. You’ll also have two matching pillow shams instead of one.

Just a money saving tip for budget challenged college bound freshmen from DormSmart. Remember, we carry many options for every budget. Many of the products on our virtual shelves are hand selected to grow with college students from their dorm room to their next space to save money during and beyond college.

Shop Smarter!

July 24, 2015

Announcement: DormSmart Adds Product Reviews

Clip arts

Extra! Extra!

DormSmart adds product reviews to our online storefront. 

It’s been challenging to set up product review guidelines that give students an actual assessment of the product’s performance, especially in a dorm room setting where product selection may be limited by housing policy, but we came up with a few.

For example, our product review guidelines:

  • Only allow product reviews by verified buyers. While this method may take some time to build the number of reviews for shoppers, they can be assured that the reviews are from a credible source. 
  • Require more than one or two words. We want to know what shoppers like about the product and  how they used it.
  • Only allow reviews about actual product performance. What isn’t allowed that seems to plague many review systems these days and is unfair to potential buyers and the manufacturer of the product are reviews unrelated to actual product performance (i.e. promotions by competitors, complaints about price or ship times, and off the wall comments…). 

Our ultimate goal is to keep product reviews pure for students while being fair to manufacturers, only providing feedback that assesses actual product performance. We hope we’ve done that and all verified buyers will participate.

Shop smarter and live DormSmart!