DormSmart Living Blog: Things Your Student's Dorm Room Doesn't Need or Do They...

December 31, 2011

Things Your Student's Dorm Room Doesn't Need or Do They...


Just My Opinion: "I read an article recently about 10 things your kid's dorm room doesn't need... It made me chuckle because they used the word kid which would send my student off the deep end. The author then proceeded to generalize about college students and universities as if they are all the same. I think the author's intent was to caution parents about overspending on dorm room supplies and encourage them to save space. I agree, parents and students need to be practical. That's why at DormSmart, we always tell students to make their checklist... shop at home first then go shopping.

Unfortunately, the author seemed so focused on short-term cost savings that they overlooked an important point... a dorm room is a student's first step toward independent living so it needs to be their home away from home. Their dorm room should create an environment that promotes student success and makes the transition to college life easier. After all, college is a huge investment and we want to do everything we can as parents to protect that investment, ensure our student's success. Let's face it, we won't save money if our student fails to adjust and has to repeat classes

As a parent and specialty retailer, I found a good portion of the author's advice to be impractical for college bound students. Read on..."

Impractical: No college student irons clothes so don't bring an iron, use the dryer touch up button...

Really? My daughter is a business major and some activities actually require ironing. Her friend is ROTC and wears uniforms that must be pressed. When your student is 12 hours from home, it may be a little difficult to iron their clothes for them. So if your student needs to iron, you are better off packing a 1200 watt (or less) 3-way auto shutoff iron and a dorm size ironing surface that is safe and easily stored. As for suggesting students use the touch up/wrinkle free option on their dryer. Actually, I don't think commercial dryers in the dorm laundry rooms have a wrinkle free option and it certainly is not FREE, especially over four years!

Impractical: Most dorms supply perfectly good desk chairs so don't waste your money on furniture... 

It really depends on the school. When we moved our daughter into her dorm room, we secretly went up and down the halls of her residence hall, room by room, trying to locate two desk chairs that were still intact for her and her roommate. Afterwards, we spent days trying to find the right cushion to make it more comfortable. Bottom line, don't assume the furniture provided by the university will be right for your student. You know your student better than anyone. Do they need a comfortable chair?

Impractical: If you find your student cannot live without a coffeemaker allow them to plunder your kitchen appliances during Christmas break... 

NEVER send your student to school with your regular size kitchen appliances (i.e. 12 cup coffeemaker). Pack dorm size appliances that auto shutoff, contain no hot plates, operate on a standard 110/120v plug, and are UL or ETL listed. And because regulations vary from school to school, always check with the university housing office before investing in any appliance.

Impractical: Send your old television to school with your student or give them their uncle's old tube television... 

Isn't that like sending your student to their dorm room with an old mainframe computer instead of a laptop? A dorm room is a small space so electronics need to be dorm sized. I purchased an inexpensive 15" LCD/DVD television for my daughter and it fit perfectly in her small dorm room. Bottom line, sending your student with an old tube television is not a good space saving idea at all. If you are concerned about theft or accidental damage, consider purchasing student property insurance. It is relatively inexpensive.

Impractical: College trunks are out of vogue because they do not fill a purpose...

College trunks have changed a lot and are more popular than ever. They come in many shapes and sizes to fit in the smallest of dorm rooms while providing a wealth of storage space. College trunks are also available with options such as easy glide removable wheels and locking systems to secure a student's laptop, phone, and food... Additionally, a good quality trunk can be multi purposed,used as a night stand or extra dorm room seating and storage.

Impractical: Matchy matchy dorm bedding is too pricey. Save money, just pack the bare essentials... 

Because a good night's sleep is a must have for college students and we are yet to visit a college campus with a comfortable dorm room bed, parents should consider investing in a comfortable mattress topper and bedding. In addition, many dorm room beds are twin XL in size, longer than the standard twin bed found at home so your twin fitted sheet from home will not fit a twin XL bed.

Bottom line... if you find yourself shopping for comfortable bedding to fit your student's twin XL bed properly, take the opportunity to brighten up their bland dorm room and chase away those freshman blues. As for pricey, there are many affordable quality bedding options for students in today's dorm supplies marketplace, including duvet sets (much easier and cheaper to launder than the typical comforter set). If your student can find affordable bedding (dorm decor) that makes their dorm room look like Pottery Barn then good for them. After all, it is their first home away from home!

Good luck getting your student off to college! Live Dorm Smart!

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