DormSmart Living Blog

July 21, 2015

How We Ship Orders from DormSmart



Because many of our students deliver dorm room supplies to their campus or just want to be able to track shipments to their front door, DormSmart only ships orders using trackable shipping services, usually referred to as premium shipping services by discount retailers. If you don't already know this... it is crazy busy on move in day and at times students have difficulty locating packages so it’s important to be able to track them. So the next time you are comparison shopping for college supplies, remember to factor in premium shipping services. Obviously, you get what you pay for.

Shop Smarter!

June 28, 2015

Affordable Twin XL Bedding for College Students



Comfortable, durable, and affordable twin XL bedding for budget conscious college students can be challenging to find when outfitting a dorm room. Thus far, I personally like our Royal Tradition product line. Their twin XL Egyptian cotton or bamboo sheets are comfortable, affordable, durable, and machine washable at the campus laundry. The only thing students need to keep in mind is that most Egyptian cotton wrinkles when washed, but it sure does feel good after a long day of classes or, for me, a long day at work.

Affordable Bedding for College
Affordable Twin XL Bedding by Royal Tradition
I personally use Royal Tradition bedding products at home, including their wrinkle resistant 100% Microfiber Reversible Coverlet and Matching Sham Set (starting at $70.29 delivered within the 48 Contiguous US States). Ideal for everyday use, this bedding just feels and looks good. The weight of these coverlets, 110gsm, is ideal for any weather. I use mine year round. The basic solid color selection can be used to create the perfect backdrop for more trendy patterned bedding accessories such as decorative pillows and throws.

Best of all, this bedding is durable and easily maintained. I dislike doing laundry so I enjoy knowing these are fairly simple to wash and hold up well after repeated washing. I’ve had my chocolate coverlet set and coordinating sage sheets for three years and they still look great. Just remember to always wash your linens according to the manufacturer’s instructions to prevent shrinkage and promote longevity.

At any rate, this affordable twin XL bedding in black, burgundy, chocolate, gold, ivory, linen, navy, sage, and white is one of my personal favorites and easy on the budget.

Live DormSmart!



June 18, 2015

Advice to Avoid When Shopping for College



Each school year, more articles pop up that give already nervous parents of college bound freshman bad advice when shopping for college dorm room supplies. It’s outrageous. We’ve gone from no advice for parents to a plethora of bad advice. Typically, I find many negative articles are written by individuals who failed to do their homework before shopping and wasted money; or, the article is just a promotional piece for affiliated retailers. Either way, it’s best to avoid advice that encourages parents and students to ignore school policy. It could be a costly shopping mistake if the items you purchase are school contraband or leave your student ill-prepared for college living.

College Shopping Advice Top Ten Offenders List

Top 10 Offenders List of Bad Shopping Advice and Why...

#1  What to Bring Lists are Useless


A school’s what to bring list is important because it provides students with the items they CAN bring into their campus housing, particularly a dorm room, and prevents them from overlooking items that they may find useful at school. At times, these lists do seem like a lot of stuff, but most of it is small and easily stored. Plus, students can coordinate with their roommate on certain items such as a Microfridge, vacuum, or iron to save space. At DormSmart, we always defer to school housing policies and checklists as the Holy Grail even if that means we don’t get the sale. At any rate, the checklist is a good starting point for incoming freshmen.

#2  Dorm Room Size Doesn’t Matter


Wrong. Just keep the size matters philosophy in mind when shopping for a college dorm room because it’s typically a smaller shared space than most students have at home.  Always select compact space saving items or as we say at DormSmart, “Dorm room size. It’s just wise!”

#3 Don’t Bother With Cleaning Supplies


I recently read an article that recommended not sending cleaning supplies to campus with students because they are all pigs.  Seriously, this type of advice is just worrisome. Dorm rooms and residence halls are incubators for germs, so it is best to encourage your student to disinfect their dorm room to avoid illness. Swine flu was a reality my daughter’s freshman year. I personally recommend sending cleaning supplies that are dorm room size and easy to use such as a compact vacuum cleaner, disinfectant spray, and disinfectant wipes. As always, be sure to coordinate with roommates. You only need one vacuum per room.

#4 Forget Raising Your Bed to Create Space


Not necessarily! Just because one parent could not raise their student’s bed and wasted money on bed risers because they failed to check their school’s policy… does not mean that every campus across the US has the same policy. Before shopping, check with your school to get your student’s dorm room dimensions, furniture requirements, and policies.  For example, my eldest daughter attended a university where the student could choose to bring an approved loft bed system or utilize the school’s furniture. It was their choice. However, the school had strict policies on how a student could raise their bed.  My  youngest daughter attended a university where the student must utilize school provided furniture but had a choice whether or not to bunk the beds.  Because it is unsafe to raise a bunked bed and against school policy, my daughter and her roommate chose to debunk their beds so they could raise them safely and create individual living spaces within the same dorm room. They then created under bed storage space using bed risers and a smart storage cart for easy access.  Again, it is important to get the information from your school beforehand and plan accordingly. Believe it or not, there are even a few schools across the US that do not allow bed risers on their campus.

#5 Students Cannot Properly Administer Medications So Don’t Send Them


I recently read an article where a parent recommended restricting over the counter medications because students may not properly administer them. At what point do students learn how to read directions?  Keep in mind that out-of state students may not be able to buy certain over the counter medications with an out of state ID. For this very reason, if your student is out of state, you may need to put together a kit that contains enough medication to see them through cold and flu season. It is also important to note that many students, out of state or in state, wait until they are too sick to shop for medications so plan accordingly. Your student can always call home or visit the campus clinic if they are unsure of what to take or the recommended dosage.

#6 Cheap Stuff Saves Money


Wrong. If it isn’t durable, don’t buy it because moving every year takes its toll. In addition, if your student plans to move into an apartment for year round living after freshman year, it’s smarter to purchase items that are durable and can easily transition from dorm room to apartment living to save time and money.

#7 Students Flying Should Use Store Pickup Services


When I read this one, it just cracked me up. Seriously, a publication recently advised that if your student must travel to campus via airlines, it would be best to utilize the “Click and Pickup” services of certain stores they recommended. My first thought… if they are flying to school, how will they conveniently pick up their off campus purchases? I think it would be smarter to shop beforehand and have those items shipped to campus. Just be sure to check your school’s policies regarding campus deliveries. As for storing items between school years, ask your school about local storage services.

#8 Bring a Really Long Power Strip with Lots of Outlets


Students have lots of electronics such as a phone, Microfridge, lighting, laptop, tablet, or blow dryer… you get the picture, so it is important to have surge protectors with “overload protection” to ensure their safety. Check your school housing policies to ensure you purchase the correct surge protectors when it comes to safely powering up your student’s dorm room. 

#9 Students Don’t  Cook in their Dorm Rooms


While they may not be preparing a 5 course meal, many students do snack in their dorm rooms. For that reason, we recommend a Microfridge that includes a microwave and refrigerator/freezer unit that guards students against circuit overloads and allows them to store and prepare a late night study snack or hot beverage. It’s also helpful when they are too sick to leave their room or on a limited budget and can’t afford to eat out. If your student is a coffee drinker, we recommend a single serve coffeemaker with no warming plate or glass carafe that has automatic shut off. Of course, it is IMPERATIVE that you check your student’s housing policies before purchasing any appliance and coordinate with their roommate. Just remember packing a few microwave reheat safe and BPA free break resistant dishes are a smarter choice over continually purchasing paper products. Two of each is always a nice rule of thumb.

#10 School Supplies are Antiquated


My youngest just graduated this year and is now preparing to attend law school in the fall. Because she is a current student, I ask her and her friends what they think about the school supplies section on our dorm room checklist every season. They said most professors have different rules regarding the use of technology in their classroom; so, at times, handwritten notes may be required. In addition, students may be prohibited from using anything but a standard calculator during test times. Even worse, your student is in big trouble if their system crashes, so keeping  a combination of handwritten and electronic notes may be the smarter choice. It really depends upon your student’s study habits, but school supplies are still a necessity. As for having a small printer in your student’s dorm room, one of my daughters was attacked on campus so I’d prefer she print in her dorm room during those late night study sessions or during times she is too busy to safely travel across campus.


At the end of the day, what you bring to your student’s campus dorm room depends on your school’s policies, the actual dorm room itself, and your student’s needs. Therefore, it is best to set a budget that you feel comfortable with and purchase items that are smart, housing compliant, and will help your student successfully transition to college living.  Don’t worry about what other parents think!

Good luck and live dorm smart!

March 25, 2015

High School Graduation is Fast Approaching: Are You Ready for Your Move to College?



It's Spring and all you can think about is the warm weather, spring break, the prom, finals, and high school graduation. With all the excitement buzzing around you, it can be difficult to focus on your impending move to college.


At some point over the next months, many of you will find mom or dad, maybe both, nagging you about preparing for your move to college. Just remember, this is a huge transition for both you and your parents so it is important to handle it appropriately so that you are prepared to be successful at school.



To help you get started, here are 3 tips to make preparing for a move into your college dorm room easier:

Tip 1: Plan Ahead. 

Do not procrastinate! It is important to plan ahead so that you can pace yourself, do a little at a time. For example, you can contact your housing office in advance to find out what to bring to campus on move in day and the dimensions of your dorm room to make shopping and packing for college easier.

Tip 2: Set Aside Time.

Schedule time each week to work with your parents on your move to college. This means no texting or distractions. Focus on what needs to be done during your scheduled time such as going through your room at home, coordinating with your college roommate, shopping for your dorm room supplies, and packing. 

Tip 3: Have Fun. 

Designing and decorating your dorm room should be fun. It is your first place away from home. Use this as an opportunity to spend some quality time with your family before leaving for college; make it fun and memorable by decorating your dorm room together.

November 25, 2014

How to Prepare Your Dorm Room for Winter Break…



"...Fall semester is coming to an end and winter break is just around the corner so be sure to prepare your dorm room for winter break before heading home for the holidays, read on..."

10 Things College Students Should Do to Prepare Their Dorm Room for Winter Break
  1. Lock Up Your Valuables… If you cannot take them home with you, it is important to remember to lock up your valuables in a secure place such as your dorm safe or college trunk.

  2. Insurance… Make sure your insurance policy is up to date to cover potential theft and prepare an itemized list including serial numbers of your valuables, snap a photo or two. Take this information with you.

  3. Defrost & Clean Your Dorm Room Micro fridge... before leaving campus for winter break. Dispose of all perishable items. Unplug your unit from the wall, leaving the door slightly ajar to prevent moisture buildup and smells. Hopefully, you have an auto defrost unit. However, if your mini fridge freezer is manual defrost, be sure to check your manufacturer's user manual about how to defrost your freezer; or about.com has a great mini fridge defrosting guide to assist you.

  4. Unplug All Electrical Appliances

  5. Clean & Organize Your Dorm Room… You will be busy with Spring Semester upon your return to campus so get your dorm room in order before you leave for winter break. Clean and organize your desk, closet… your entire room.

  6. Wash Your Laundry… Wash your clothes and dorm bedding prior to leaving campus, unless of course, you are taking your laundry home to mom. You will be tired from all the excitement and travel when you return to campus so a clean bed will be welcome.

  7. Take Out Your Trash… Do not leave a future science experiment in your dorm room! No one enjoys returning to a smelly moldy dorm room after winter break.

  8. Lower Your Thermostat... Your housing office should have a recommended temperature to save on heating costs without damaging your valuables while you are away.

  9. Secure Your Windows

  10. Lock Your Dorm Room Door

Just a few tips to live Dorm Smart! Happy Holidays!

November 1, 2014

Planning a Move to College or Boarding School Spring Semester



For students planning a move to college or boarding school spring semester, it is a great time to shop and save on dorm room supplies. During non peak shopping seasons parents and students will find retailers discounting items such as twin XL comforter sets, sheets, and more in their back to college or off to boarding school shopping aisles. So if you are a savvy shopper that appreciates a bargain, take advantage of  sales on dorm room essentials and decor during non peak seasons. Just another tip to prepare for smarter campus living from Team DormSmart!

October 25, 2014

Halloween Gift Baskets for Students



Spooktacular Halloween Gift Baskets for Students



Feeling nostalgic... maybe missing Halloween with your campus bound student? 

While it may not be the same as being there, celebrate the holiday with your student by sending a Halloween Gift Basket to their campus. DormSmart offers Free Standard Ground Shipping and Expedited Services on all gift baskets and care packages for students.


Just visit DormSmart.com to let your student know you are thinking about them on Halloween!

Live Dorm Smart!

August 8, 2014

TiK ToK: It’s Time for Many College Bound Students to Use Campus Direct Shipping



The summer hours are ticking away probably quicker than you imagined with your impending move to campus just around the corner. If you waited to shop for college and do not have time to wait for online purchases to be delivered at home or to drive from store to store enduring the crowds of back to school shoppers and picked over inventory, then I recommend shipping purchases to your college campus. Campus direct shipping will get your essentials to school without delaying your departure while reducing the cost, time, and stress associated with moving items from home to campus or driving from store to store to make purchases over an already busy move-in weekend.

Quick Tips for Students Shipping Online Purchases to Campus

  1. Be sure to use your “exact mailing address” for campus. For example, many colleges hyphenate the mailbox number next to a student’s name. This allows them to better sort through the thousands of packages that will be making their way to campus, ensuring that your items are not lost in the shuffle.
  2. Remember that packages arriving at school are typically not delivered to your dorm room rather they are sent to the campus mail room where you must retrieve them. Be sure to check your college or university’s policies for package pick-up.
  3. Most schools have a specific time frame for move-in shipments to begin arriving on campus so schedule your purchases accordingly.
  4. Understand the processing and shipping times of your online orders so you can allot enough time for them to arrive on campus. Be realistic and don’t sweat the small stuff; meaning, if it’s an item that may arrive a few days later than you, you can still pick it up once it gets there.

If you are someone like me who procrastinates, the best advice I can give you is do not panic and use campus direct shipping. Speaking from experience, I know this is an emotional time for you and your family. I understand that everyone wants move-in weekend to be perfect freshman year. Realistically, it probably won’t be perfect, more like chaotic, so laugh through it and make the weekend count. Assure your family that you can retrieve any packages that may not have arrived on campus for move-in weekend. You can finish your dorm room setup with your roommate, a little bonding time, and then send your family a picture once it is completed. Remind them that you will see them soon, and, for your sake and theirs, call them at least once a week so they can hear your voice. It will make the transition easier for everyone, trust me!

Hit the books, get involved in school approved activities, make new friends, and live dorm smart!