College Lifestyle and Product Blog for Dorm Room Living | DormSmart: College Life

Showing posts with label College Life. Show all posts
Showing posts with label College Life. Show all posts

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

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!

July 24, 2015

Why Give Your Money to the Campus Coffeehouse? Brew Smarter in Your College Dorm Room and Save!

If you’re anything like me and 150 million other Americans, coffee is an essential part of your daily routine. Whether you drink the average 3.1 cups per day according to the National Coffee Association, simply need a cup to get you going in the morning, use caffeine as a study aid before big tests, or just crave a cup in the afternoon, students alike will find that it continues to be an important source of fuel throughout their college career; and, we all know how expensive it can be to buy coffee at your favorite campus coffeehouse. Most college students, including myself, are on a tight budget and cannot afford to spend the average $2.38 for a plain brewed cup of coffee or $3.45 on a specialty coffee once a day, let alone multiple times. A daily habit could be costing you over $100 a month, a big bite out of a student's budget. 

Fortunately for students, the Hamilton Beach FlexBrew Coffeemaker Brew Package offers an affordable solution to your overpriced coffee woes with a few added benefits. 

  • At a mere $112.98, these brew packages include a competitively priced hospitality grade coffeemaker and 100 individually sealed European Coffeehouse Blend gourmet coffee pods by Java Brewing Company available in decaf or regular.
  • This coffee maker is specifically designed for high traffic community living, meaning they are made to last. 
  • Whether you are a freshman or seasoned upperclassman, you will find that most colleges only permit certain appliances. These coffeemakers are ideal for student living because they are UL Listed, auto shutoff, low wattage, and use no breakable glass carafes or warming plates, making them the safer choice. 
  • For you space challenged dorm dwellers, the FlexBrew is compact and takes up considerably less space than more expensive coffeemakers while offering the same great taste. 
  • They are K Cup, Soft Pod, and coffee ground compatible, so your coffee options are many.
  • Not a coffee lover? Not a problem! These coffeemakers can also be used to brew tea and cocoa for your other favorite hot drink options. 
  • Using coffee pods means no measuring or messy clean up. Within minutes, you can enjoy a freshly brewed cup of coffee without the hassle. This also means you won’t be stuck with an old pot of coffee at the end of the day, saving you time and money. 
  • Conveniently located in your dorm room, you can brew a quick cup of joe at any time even when your campus coffeehouse is closed at night or you are running late in the morning. 
  • Because they are made to stand up to repeated use, these coffee makers are not limited to dorm room living but will last throughout your college career and can be used in your first apartment or home. 

For those of you who must have your gourmet coffee fix, these brew packages can also be upgraded to include a variety selection of 108 Jo Coffee Single Serve Cups. Averaging less than $1 per cup, this coffee is a great way to get that specialty coffee taste at home for less than half the price of a cup at your favorite coffeehouse. Handcrafted using specialty beans from the top 2% of pure Arabica raw coffee worldwide, these coffee cups are offered in three unique flavors, New York Jo, Morning Jo, and Wild Jo. Not only does this coffee offer a superior taste, but it is also USDA Certified Organic, Fair Trade Certified, Kosher Certified, and Non-GMO with no additives. In addition, the eco-friendly filter cup technology serves to create the smoothest brewing extraction. Best of all, students can reorder these coffee cups throughout the semester on in quantities of 36, 72, or 108 cups. 

While I personally cannot deny my love for the occasional specialty coffee at my campus coffeehouse, my bank account certainly appreciates the daily use of a coffee maker at home. Combined with the flavorful coffee pods or cups included in this package, and your coffee needs will be easily fulfilled each semester! Be sure to enjoy your favorite beverage responsibly from now on with your FlexBrew Coffeemaker and gourmet Jo Coffee Cups.   

Brew Smarter! 

May 31, 2014

How to Shop for College Campus Living

How to shop for college campus living!
How to Shop for College
Over the next few months, college bound students will find themselves overwhelmed by all the hype of shopping for their college dorm room or campus apartment. To assist students, Dorm Smart has compiled three quick tips about how to shop smart for living on a college campus:

Tip 1: Consult your school student housing policies yourself…

College bound students or in this case, campus bound, should always consult their school housing policies for what to bring and what not to bring to campus. Don’t take any retailers word for it, even if a retailer states they are “Campus Approved” or “School Approved” stores. What harm is there in connecting with your school and checking their policies yourself before shopping?

Remember, you are solely responsible for checking and respecting your college housing policies, so do your homework.

Tip 2: Shop at  home first…

Once students have consulted their school housing policies and know what they can bring to their college campus, DormSmart recommends they shop at home first to save a few dollars. Afterward, they can compile a shopping list of the items they need to purchase for their move to college.

Tip 3: Focus on products verses back to college shopping campaigns…

Regardless of how well a retail store presents themselves in their back to college shopping campaign or online shop, it is important for students to remember these are advertisements to gain sales. It is best to focus on product attributes to ensure they are school approved or appropriate for living in a dorm room or apartment on your college campus.

Here are a few examples of pitfalls to avoid:
Example 1:
During the back to college shopping season, students will find retailers selling “86 inch long” standard twin comforters and duvets as twin XL. Unfortunately, to properly fit an 80 inch extra long twin mattress, a comforter or duvet should be a minimum of 90 inches in length. To ensure a proper fit, it is best for students to check the actual bedding dimensions verses depending upon a package or ad labeling the product as twin XL. Also, students should be cautious of product photos that make the bedding appear longer. Bottom line, while bedding dimensions and their labeled sizes seem to vary in the marketplace, a twin XL mattress is still 80 inches long.
Example 2:
Students will undoubtedly come across retailers selling colorful toaster ovens, toasters, hot pots, hot plates, knife sets, and more as dorm room appropriate in their back to college aisles. Many colleges and universities consider these items either unsafe or have restrictions for bringing them on campus. For example, many colleges regulate the size and type of a knife that students can bring into their residence halls and strictly prohibit many small appliances, such as a toaster, in residence hall dorm rooms.
At the end of the day, whether students choose to shop at DormSmart or another retailer, remember colleges and universities have the final say about what students can bring or not bring into their campus residence halls. So save yourself some  time, money, and frustration by checking your school’s housing policies and respecting them… before shopping for college.

Live Dorm Smart!

More Helpful Articles for Students by DormSmart:

November 24, 2012

The Decision to Go Greek or Not

The Decision to Go Greek or NotFor many of you, it’s time to make the decision whether or not to pledge a Greek organization in the new year. For some students, it’s an easy decision and for others not so easy. The great thing about joining school approved organizations, like Greek, is that they provide students with a platform to network, volunteer within their community and hone their social skills before embarking upon a career.

However, speaking as an executive experienced in handling career development and employment activities for many companies over the years, I want students to understand that while Greek life may open doors for students, it cannot assure them of better career opportunities over non Greeks and should not be a deciding factor. From intern to CEO, my employment decisions and the numerous companies I represented were always based on criteria such as education, work experience, past performance, knowledge, skills, abilities, attitude and motivation… essentially what the applicant could offer the company in that particular job role and in the future. Whether or not a job applicant participated in Greek life was never a consideration for employment at any level.

So if you find yourself struggling with the decision about whether or not to go Greek this year… ask yourself if it feels right for you and if so, how will it benefit you. If you are passionate about it and can afford it, go for it. If money is an issue, there are many affordable and well respected student organizations in lieu of Greek where you can participate and learn. If you don’t have an interest in going Greek, don’t waste your time and money or theirs.

If you do decide to go Greek but are not selected… remember that no one likes to be picked last or feel left out of a social circle, yet everyone has experienced it at some point in their life. As a parent I would remind you that the majority of students in the US are non Greek. I would then tell you to pick yourself up and dust off your boots because there are many student organizations left to explore that may ultimately be a better fit and overall experience for you. Lastly, I would tell you to be supportive of those friends who were selected.

Regardless of what you choose to do… remember that going Greek won’t be the deciding factor in your future. The true predictor of who you will be one day and your success is YOU! So stay in school, participate in lots of school sponsored organizations and activities, study, and always live Dorm Smart!

November 17, 2012

Planning the Best Class Schedule for Next Semester

As the end of the semester nears, many students begin thinking about their class schedule for next semester. It is always a good idea to plan ahead, creating alternate schedules prior to your assigned class selection date. Planning ahead also allows students to schedule classes at times that work best for them.

For example:
  • If you do not function at your best during early morning hours, typical of many college students, planning ahead allows you to pick out afternoon classes with later start times. 
  • If you are a non-traditional student or have a work schedule to consider, you can explore night or weekend class options. 
  • If you are the type of student who cannot focus enough to sit through 5+ hours of classes, plan ahead to give yourself breaks or spread your class schedule throughout the week, attending fewer hours each day. 
  • If you are like me and prefer to have as many school free days as possible during the week, take all of your classes on two days. 

Consider the pros and cons of each schedule type, such as... scheduling all of your classes on two days may mean taking multiple midterms on the same day with no study breaks in between while taking later classes may possibly cut into your free time. It's best to figure out what type of schedule will allow you to be the most productive.

Don't forget... to create alternate schedules in case some classes are full.

Always check... with your academic advisor to ensure that you have selected the appropriate classes for your degree program.

All you need to do now is...  pick up your books, show up for your scheduled classes, do your homework, study, and live Dorm Smart!


May 6, 2012

Staying on Campus for the Summer

The idea of living on campus during the summer may seem a little dull at first. You miss your family and friends from home, and your college friends seem to have all disappeared after finals. What is there to do in this ghost town? Relax! Regardless of your reason for staying on campus this summer (i.e., taking classes, working, or being involved in an extracurricular activity), there are plenty of affordable ideas to keep yourself entertained and to make your summer a memorable one.

1. Get Adventurous

Be a tourist in your college city. Attend a local athletic event. Seek out the local attractions such as the zoo, museums, parks, restaurants, shops, and historical landmarks.

2. Get Ahead

Use your spare time this summer to your advantage when it comes to your studies. Prepare for next semester by buying or renting your books early, reading ahead, organizing your materials for each class, and perfecting your schedule.

3. Get Involved

Community service is a rewarding way to spend some of your extra time this summer. Not to mention, you will be fulfilling some volunteer hours. Consider getting involved with Habitat for Humanity, a local hospital, or even an animal shelter. Contact your student resource center for more information.

4. Get Active

It's summer time! There are always plenty of great activities to do outside such as playing Frisbee, running, hiking, biking, swimming, visiting a local park, or even joining a recreational league softball team for the summer. Consider starting a new workout routine at your school gym!

5. Get Sociable

Chances are that you are not the only student staying on campus this summer. If none of your friends are on campus, get to know some of your fellow summer residents. Invite them to a night out together. Host a game or movie night. Plan a scavenger hunt. Make plans with your fellow residents for the fourth of July!

These are only a few examples of what you can do to make your summer fun-filled and exciting. So...Start enjoying your summer and live Dorm Smart!

April 9, 2012

What is it like to live in a freshman residence hall and dorm room?

Moving away from home and transitioning into college life can be both exciting and intimidating, especially when it comes to moving into a tiny dorm room in a freshman residence hall. All residence halls have their own unique way of life and set of rules so when you are choosing your housing preferences, be sure to get a little background information about where you would be living to make the best choice for you. Just remember to…

Expect Challenges

Living in a residence hall comes with challenges, the worst being noise and space! So learning to deal with noisy neighbors, crowded bathrooms, and sharing a small dorm room with a stranger are all realistic challenges for an incoming freshman. Sometimes you just need to DEAL and other times noise canceling headphones can be your best friend. Seriously!

Be a Team Player

Most residence halls meet to create a list of rules that everyone is expected to follow, so be sure to participate and voice your concerns at these hall meetings.

Get to Know Your RA

RAs exist not only to make sure that you are following the rules but to unite your hall and help ease your transition into dorm life.

Get to Know Your Fellow Hall Mates

Residence halls often provide hall activities so that those who live there can mingle and spend time together. Making the effort to get to know your fellow hall mates can lead to great friendships and a good support system for college.

While the prospect of living on campus in a freshman residence hall with total strangers may seem intimidating right now, at the end of the day, it will prove to be one of your most exciting experiences yet.

Live Dorm Smart!

Choosing Between An Old Friend Or Someone New As A College Roomie

Let’s face it. One of the biggest adjustments you will make when moving to college is moving into a residence hall. Unfortunately, most dorm rooms in freshman residence halls do not feature glamorous apartment style living where you have your own bedroom and personal space. In all likelihood, you will be sharing a cramped room, smaller than your bedroom at home, with at least one roommate. While the prospect of doing this with a complete stranger seems terrifying, making the decision to room with an old friend can be a far worse experience.

Here are a few things to consider when choosing between an old friend or someone new as a college roomie:

Life Experience 

One of the benefits of attending college, other than getting an education of course, is gaining new life experiences. Learning to live with someone new at college is exactly that… a new life experience! It’s also a great way to branch out and meet new people of varying backgrounds, expanding your horizons.

Personality Traits

Choosing to room with a friend can put a lot of stress on a relationship. Just because you get along well with your friend at school or when hanging out does not mean that you can live together in harmony. Maybe you admire that your friend is the spontaneous one who could care less about what others think while you are the clean and responsible one. This could translate into your trying to adjust to a disorganized roommate when you need organization to make good grades. Spontaneity may be something you need in small doses. So to save your friendship you may want to take advantage of your school’s housing tools to find a roomie with similar personality traits that will translate into a well organized and clean living space for you.

Setting Boundaries 

The idea of moving into your dorm room with a stranger can be intimidating, especially the first time you do it! The idea of rooming with an old friend may seem more comfortable because they are like family. Speaking of family… remember those times at home when you fought with a sibling over clothing or when your mom got mad at you for taking her hairspray? When you have a new roomie, you’re not as comfortable borrowing their things without permission. It’s much easier to set clear boundaries when living with someone new. And if it doesn’t work out with your new roomie, it won’t cost you an old friend.

Regardless of whom you choose to room with at college, be sure that you have agreeable personalities and can set clear boundaries.

Live Dorm Smart!

April 6, 2012

Dorm Laundry Tip: Make laundry a little easier at college...

Make laundry a little easier for yourself while you are away at college:

  • Set a schedule to do laundry. It's best to select a time when your campus laundry isn’t the busiest. If possible coordinate with a roommate or friend to make doing laundry a little less boring.

  • Stock up on laundry supplies. The chore takes a whole lot longer when you have to run out to the store on laundry day to pick up supplies.

  • Invest in a laundry backpack, bag, or unit with a sorter to keep your laundry sorted throughout the week.

  • Treat stains as they occur so you don’t have to spend hours trying to get a stain out or make costly replacements.

  • Stay with your laundry or set an alarm five minutes prior to your machine cycle end. Otherwise, your laundry may go missing.

  • Fold, hang, and put away your laundry right away to stay organized throughout the week.

Live Dorm Smart!

March 12, 2012

Stuck On Campus Over Spring Break? Plan A Staycation… Get the Dorm 411!

Not every college student can afford a trip over spring break, which may mean staying on campus. Instead of stressing about it or feeling left out, be proactive and plan a staycation! There are plenty of things you can do to create an affordable, fun-filled, and relaxing Spring Break Staycation on and around your college campus.

1.  Be a Tourist

You may be surprised by all of the interesting places you have yet to see in your college town (i.e. zoo, museums, parks, and historical landmarks…). Take this time to explore and learn more about your new home as a tourist.

2.  Evening Out with Fellow Staycationers 

Staying on campus over spring break does not mean that you cannot go out and have some fun. Check out that new movie you’ve wanted to see or eat at that local cafĂ© that you have wanted to try for some time now.

3.  Be a Fan 

Go out and support your college team! If there are no home games scheduled over spring break, see if there are any minor league games taking place in the city. If whether permits, maybe tailgate before the game.

4.  Movie Night or Game Night 

If you do not feel like going out, try hosting a movie or game night for fellow staycationers in your residence hall. It is a fun and inexpensive way to spend an evening getting to know new people!

5.  Local Happenings 

Most colleges have a resource center that works to connect students with their surrounding city by keeping them informed about local happenings. Stop by your school resource center to get connected to local events taking place in your college town over spring break.

6.  Holiday Celebrations 

If your spring break happens to fall over the holiday, you can plan a celebration with your fellow staycationers. Everyone can bring food and introduce their holiday traditions. This is a great way to experience other cultures and expand your horizons without leaving campus.

7.  Scavenger Hunts 

Planning your own scavenger hunt is a great way for staycationers to get out and explore. Whether on campus or throughout the surrounding city, the search will keep you and your new friends entertained for hours! 

8.  Community Service 

With all of this extra time on your hands, it may be a great time to get in some volunteer hours. Contact your student resource center to learn about local volunteer opportunities available over spring break such as Habitat for Humanity or at a local animal shelter. You and your friends will have fun meeting new people all while helping those in need.

9.  Fun in the Sun 

Some great activities for staycationers in warm weather include going to the park, playing frisbee, getting a team together for a softball game, going hiking, going biking, or even swimming.

10. Get Ahead of the Class 

Once you have relaxed, use the remaining day or two of spring break staycation to get ahead in all of your classes. Read ahead, work on those final essays, study for your midterms, or spend time working on upcoming projects. When school starts back up, you will be relieved that you accomplished so much and did not procrastinate! 

So go ahead … enjoy your Spring Break Staycation and live Dorm Smart!

February 16, 2012

Make or (Spring) Break It: Tips for Avoiding College Travel Disasters

"If you are planning a spring break trip and need a few tips, then you'll want to read this article by Hannah Purnell of Hannah gives some great tips for a fun yet safe spring break vacation!" 

"...As spring break looms near, college kids all over are gearing up for fun away from the watchful eyes of parents, coaches, and instructors. But kicking back doesn’t have to mean losing control. Here’s how to pull off a spring break trip that’s relaxing, memorable, and most importantly, safe... read on at"

February 4, 2012

What do I pack for a visit home from college over break?

I don't know what to bring home or
what to leave on campus over break?
To help you pack and make traveling home from college a little easier over break... we've come up with a few tips:

Tip #1 Create a “To Do List”

It is always a busy time on campus before each break. To make life a little easier for yourself, consider creating a quick “To Do List” a week in advance to prepare for your trip home (i.e. prepare your dorm room, packing list, return books, take care of pets…).

Tip #2 Only Pack the Essentials

If traveling home by airplane, only pack the essentials. Most airlines impose hefty fees for additional luggage and overweight baggage.

If carpooling home, remember you have to share the storage space in your vehicle with other students. Depending on the size of the ride and number of passengers, storage space may be limited.

If driving home on your own, remember YOU have to pack and haul everything from your dorm room to your car. Even worse, when you return to campus, YOU have to unpack and haul everything back into your dorm room.

Hint: This may be a great time to invest in a few space saving storage bags to make packing for visits home from college more manageable.

Tip #3 Pack Seasonal Items – Save Dorm Space

If you do have the space in your vehicle, take advantage of it and pack seasonal items you no longer need to create additional space in your dorm room. There will also be less to pack when you return home (move out of your dorm room) for summer break.

Tip #4 Mom

Whether preparing to travel home from college via airplane, carpool, or driving yourself… keep in mind that mom probably has purchased everything you’ll need in anticipation of your visit. If you are unsure about what to pack for a visit home from college, mom is just a phone call or text message away.

As always, live dorm smart!

Home From College But Where's My Bedroom?

When you head home from college during break, don’t be surprised if there have been some big changes at home, including your bedroom, read on...

Home From College But Where's My Bedroom?
When my eldest daughter, Jamie, left for Radford University she told me repeatedly that she was not planning to come home for school breaks. She wanted to travel on spring break with friends and in the summers take on different jobs, maybe by the beach. As a first time parent of a college bound freshman, initially I tried to hang on tight and force her home, unsuccessfully!

Feeling the loss one afternoon, shortly after Jamie’s birthday, I could no longer bear to look at her empty room so I packed up and stored her things, moved her youngest sister into her bedroom... then turned her sister’s room into a personal space for myself. When Jamie finally came home, she felt a little lost and betrayed, as if she didn’t belong anymore. So here is my advice for both students and parents…

Advice for College Bound Freshman

When you leave for college, remember mom and dad may initially feel a little lost. After all, just 24 hours before dropping you off in your campus dorm room far away from home your mom may have had to help you find a missing article of clothing you just had to take to campus while dad probably loaded all your stuff into the car. Just imagine how scary it must feel for your parents to leave you on campus alone. So while you may be feeling that new found independence of a college freshman, don’t pull a “Jamie” and repeatedly tell your parents you are never coming home to live again. While you may not intend it to be hurtful, it does sting a little. To this day, Jamie and I laugh about it because she has moved home on more than one occasion since leaving for college.

If you do come home for summer break to find your bedroom has been turned into an art or photography studio, try not to take it personally. Maybe mom just needed to make changes to help her adjust to your leaving the nest. If your old room means that much to you and you feel robbed of your space, talk to your mom about how you are feeling but keep in mind that you are an adult now and will soon be moving from your dorm room into your first place so does it really matter where you sleep if it helps mom let go?

Advice for Parents of College Bound Freshman

When your student leaves for college, especially your first born, it can be heart wrenching. While you may feel excited for them, you may also feel a sense of loss. Those feelings should pass in time and be replaced with a new found independence of your own, meaning you have a little more time to pursue your own interests. If those interests require the use of your student’s bedroom you may want to ease them into the transition… Don’t let your student come home from college for summer break and be surprised by the changes, work it out ahead of time. Just remember, most of us felt a sense of loss when our childhood bedroom was no longer ours… it’s a natural progression.

Good luck to your entire family this coming school year and remember to live dorm smart!

December 29, 2011

The 5 Worst Mistakes I Made My Freshman Year At College... Get the Dorm 411!

"...I was so excited my freshman year of college. I could not wait to move into my dorm room, meet new people, and have new experiences. Surprisingly, all of this newfound freedom left me feeling a little lost. As a result, I made a few common freshman mistakes along the way..."

1. Getting involved with the older coeds…
Somehow I thought I needed to be a part of the in crowd. Of course, at that time, I was a freshman at Tulane University… far from home and the comfort of my family and childhood friends. Being insecure in my newfound freedom, I thought it was so cool being one of the only freshmen invited to their parties. My advice for incoming freshman is to be yourself, and the right friends will surface in process.
2. Getting involved in a romantic relationship…
The right relationships can be fun. It is nice to go out, meet new people, and experience new things. However, college is a time of self discovery so getting involved too soon in a serious romantic relationship can completely derail you, both personally and professionally. Enjoy the college experience.
3. Not taking campus safety seriously…
One of my biggest mistakes and the hardest to share with readers… I felt invincible, like it couldn’t happen to me… I was wrong. I trusted a friend. I went to his dorm room to study alone and became a victim. BIG MISTAKE! Always take precautions on and off campus. For example, only study and travel in groups, carry personal safety products approved for your campus, lock you dorm door even when you are there, and don’t allow yourself to become impaired by alcohol. Live smart, and stay safe!
4. Failing to balance…
One of the hardest things for most college students their freshman year, myself included, is learning to balance personal activities, classes, and study time. College is a balancing act that must be performed throughout life, so it is the perfect opportunity to master this skill. Classes are only a semester or quarter long, so do not procrastinate when it comes to studying. Once you are behind, it is almost impossible to catch up. If you’ve been skipping classes, your professor will not be sympathetic. Bottom line, while it is important to set a schedule for personal activities to alleviate stress and create a sense of belonging, it is equally important to attend class and study consistently. Balance!
5. Failing to take care of my health…

Freshman year, I was all about working out, rock hard abs. However, between going out, pulling all nighters, and failing to maintain a healthy diet, I got sick a lot! As a result of my lifestyle, I struggled to maintain my grades. As an honor student on a full ride academic scholarship at one of the top 50 business schools in the country, failing to eat properly and get enough sleep were not my smartest choices.
In hindsight, all of the mistakes that I made my freshman year came from a place of insecurity, leaving the comforts of home and my childhood friends to embark upon a new adventure. Oddly enough, I grew up with a strong sense of self; so it surprised me, my friends, and my family. Trust in yourself. Don’t lose sight of who you are throughout your freshman year. If you have already started making these mistakes, just remember… it is never too late to make changes and redeem yourself.

Live Dorm Smart,


November 11, 2011

My job needs me to work over my next school break but my RA tells me our dorm is closed. What can I do? I need a place to stay... Get the Dorm 411!

Don’t stress! With the proper planning, you are sure to find a safe place to stay near your college campus and keep your job. Here are a few suggestions:

Campus Housing Programs
Check with your campus housing officials to see if they have an alternate housing option available to you (i.e., a residence hall that remains open for students who cannot go home over break or a host family program…).

Friends | House Sitting
Stay with a friend who lives off campus. Even if they are going home, your friend may want someone to house sit for them while they are away, especially if they have pets.

If you are good friends with a co-worker, see if they need a roomie over break.

Sorority | Fraternity House
If you are a member of a sorority or fraternity, see if you can stay at the house.

Campus Organizations
Check for campus organizations (i.e., churches, alumni mentor programs…) that may have rooms in their facility or host families with an extra room in their home where you can stay. For example, Tulane University has the Town Mom Program that consists of area alumni who are there to assist students.

Extended Family of Friends
Check to see if any of your friends have extended family near the campus who can host you.

Just remember when you find a place to stay to be a good roomie. Help your host with the added expenses, cooking, and cleaning. Be respectful of their house rules.

Live Dorm Smart!

September 24, 2011

The 20 Germiest Places on a College Campus... Get the Dorm 411!

Another Great Article for Dorm Smart Living Contributed by:
The Best Colleges Online

Germs are everywhere — it’s just a fact of life that we all have to deal with. But college students seem to deal with more than their fair share of germs, living and studying in close quarters with plenty of people on campus, many of whom are learning how to clean up after themselves for the first time since leaving home. That means dorm rooms, cafeterias, classrooms, computer labs, and the library are all ripe with bacteria just waiting to be picked up. It’s scary when you think about it, but the more you know, the better you can protect yourself. Read on, and we’ll discuss 20 incredibly germy places and things that exist on your college campus, and how you can protect yourself against the evils of their bacteria.
  1. Beds

    For many college students, their bed is like home base: the one place that really and truly only belongs to you, particularly for those living in a shared dorm. So you may be surprised to find out that you’re sharing your bed with bacteria, yeast, and fungi. At least they’re not bed bugs, but these live colonies can build up into the hundreds of thousands, and even millions in the worst offenders. In the Investigates: Fungus Among Us study, Dr. Lisa Shives found a college senior’s pillow that had 170 million potential bacteria counts, as well as almost 40 million potential yeast and mold counts. These included shigella, known to cause dysentery, as well as cladosporium molds, which can, under the right circumstances, cause skin lesions, asthma, and even pulmonary infections. But the good news is that you can rest easy at night by regularly washing your sheets, changing your pillow, showering at night, and not allowing your pets (or anyone else) to sleep in your bed, all of which can dramatically cut down the ickiness that lives on your sheets. 
  2. Hands

    This one should be no surprise. One of the germiest places in college is attached to you: your hands. But not just your hands, everyone else’s as well. You may or may not be shaking lots of hands in college, but inevitably, you’ll come in contact with the hands of others, even if it’s once removed. We’ll cover several of the surfaces you’ll be sharing hand germs with, but trust us on this, you want to keep your hands clean. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap each time you go to the bathroom and before you eat or touch your face. Carry hand sanitizer with you in case you can’t make it to a sink, and wear gloves in the wintertime to form a barrier (just don’t forget to remove them, and wash them regularly). 
  3. Treadmills

    Any place that people sweat is bound to be a little germier than usual, and treadmills are on that list for sure. Bacteria can live on treadmills and other gym equipment for hours or even days, carrying Hepatitis B and more. But experts believe that the benefit of using treadmills outweighs the risk. Philip Tierno, author of The Secret Life of Germs reminds readers, "of the 60,000 or so germs that people may come in contact with, only about 1 percent are potentially dangerous." And Dr. David Nieman at the Human Performance Laboratory believes that exercising can help you avoid colds during the flu season, with "at least a 30-minute brisk walk" on a near-daily basis. Of course, that doesn’t mean you should throw caution to the wind. Use antibacterial wipes and several towels (one for equipment, one for you, and one for the shower), and encourage gym staff to clean treadmills and other equipment frequently. 
  4. Keyboards

    The computer lab seems like a pretty innocuous space, until you realize that other students have had their hands all of the keyboard and mouse you’re putting your fingertips on right now. The fact is that you could rub your hands all over a toilet seat and still pick up fewer germs than if you typed your essay on a public computer keyboard. In fact, one study reported 60 times more germs per square inch on keyboards than public restroom toilets. It’s a scary thought, but you don’t have to feel hopeless when you sit down to work at the computer. Simply take a little time to wipe down your keyboard and mouse before diving in to your work, and wash your hands as you leave the lab. Doing so will go a long way to keeping the germs at bay. 
  5. Beer pong cups

    A college party staple, beer pong sure is fun, and if you really enjoy it, it’s probably best that you don’t continue reading this point. Because while beer pong is great for spreading good cheer and camaraderie, it’s also amazingly adept at spreading germs. Ping pong balls used in the game are not likely to be cleaned, and even then, will almost certainly hit the floor at some point. That ball ends up in a water cup that after a few rounds is filled with E.coli, salmonella, and pneumonia, bouncing its way right into beer cups. Although it’s tough to keep things sanitary, you can take a few steps to make things better. Change out water cups and ping pong balls frequently, and instead of drinking out of beer cups the ball went into, pour that beer into your own cup.
  1. Classroom desks

    Office desks often end up on lists for germ hot spots, but you may not realize that this also applies to desks in your college classroom. Just think of all the different people who have sat in the very same desk you’re in all week. Depending on your school’s cleaning schedule, you could be in up to several days’ worth of other people’s germs during each class. Lovely. Just like keyboards, desks often have more bacteria than a toilet seat, 400 times more to be exact. And if your school or professor allows eating in class, the number of germs multiplies, with a higher risk for E.coli and salmonella. You might get some strange looks for wiping down desks before you sit down, and it’s not necessary to go that far. But it is a good practice to remember to not touch your eyes, mouth, or nose, and wash your hands regularly throughout your school day, especially before eating. You may also want to be careful about letting things that have been on classroom desks (like your books and notebooks) be set down on your bed or eating areas. 
  2. Cell phones

    The dirtiest thing on campus just might be hanging out in your backpack (which is also dirty). Microbiologist Chuck Gerba tested 25 mobile phones, and found staph bacteria growing on almost half. One had between 10 and 50 million bacteria present. Staph can cause skin infections, and even meningitis, an infection that is especially scary on a college campus. Why are cell phones so dirty? They come into frequent contact with your hands and face, and they are often warm from both battery activity and being held. Put it in your pocket where your phone warms with body heat, and the germs will continue to grow even more. And considering that cell phones are often held right next to your face and near your mouth, it’s easy to see how you could get sick from your phone. What’s a phone loving college student to do? The easiest solution is to avoid sharing your phone, and remembering to wipe it down frequently with anti-bacterial wipes. You may also be able to find phones that offer an anti-microbial coating to help prevent the growth of bacteria. 
  3. Backpacks

    Yes, your trusty backpack is not just home to your books and lunch, it’s also home to plenty of germs. Think of all the places you set your backpack down: the classroom floor, in the grass, on the bus, bathroom counters, and even locker room benches, many of which have an average of 10,000 germs per square inch. And then you likely head to your dorm room and throw your backpack on your bed. Bad idea. Instead of contaminating surfaces where you sleep, put in a hook right at your door, so you can hang your backpack up off the ground before it has a chance to touch anything else. It will also be handy for you to pick it back up before you head out the door. In addition to hanging your bag up, also remember to wash it about once every week, throwing it in the wash if possible, or wiping down vinyl bags. 
  4. Soap dispensers

    You need soap to get a truly cleansing hand wash, but the funny thing is, you’ll pick up germs doing so. About 25% of public restroom soap dispensers have fecal bacteria present, not surprising, with them being in the restroom and all. And they’re the last place dirty hands touch before they get clean, so of course, the bottoms have millions of bacteria. It’s gross to think of, but it offers good motivation for getting your hands actually clean. Don’t just do a quick pass with soap and water, really get in there and scrub for 15 to 20 seconds with plenty of hot water to make sure you’re cleaning existing germs, and the ones you pick up off the soap dispenser.

  1. ATMs

    ATMs on campus join the list of places that are as full of germs as the toilets. Anti-bacterial company BioCote conducted a study that revealed that ATMs have almost the same level of infection as public toilets, and the bacteria discovered are the same ones that will lead to human illness. There’s not much you can do the avoid the ATM, short of online banking whenever possible. And you might end up with angry people behind you, tapping their feet and waiting for you to get on with things if you insist upon wiping the ATM down with an anti-bacterial wipe before getting started. The best way to combat the germs found at ATMs is to regularly practice good hygiene, remembering to wash your hands often and avoid touching your face. Those who are especially cautious might want to use an anti-bacterial gel after visiting the ATM, however, and be careful about where you place your ATM card, as it’s also covered in germs. 
  2. Laundry room

    Students visit the dorm laundry room to get clothes and sheets clean, but the fact is that this place is crawling with germs, especially the washer. Care2 puts it bluntly, telling everyone that "there’s poop in your laundry," and it’s true. There’s about 0.1 gram of fecal matter in every piece of underwear. It doesn’t sound so bad until you consider that, well, it’s poop, no matter how small, and that it adds up to about 100 million E. coli bacteria in every load. In a community washer situation, that’s just downright disturbing. How can you ease your mind about the poop in your laundry? Add some tea tree oil to your detergent, and run hot water for cleaning, which is more effective at removing dirt and bacteria. It’s also wise to avoid letting laundry sit wet before drying, as this gives germs left over in the wash the opportunity to multiply. Dry your laundry on high heat for a full cycle, and don’t mix surfaces (folding tables, hampers) that hold dirty laundry with clean laundry. And of course, be sure to wash your hands after putting wet laundry in the dryer. 
  3. Remote controls

    He (or she) who controls the remote controls the power, along with a ton of germs. In a University of Virginia study, 50% of TV remotes were found to test positive for rhinovirus, along with plenty of other germs. Whether they’re in your dorm, or worse, in common areas, you’re picking up more than just the remote when you sit down to watch TV. And although you can wipe down a remote’s surface, you can’t get it truly clean because there’s no way to get into all the cracks and buttons. The only real way to protect yourself is by investing in a cover for your remote, and wiping it down regularly. Public remotes can be put in a plastic bag, but we’re thinking you might get some weird looks for that. The good news is that companies like DirecTV are coming out with germ-resistant remotes, so soon, you may not need to worry about the germs on remotes at all. 
  4. Door handles

    When you think of all the people that touch door handles, it’s not surprising to find out that they are great vehicles for transmitting viruses, especially cold and flu. Germs can live on doorknobs for more than two hours, just waiting for you to come and pick them up. And it’s not as if you can completely avoid touching doorknobs. You can push open doors with your backside, strategically wait to throw away paper towels after you open the door, or even wait for someone else to open doors, but eventually, you’ll be touching a doorknob and all the germs that live on it. The best defense against germy doorknobs is, as usual, good hygiene, with regular hand washing and the use of hand sanitizer when necessary.

  1. Communal shower floors

    We’ve all heard of students picking up athlete’s foot from dorm showers, and probably heeded the warnings to remember to wear flip flops. It turns out that there’s actually truth to the rumor that shower floors are dirty, and it makes sense. Although showers are a place where you go to get clean, they’re also wet and warm, a great combination for germs looking to grow. In a study from the Simmons College Center for Hygiene and Health in Home and Community, 43% of shower floors were found to contain bacteria indicating fecal contamination, and 20% had streptococci. If you have the option to get a dorm room with a separate shower, that’s obviously a great way to avoid the communal shower germs. Of course, you’ll have to clean it regularly yourself, but you can better control the germs that are in your own shower. If that’s not an option, you can bring antibacterial spray with you to the shower, and there are always shower flip flops.
  2. Refrigerators

    The gateway to your food may be one of the germiest places in your dorm room, and that’s a bit disturbing. Dorm room fridge handles often have twice as much bacteria as dorm toilet handles. Thirty-seven percent have bacteria indicating fecal contamination, and 13% have staph. Most students (56%) never clean their dorm room fridge, so it’s not surprising to find these germs present, although it is worrisome. The best way to combat refrigerator germs is to wipe it all down, outside and inside, being careful to remember even the door seals, which are often forgotten. 
  3. Sandals

    Sandals are a staple among college footwear, with some students even braving the cold of winter with their toes out. They’re comfortable and easy to slip on when you’re heading out the door, but unfortunately, germs are also big fans of sandals. Walking around in flip flops, your feet are exposed to plenty of disturbing substances: human waste, vomit, dog feces, spit, and more, which often carry bacteria and have been growing in the sun. City streets are often incubators for staph, strep, norovirus, E.coli, and MRSA, all of which can make you very sick, or even kill you. But the good news is that your skin is adept at protecting you from these bacteria, and you’re not likely to be putting your foot in your mouth any time soon. Of course, you do have to be careful about where you step with formerly sandal-clad feet, as you’ll track in all of these substances, and picking your sandals up with your hands will transfer them as well. Wash your feet when you get home, or simply put a pair of slippers by your front door, so you can avoid walking germs all over the floor. 
  4. Water fountains

    Water fountains are wet, and touched by hands and sometimes even mouths. Of course they are going to be full of germs. NSF International reports that water fountain spigots typically have between 62,000 to 2.7 million bacteria per square inch just waiting to hitch a ride and infect you. You can avoid drinking from the water fountain by remembering to bring along your own refillable water bottle, but when it’s time to refill, or if you’ve forgotten it in your dorm room, you just might end up at the fountain. You have a good chance of picking something up, but don’t despair: with good hand washing and healthy living, you can deflect and defend yourself against the ills of the water fountain, so drink up! 
  5. Microwaves

    Microwaves are notorious for not being cleaned. Remember The Office episode when Pam posted her passive-aggressive note about the disgusting state of the office microwave? We imagine that’s pretty standard for college community microwaves as well. And if the inside is sorely neglected, surely the buttons are as well. Microwave touch screens and the door button are touched often, even by hands contaminated by yet-uncooked food, leaving behind goodies like E.coli and salmonella. Bet you weren’t planning on having those with your bag of popcorn. This one’s easy, just quickly wipe down buttons before you get started, and use a paper towel or disposable plate to separate your food from the bottom of the microwave. 
  6. Checkout keypads

    The last thing you touch before you start eating is the dirtiest place in the cafeteria: the checkout keypad at the end of the lunch line. Microbiologist Robert Donofrio tested one elementary school’s checkout keypad, and revealed it to be the worst culprit of germs in the cafeteria, with a reading of 13,144 organisms. Chances are, you’re not running to the bathroom to wash your hands in between paying for your lunch and actually eating it, but given the amount of germs present, that’s not a bad idea. For most people, however, anti-bacterial gel or wipes will do the trick just as well. And if you have the option to prepay on a meal plan and avoid the keypad altogether, that’s even better. 
  7. Bathroom floors

    Most people assume that the toilet seat is the dirtiest thing in the bathroom, but the fact is that you’re not really going to get germs from your backside. Rather, the real danger is on the floor. In one test, researchers found 2 million bacteria per square inch, which is 200 times higher than a sanitary surface. Obviously, you’ll want to avoid walking barefoot around public bathrooms, which most people do, but it’s also wise to pay attention to what you’re putting on the floor, or allowing to drop. Be careful with your sunglasses, cell phone, and keys, all things that students often carelessly drop of the bathroom floor (or, oops, in the toilet water). And of course, never put your backpack, purse, or schoolbooks on the floor, as you’ll only pick up germs to take with you to class or back to your dorm room.

August 15, 2011

How to Ship Dorm Room Supplies Direct to Campus

Take advantage of Dormsmart's Free Campus Ship Program... just enter your student's campus shipping address provided by their University Housing Department as the "Delivery Address" during checkout!

Need more reasons to use DormSmart's Free Campus Shipping Program...


If you are in a hurry, DormSmart can ship your purchases direct to your college campus instead of having to move them to campus.


No additional charges apply at DormSmart when shipping purchases direct to your college campus within the 48 Contiguous US States, it is free. Additionally, students won't have to incur the additional cost of moving their dorm room supplies from home to campus.


Your dorm room supplies only ship once ... reducing your carbon footprint and saving trees (no additional packaging required).


Students don't have to pack, transport, and unpack their dorm room supplies multiple times!

*Free shipping only applies to campuses within the 48 US Contiguous States

August 10, 2011


With campus move in day fast approaching for many college bound students, it’s important to prepare BEFORE leaving for college. Here’s a few quick tips from Team DormSmart to make campus move in day go a little more smoothly…

TIP #1: Shop before Campus Move In Weekend

Campus move in weekend is INSANE! Many colleges have mandatory orientation sessions scheduled for parents and students over move in weekend leaving little time to unpack, let alone shop. It is best to shop for dorm supplies prior to move in weekend and pack them so that they can be easily located and unpacked. Grab  a copy of our Dorm Supplies Checklist to help you prepare and pack.

TIP #2: Check University Housing Regulations

Before shopping, check your university housing regulations for your dorm room. Let’s face it, everyone is feeling the budget crunch so you don’t want to waste money buying non compliant dorm appliances … any dorm supplies that may be considered contraband and confiscated.

TIP #3: Measure Your Dorm Room 

Every inch counts when planning and organizing your dorm room. If you have access and can get actual measurements, be sure to measure the room at the floor level to account for any base moldings or trim; meaning it may not seem like much but floor moldings and trim can take inches off an already small dorm room.

TIP #4: Know What Furniture You Need to Bring

What furniture does your school provide? Are you able to bring your own or required to use theirs?

TIP #5: Know the Shape and Size of Your Dorm Bed Legs

The one recurring problem we hear about from college students at DormSmart… the bed risers they picked up at the discount store don’t fit! If you are planning to raise your dorm bed for additional storage know the size and shape of your dorm bed legs to ensure your bed risers will fit properly.

TIP #6: Count the Outlets

Know how many outlets are in your dorm room so that you can purchase the right amount of surge protector strips with overload protection; make all your electronics work.

TIP #7: Get Ready for Campus Networking 

Don’t forget networking cables! While wireless access generally works in most common areas in your residence hall, many dorm rooms require wired access… at times the signal strength inside your dorm room is just too weak.

TIP #8: Get Familiar with Your Closet Space

Does your dorm room have a closet? If so, check the configuration of your closet. How many closet shelves are there? Measure the distance between shelves to ensure your storage containers will fit easily.

TIP #9: Coordinate with Your Roommate

Some dorm room supplies such as an iron, ironing board, coffeemaker, dorm rug, television, and printer can be shared. Sharing sounds a little scary at first but remember if sharing isn’t working out, you can always bring your own supplies over a break OR have mom and dad bring them over parent weekend. Just remember to make a list of who brought what if you're sharing dorm supplies... you'd be surprised how many roomies forget by the end of the school year!

TIP #10: Pay Attention to the Little Details

You’d be surprised how annoying it can be to overlook a small detail when it comes to dorm living! For example… Do you have a sink in your dorm room? Does it need a plug? Is there a medicine cabinet for toiletries in your dorm room or do you need a storage caddy?

Just a few tips to help you prepare for your dorm move and live dorm smart! Good luck!