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

Showing posts with label Dorm Essentials. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dorm Essentials. Show all posts

August 8, 2012

How to Set Up a College Dorm Room Using Smart Dorm Room Essentials

Join Megan, your DormSmart Studio Host, for's 2012 Dorm Room Reveal. Megan provides students and parents with a practical dorm room tour to give them an idea of how to set up a college dorm room using smart dorm room essentials when they move to campus. Our dorm room tour covers the essentials college bound freshmen need to settle into their dorm room from bedding, shower supplies, dorm size appliances, eating supplies, storage solutions, and wall decor to those often overlooked accessories like a tool kit. Enjoy the video and remember to live Dorm Smart!

November 27, 2010

Dorm Room Essentials & Trunk Package Deals At

By Christi Leslie, Founder & CEO of
Creator of

Dorm Room Essentials & Trunk Package Deals

WOW! Furnishing your dorm room just got easier!

Knowing what to buy to live in a dorm room can be overwhelming and costly, essentially you are furnishing a small studio apartment!

To make it a little easier on you and your budget, DormSmart put together the perfect dorm room essentials and  trunk packages with more than 55 quality dorm products to cover your basic living needs... from dorm storage to bedding, cooking, shower, security, extra seating to dorm tool kits... these packages have it all! 

Even better, DormSmart's dorm room essentials and dorm trunk packages can be customized, allowing you to  to select your colors, make the package unique to you and your taste!

In addition, these packages come with TRUE Twin XL Bedding OR Twin Bedding. Either way, they've got you covered with the essential dorm supplies a student needs to live Dorm Smart!

These packages make a great holiday gift, graduation gift, or birthday gift for high school seniors...  college bound students... any student headed to a dorm room!

September 2, 2010

Cheap isn't all it's cracked up to be! Cheap College Dorm Essentials, Cheap Dorm Buys... Cheap Cheap Cheap! Get the Dorm 411!

by Christi Leslie, Founder & CEO of
Creator of

OMG! We seldom vent at Dorm411, but every now and then we just have to cut loose.  We've been reading and hearing about how college bound students should buy cheap dorm products, cheap college dorm essentials, cheap dorm buys, cheap dorm supplies, cheap dorm trunks, cheap dorm appliances, cheap dorm rugs... cheap cheap cheap... seems to be today's popular buzz word, catch phrase... So we decided to go to and provide our smart dorm shoppers with the definition of cheap (see below).

Seriously, does a tough economy mean that retailers should pass cheap dorm supplies off on unsuspecting student shoppers? Obviously, we are all budget conscious, shopping for bargains, great values, but cheap? Would you put your child in a cheap car seat? Would you drive across a cheaply constructed bridge? Would you fly in a cheap airplane? Would you ride in a cheap elevator? Would you jump with a cheap parachute or cheap bungee cord? Seriously, would you? And, have you seen some of the price tags on those cheap college dorm essentials?

Remember these sayings:

"You get what you pay for."
"Nothing in life is free."
"Quality over quantity."
"A cheap price is a short cut to being cheated."
"If it sounds too good to be true it probably is."

At Dorm411, we are not saying you shouldn't shop for a bargain, but you need to be careful when it comes to buying certain college dorm essentials such as dorm bedding for a good nights sleep (important for student success in college), electrical appliances such as coffee makers, irons, computer equipment (don't want to burn down your residence hall)... and safety products (take campus safety seriously)... need we say more? Maybe we'll say a little more... why would you choose to buy a cheap knock off iron without auto shutoff then buy a separate auto shutoff outlet to turn it off instead of choosing to buy a quality auto shutoff iron and having it shipped to your campus for the same price? Hello?  How is that dorm smart? OK... that's all we are saying on this matter! Thanks for listening!

Let us know your thoughts on the matter...


cheap   /tʃip/ Show Spelled [cheep] Show IPA adjective, -er, -est, adverb, noun


1. costing very little; relatively low in price; inexpensive: a cheap dress.

2. costing little labor or trouble: Words are cheap.

3. charging low prices: a very cheap store.

4. of little account; of small value; mean; shoddy: cheap conduct; cheap workmanship.

5. embarrassed; sheepish: He felt cheap about his mistake.

6. obtainable at a low rate of interest: when money is cheap.

7. of decreased value or purchasing power, as currency depreciated due to inflation.

8. stingy; miserly: He's too cheap to buy his own brother a cup of coffee.


9. at a low price; at small cost: He is willing to sell cheap.


10. cheap at twice the price, exceedingly inexpensive: I found this old chair for eight dollars—it would be cheap at twice the price.

11. on the cheap, Informal . inexpensively; economically: She enjoys traveling on the cheap.



bef. 900; ME cheep (short for phrases, as good cheep cheap, lit., good bargain), OE cēap bargain, market, trade; c. G Kauf, ON kaup; all < L caupō innkeeper, tradesman; see chapman

—Related forms

cheapish, adjective

cheap·ish·ly, adverb

cheaply, adverb

cheapness, noun

o·ver·cheap, adjective

o·ver·cheap·ly, adverb

o·ver·cheap·ness, noun

un·cheap·ly, adverb


1, 4. Cheap, inexpensive agree in their suggestion of low cost. Cheap now usually suggests shoddiness, inferiority, showy imitation, complete unworthiness, and the like: a cheap kind of fur. Inexpensive emphasizes lowness of price (although more expensive than cheap ) and suggests that the value is fully equal to the cost: an inexpensive dress. It is often used as an evasion for the more specific cheap. 4. paltry, low, poor, inferior, base.


1. costly, dear, expensive. 8. generous, charitable.

August 31, 2010

Last Minute Dorm Shopping Tips For College Bound Students, Making The Right Dorm Buys... Get the Dorm 411!

by Christi Leslie, Founder & CEO of
Creator of

Dorm season is upon us! Many of us are scrambling about trying to make the right decisions when it comes to purchasing supplies for our dorm room while shopping on a budget. It can be a confusing and frustrating time for dorm shoppers! With that in mind, DormSmart has the following three tips when shopping online for college dorm essentials, making those last minute dorm buys…


Life is busy! It seems like we have all the time in the world to finish our dorm shopping during the summer then realize it is here! DO NOT PANIC! Do not purchase the wrong dorm products because you are out of time. Purchase the right dorm essentials then have them shipped to your campus delivery address. You may have to improvise for a few days. For example, if you are waiting on dorm bedding, take your sleeping bag. It will be used for sleepovers… spring break… it’s dorm sized. In the end you will be much happier and probably spend less money. It’s like going to the grocery store without a list when we are hungry, we tend to overspend. Just take a deep breath, work through the process, and try to be patient. It will all come together.


We’ve all done it. We see a product we really like and just buy it only to realize when it’s delivered; it was not quite what we were expecting. For many of you planning to study retailing in college, it is known as an impulse buy. While the retail industry loves impulse buyers, it is probably best to learn how to control these impulses early in adulthood so you do not have to experience buyer’s remorse.

One tip for preventing buyer’s remorse is to thoroughly research and compare dorm products, meaning you need take the time to read the product description thoroughly and view the enlarged photos… trust us… It will save a lot of frustration… headache… time and cost associated with returning dorm products or worse having to replace your college dorm essentials and incur a loss.


For most of us in today’s economy, price is an issue. We are all stretching our budgets to pay our college tuition and fees and buy our textbooks. On top of that, we are tasked with furnishing a dorm room… basically a studio apartment. Let’s face it; mom needs her ironing board and iron, her dishes… So, how do we balance price and quality without overspending?

Remember to make a shopping list of what you NEED to purchase; those must have college dorm essentials. Most of you will be in college at least 4 years so you have time to add those little extras. At DormSmart, we have yet to uncover a “cheap quality dorm product” so use your money wisely to buy quality dorm products at affordable prices. Otherwise you may have to do this again next summer and that will not save you money. Once you have your list of MUST HAVE college dorm essentials, it’s time to balance quality with price...

Let’s walk through a shopping example using a dorm trunk:

A dorm trunk is one of those multipurpose dorm products that you can use as dorm storage, to travel to college or camp (football, cheerleading, band…) in the summers, and as dorm room seating. Bottom line, your dorm trunk will probably take a beating over the next several years so you want to search for dorm trunks made of quality products then select the one that best fits your price point. For example, the ideal dorm trunk will have:
  • Steel edging and corners versus plastic or vinyl corners with cheap brads.
  • An interior made of hardwood versus particle board, needs to be structurally sound.
  • Removable versus stationary wheels. You do not want to make it easy for someone to take your dorm trunk but you want it to be easy for you to move.
  • Leather versus vinyl handles.
  • Lifetime warranty.
The only way to identify the criteria above is to read the product detail… do your homework. If the retailer does not provide that information then it probably is a red flag… move on to the next prospect / store until you find the dorm trunk for you then check it against your budget. It may be a little more than you want to spend but a cost savings in the long run; or you may be pleasantly surprised, realizing it fits into your budget. Look for offers of free shipping and discount coupons, especially on big ticket items like dorm trunks.

If you find yourself trying to choose between quality and looks, maybe you wanted that really cool looking collegiate trunk or polka dot trunk but it is not well made… consider choosing the quality dorm trunk and purchasing peel and stick decals to get your desired effect. Let’s face it, you can always change the look of the quality dorm trunk but you cannot change the quality of the cheap dorm trunk.

Just a few tips for living and shopping dorm smart! Good luck at school!

August 22, 2010

Can you really decorate your dorm room on a dime in today's economy? Seriously… Get the Dorm 411 To Make Smart Dorm Buys!

by Christi Leslie, Founder & CEO of
Creator of

Dorm Room Decor On A Dime... Making Budget Friendly Dorm Buys...

In today’s economy there is really no such thing as decorating your dorm room on a dime so it’s important for students on a limited budget to make smart dorm buys... to assess what they really need for their dorm room or campus apartment prior to spending their hard earned dollars. At DormSmart, we have this advice for college bound students decorating a dorm room on a limited budget:

Take or buy what you absolutely need first for your particular dorm room, the necessities, then add in extras as you can afford them... as you figure out what you really need . It’s that simple. Prior to buying your dorm room necessities, create a checklist or download our dorm checklist and establish a budget. While our dorm checklist may seem like a lot of dorm stuff, many items you can find at home so take inventory before making dorm buys to prevent overspending! As for those neat little extras, trust us when we say we will still be stocking them over the next four years! For now, just stick to those budget friendly dorm buys / dorm room necessities you cannot live without!

With that being said, I thought it might be helpful to students decorating a dorm room on a budget to gain a little insight about products being touted as dorm room necessities.I discovered many of these products while researching smart dorm buys for our student shoppers this year. It is DormSmart's opinion that these products can be safely CUT OUT of your dorm decorating budget. (Sorry... we only had room for the top five and we won’t be carrying these "dorm room necessities" at

  1. Multi-Day or Jumping Alarm Clocks: If you have a cell phone, it probably has an alarm feature that allows you to set multiple alarms for different days of the week depending upon your class schedule, so purchasing a separate alarm clock to do this for you or one that jumps around the room, annoying your roommate and neighbors isn’t your best option. Just use your cell phone to save money and precious dorm space! If you prefer a separate alarm clock, consider buying one where you can dock you iPod or MP3 player – multipurpose!

  2. Wall Tapestries For Dorm Bedding: I recently read where one retailer advised students to multipurpose their wall tapestry. Seriously, they recommended using it as dorm wall décor or as dorm bedding or as a window covering. While we like to promote multipurpose dorm products at, we believe this is taking the concept a little too far! If you have a limited budget, choose to buy quality dorm bedding so that you get a good night’s sleep. After all, the main reason for college is learning and a good night’s sleep is important for successful learning to occur, especially after those fun filled weekends or late night study sessions. You can buy your dorm wall décor at a later date or consider using removable and reusable peel and stick wall decals, very affordable and attractive.

  3. Blackout Curtains: Most of us do not have blackout curtains in our rooms at home. And personally, I have found that many teens, meaning mine, forget to close their blinds at night. Seriously … freshman year is tough enough and dorm rooms are drab… do you really want to black out that one ray of sunshine in your day? Besides, most colleges do provide window blinds in student dorm rooms. Cross black out curtains off your dorm shopping list and save your money for true dorm room necessities!

  4. Bedside Caddy: Prior to launching, I personally invested in a bedside caddy for my daughter to use in her dorm room. You know the one...the bedside caddy that fits securely under your dorm mattress. While the concept is great, I encountered two problems with this dorm room necessity. First, when you fill up the bedside caddy (tissue box, remote control...) it slides off the bed into the floor. I had to invest in grommets and hooks to make it work. Second, it blocked easy access to her under bed storage. It really wasn’t one of those great dorm buys after I had to spend additional money to redesign it to work on her dorm bed!

  5. RJ & Rosie

  6. Fake Pets: Again, this is another product I found at a competitor’s storefront. I am almost at a loss for words which will shock my friends and family. I can envision selling this to a five year old but touting it to a college student as one of those dorm room necessities or great dorm buys? Are you kidding me? If you are homesick or miss your RJ & Rosie (my daughter's mini dachshunds), I don’t think a fake pet that runs on batteries is the answer! Bring something from home that is meaningful to you, whether it is a stuffed animal or a keepsake (not too many) and save yourself $30 plus shipping. You can budget that money toward true dorm room necessities or a night out bonding with your new college friends!
So… while you may not be able to decorate your dorm room on a dime in today’s economy, you can cut out some of those "dorm room necessities" that really aren't smart dorm buys. They aren't worth your or your parents' hard earned dollars. Choose to buy dorm room necessities, such as quality dorm bedding, that will be supportive of your new college lifestyle while saving a little money in your budget! Just remember... once you get to your dorm room, you can always shop online for those smart dorm buys at and have them delivered to your college campus! Live dorm smart!

August 18, 2010

College Dorm Essentials = MULTIPURPOSE … Get the Dorm 411!

by Christi Leslie, Founder & CEO of
Creator of

When shopping for your college dorm essentials this dorm season, one of the top criteria to use when making product selections is MULTIPURPOSE!

Selecting multipurpose dorm essentials whether it be furniture, combo appliances, an all-in-one dorm laundry backpack / laundry bag / laundry sorter... any dorm supplies… will save space in your small dorm room and save a few dollars because… you got it … it’s a multipurpose product! It cuts down on the amount of dorm stuff you have to move into your small dorm room resulting in less to pack  and haul during those dorm moves over the duration of your college career!

Here are a few HOT multipurpose college dorm essentials to consider purchasing this dorm season:

Ravenswood Floor Lamp and Table Light Wood
Multipurpose College Dorm Essential #1
= Ravenswood Floor Lamp & Table

The Ravenswood Floor Lamp and Table by Lumisource adds form and function to your dorm decor! It’s a bookshelf, nightstand / bedside table, reading light and main light all in one.

Its dual light sources combine with shelves for ultimate usability, making it one of those perfect multipurpose college dorm essentials!

Multi-purpose College Dorm Essential #2
= Sort-a-Sack!

The Sort-A-Sack is an all-in-one Dorm Laundry Backpack, Dorm Laundry Bag, & Dorm Laundry Sorter, the perfect multipurpose college dorm essential for doing laundry. The Sort-a-Sack has two compartments to sort both whites and colors, saving time and making laundry day a whole lot easier for busy college students on the go! Like a backpack, the sort-a-sack can be comfortably carried by two shoulder straps to lighten a college student’s loads, up to three, on the way to the dorm laundry room or campus laundromat!

This great looking and uniquely designed laundry bag is roomy enough to carry laundry supplies and zips closed to prevent embarrassing spills, don't lose your underwear on the way to the dorm laundry! Even better, the sort-a-sack contains an inner pouch to store a sheet of fabric softener to help keep those smells away between laundry days!

For the novice, the durable sort-a-sack has step-by-step washing instructions permanently printed inside, making the sort-a-sack the next best thing to sending laundry out or home to mom!

The Sort-A-Sack is definitely one of those must have multipurpose college dorm essentials!

Multipurpose College Dorm Essential #3
= College Dorm Trunks

Dorm Trunks, also known as Dorm Footlockers or College Trunks, like Rhino Armor Trunks, can be used as both secure storage and dorm furniture, such as a coffee table, end table, or dorm seating...

Rhino Armor Dorm Trunks
Rhino Armor Dorm Trunks are our top pick as the best secure college trunk because they are conveniently sized and ruggedly built, strong enough to stand or sit on while keeping your laptop, digital camera, iPod, iPad, food ... valuables secure in your dorm room. Dorm Trunks are definitely top multipurpose college dorm essentials!

There are many great multipurpose products on the market today… so live dorm smart… shop dorm smart! MULTIPURPOSE!

August 13, 2010

Necessities Tool Kit - The Perfect Dorm Tool Kit...

by Christi Leslie, Founder & CEO of
Creator of Dorm Smart Living

Don't overlook the importance of taking the right tool kit to college!

The Necessities Tool Kit by Picnic Time

The Necessities Tool Kit by Picnic Time is the perfect affordable compact dorm tool kit to take to your college campus this fall. This quality dorm sized tool kit contains the essential tools necessary for basic projects in your dorm... such as putting together furniture and dorm accessories.

The Necessities Tool Kit comes in a gray molded plastic compact carrying case and includes 14 essential tools, making it the perfect tool kit for dorm dwellers, definitely a Dorm Smart product! These also make great high school graduation gifts for the student in your life.

Remember to add The Necessities Tool Kit by Picnic Time to your dorm shopping list!

The Necessities Tool Kit contains:

•2 slotted screwdrivers

•2 Phillips screwdrivers

•1 6-piece mini screwdriver set

•1 12-ft. measuring tape

•1 utility knife with retractable blade

•1 pair of pliers

•1 claw hammer

•1 box of assorted fasteners

Dorm Tool Kit Dimensions: 12.5 x 1.5 x 7.7 inches - tucks away easily in a small dorm room!

Tool Kit Color: Gray Plastic Case &Tools w/yellow handles