College Lifestyle and Product Blog for Dorm Room Living | DormSmart: Dorm To Do Checklist

Showing posts with label Dorm To Do Checklist. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dorm To Do Checklist. Show all posts

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 12, 2010

Dorm Organization:Tips for Organizing A Dorm Room ... Get the Dorm 411!

by Christi Leslie, Founder & CEO of
Creator of

Just a few smart tips for organizing your small dorm space from

Jaxx Pillow Sac - Can Be Reshaped
For most college bound freshman, moving into a small dorm room this fall will be a bit challenging. With this in mind, brainstormed with a few of their favorite experienced dorm dwellers to come up with their top 10 tips for incoming freshman to successfully organize and live in a small dorm space:

Tip #1 - Raise Your Dorm Bed / Create An Under Bed Storage Space

A good set of bed risers is one of the wisest investments a college bound student can make for dorm living. Even better, when savvy students combine their bed risers with storage products like a DormSmart Smart Storage Cart and Bungalow Collapsible Bins, it creates an entire under bed storage solution. The smart storage cart is a complete custom made wheeled platform that runs the length and width of a dorm bed, allowing students to place and arrange their dorm stuff in bins on the wheeled cart. The wheeled cart then rolls in and out from under the bed, making for easy access, much like a drawer system. It breaks down easily between dorm moves and students can select folding bins in a range patterns and colors to enhance their dorm decor.

Tip #2 - Dorm Trunks

Dorm trunks are a great investment. Students can use dorm trunks for travel, secure storage, and seating, such as the Rhino Armor Trunk Large available at

Tip #3 - Be Square

Let’s face it, every inch counts in a small dorm room, consider using square storage containers, such as the Neatnix Square Stuff Bucket. Being square utilizes every inch of space!

Tip #4 - Go Vertical

Build up using free standing shelves, raising your dorm bed with bed risers or whenever possible, lofting your dorm bed. Remember to check student housing regulations.

Tip #5 - Dorm Size

Resist the urge to bring your mom’s 24 cup coffeemaker or dad’s spare toolbox. Instead, consider dorm sizing by purchasing smaller scale items such as a Hamilton Beach 3-in-1 Hot Beverage Center or a Picnic Time Essentials Toolkit to fit the scale of your small dorm space.

Tip #6 - Build Upon Existing Surfaces…

In other words use stackable canisters on top of your microfridge unit to store dry staples such as sugar, coffee…but don’t overload!

Tip #7 - Invest in Multi Purpose Dorm Essentials

Purchase dorm essentials that can be used for multiple purposes. For example, a Jaxx Pillow Sac can be shaped for seating or can be flattened out for sleepovers during those late night study sessions. The Ergorapido 2- in-1 Stick and Hand Vac by Electrolux can be used to vacuum your dorm room or save a few dollars by using the hand vac to vacuum your car. The Ravenswood Floor Lamp and Table by Lumisource has your main light, a separate reading light and plenty of shelves to utilize as a bed side table and storage. The Sort-A-Sack! is a laundry bag, backpack, and sorter with instructions sewn in on how to do your laundry. There are many multi-purpose products available for dorm living in today’s marketplace.

Tip #8 - Hang Your Clothes

Hang your clothes in the closet versus throwing them on floor or trying to cram all of them in a drawer, it saves a lot of space and you’ll spend less time looking for them!

Tip #9 - Collapsible / Folding Storage Bins and Vacuum Bags

Folding Storage such as Bungalow’s Collapsible Storage Bins is great way to organize all your dorm stuff. Better still, use vacuum bags to minimize the size of items and store them in your collapsible bins on shelves or under your dorm bed.

Tip #10 - Keep You Dorm Room Neat and Organized

As much as we hate to hear it, the best way to live in a small space, such as a dorm room, is to keep it neat and organized. Put things away when you are finished with them. You’ll feel more in control of yourself and your new surroundings!

Just a few storage and organization tips to help incoming freshman to live dorm smart!

April 30, 2010

What To Pack For College? Free Dorm Room Checklist...

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

Get the most comprehensive Combined Free Dorm Shopping List, Packing List, & To Do Checklist at DormSmart's free dorm checklist covers just about everything you will need to move to your new dorm room this fall, including a few to do items! Some of the items on this list you will need to purchase and many others you can probably find at home, saving yourself a little money. At first glance, this may look like a lot of dorm stuff. However, many of these items are small in scale. With the right storage solutions, you should have room to spare!

Step 1:  Just print out DormSmart's Free Dorm Checklist or create your own custom dorm check list.

Step 2:  Set aside a space in your home to store your college dorm essentials as you acquire them over the summer.

Step 3:  Get an early start!  It's best if you can shop early versus having your last minute dorm buys delivered to the campus. This gives you the opportunity to check your purchases prior to move-in weekend and make any necessary returns, if needed.

Step 4:  Inventory your items as you pack them. For example, if you placed your school supplies in Box #1, write Box #1 next to those items on your dorm checklist. Move-in weekend is hectic and there are many mandatory activities that may require you to access your packed items quickly! This list will also be helpful in putting together an inventory for your College Property Insurance Policy. Good luck!

DormSmart's Free Dorm Checklist Printable PDF Download Here

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