Dorm Sweet Dorm: Part 1, Getting Started

Happy July kids!

Summer is about halfway over now, (don’t shoot the messenger!!) and if you’re going off to college in August, it’s time to start thinking about moving out of Mom & Dad’s place and into the magical world of college dormitories.

Living in a dorm will probably brew a love/hate relationship in your heart for a few reasons; your privacy is basically non-existent, you’re restricted to what you can and can’t have/do, and you’re most likely living in a tiny space with a complete stranger, HOWEVER, living in a dorm is the easiest way to make new friends!

Like I said, there are some down-sides to living in a dorm room, but hopefully this “Dorm Sweet Dorm” series will turn those frowns upside down and make your experience 10x better just from these tips, tricks and a basic shopping lists!


Tour. Your. Dorm.

If you haven’t visited your school and toured the dorm that you’ll be staying in, that needs to be on the top of your list. Making sure that you know how to get there, what parking is like, if the building has elevators, where the front desk is located, etc. is key before packing the car and showing up to move in. When you tour your dorm, you want to make sure you find out the answers to these questions:

  1. “Are there elevators?” You don’t want to be surprised when your room is on the third floor of a building with no elevators and Dad has to carry your mini-fridge up three flights of stairs. Yikes.
  2. “What size are the beds?” Typically in a dorm you’ll have a Twin XL sized bed/mattress, but I’ve heard of schools using a regular twin also, so double check just to make sure.
  3. “How do I get to the center of campus?” If your dorm is located around the outskirts of the school, or even across the freeway (Thanks, UNT) it may be tough to get to campus in a hurry. Find out if there are bus/shuttles or if you’ll need to drive everywhere.
  4. “What can I NOT bring?” Most schools have a Housing Manual that will explain all the rules for living on campus, including what you can and cannot bring/have in your dorm room. Simply Google “(Name of school) housing rules” and you’ll probably find something related to that. But your tour guide has probably lived in that specific dorm, or one on campus and knows the basics.
  5. “What do YOU suggest I should know?” Like I said, nine times out of ten, the tour guide will have been in your shoes and knows the ins and outs of your school, so by asking them this, you’d be surprised what kind of secret tips and tricks you can learn that are specific to your dorm/school.

Once you’ve experienced all the magic of an empty dorm room, it’s time to figure out what you need to buy.

There are so many “dorm checklists” on Pinterest, and here are a few of my favs.

Here‘s for the ~extra~ girl who wants to go all out, above and beyond.

Here‘s for my dudes and the “I just need the basics” peeps.

Here‘s the best one, the ultimate, in my opinion.

The Necessities: 

Mini-fridge & microwave: if you have a roommate, I suggest one of you buying the fridge and one buying the microwave. Check with them to see who wants to do what. Also, if space allows, each of you having your own fridge is a great option if you’re planning on keeping a lot of food in your room.

Power strips/surge protectors: Power strips are a necessity for living in a small space with only a select few outlets. You absolutely have to make sure it is “surge protected” otherwise you will most likely not be allowed to have it, then you won’t be able to plug in all of the things!!!

Two sets of sheets, two sleeping pillows (don’t go overboard on pillows… they’re expensive and waste space)

An easily washable comforter: avoid down/pillowed comforters unless you plan on dry cleaning it. (Uh, no.) The best thing to go for, even though it’s a little more pricey, is a duvet cover & insert. It’s like a comforter with a big pillowcase that you can just take off and throw it in the wash. Super easy.

An extra blanket for cold nights/lounging around 

Command hooks/strips/tape/everything: these will be your best friend. Avoid fines from putting holes in the walls and you can pretty much hang anything your heart desires. MAKE SURE YOU TAKE THEM OFF CORRECTLY OR YOU’LL SCREW UP ALL YOUR HARD WORK. READ DIRECTIONS, PEOPLE. 

Printer: In my experience, a printer “saved my grade” countless times. Nothing is worse than having a class at 8 a.m. after being up all night writing a paper and telling yourself that you’ll get up early enough to go to the library and print it, but oversleep and now you’re screwed! Keeping a printer in your room will save you loads of stress. Maybe even split it with your roommate; one buys the actual printer and the other buys paper and ink. Teamwork! 

Decor/little things that make you happy: You’ll most likely be spending a lot of time in your room, so make it feel like home. (Dorm decor on a budget post coming soon!!)

Now, I hate to be such a mom, but guys… get it together. 

Move-in day is about a month away for most, so make sure you’ve got your eye on the prize.

I hope these tips, tricks, and lists helped with getting you into the college spirit (you’ll need a lot of that), and have you excited to start your journey to becoming an adult!

As always, if you have any questions/comments, want me to write about something specific or if you just wanna say “wassup”, shoot me a message on the submit page! Anonymously or nah.

Much love & happy thoughts,



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