As the summer winds down and your aniticipation of move-in day grows, it's time to think about what you need for your new home. These items will maximize storage space and make life much easier. Although this post is geared for new Hoosiers moving into the dorms, many of these things are essential outside of the residence halls!
1. Hanging shelves. These velcro easily around the rod of your closet and just drop down to the floor! Bed Bath & Beyond makes these hangers for both sweaters/clothes and shoes. I recommend one of each. If you do that, they're narrow enough to fit into one section of the closet and still leave room for several hangers. (Most dorm closets consist of two sections with a sliding door dividing them.) The clothing hanger has six compartments, the shoe hanger I used had 10. If 10 pairs of shoes aren't enough, use an over-the-door shoe hanger.
2. Plastic chest/drawer. This also saves tons of space and it fits right into your closet - just don't put it in the same one as your hanging shelves! It's light and easy to carry, and you'll have plenty of room above for hanging clothes. Some dorms already have separate chests or a chest built into the closet, but if you live in Foster like I did, you'll definitely want this. The one I used had a sturdy wooden top, perfect for placing extra items such as laundry detergent. If you don't need it for your closet, you could use it for other storage in your room!
3. Under-the-bed storage box. I didn't think I'd need one of these, but when winter came around and I needed space for my heavier, bulkier clothes, this item did the trick. I used a simple plastic box on wheels that only took up half the space under my bed.
4. Desk lamp. Although your desk comes with a light, sometimes it can be a bit bright, especially if you're trying to study while your roommate sleeps. This lamp is a little darker, but the best part is that it's not just a lamp - it triples as a pen/pencil holder and a charger!
5. Surge protector/power strip. Speaking of chargers, your room doesn't have too many outlets, and you'll need enough to charge your phone, iPod and computer, as well as plug in your TV, microwave, fridge, hair dryer and straightener - not to mention your roommate's electronics! It's nice to have several outlets in one place with one of these power strips, and it clears up outlets for the bigger appliances. This one swivels around incase you need to plug it into hard-to-reach areas or around furniture.
6. Alarm clock/speaker. An iHome works great here, but you can certainly find other brands that do the same thing. These work best as a clock, but are also great as a back-up alarm clock for when you can't hear your phone alarm. Then turn on the speakers, and your floormates will be stopping by to hear where the music is coming from! You can't go wrong with one of these.
7. Microwave and refrigerator. Whether you want popcorn, a cold drink or leftover Chinese food, having a microwave and refrigerator in your room is so convenient. Bedloft has a micro-fridge deal in which you can have the appliances delivered to your room before move-in day and taken back at the end of the year. You get both for $140 for the entire year, and you can split the cost with your roommate!
8. A fan. Even if your dorm has air conditioning, your room can sometimes get warm at the beginning and end of the year. (Or worse, your entire floor's air conditioning will stop working during a hot Labor Day weekend!) In that event, you'll need a fan to stay comfortable.
9. Plastic hooks. Create more hanging space in your closet with these easy to use plastic hooks! They stick right on and pull right of when you're done with them. They're perfect for drying wet clothes and towels, or hanging purses/bags! I recommend using at least six, with three in each closet.
10. Bathrobe. Unless you're lucky enough to have a bathroom in your room, you'll need this for walking to and from the hallway bathroom to take a shower. It's much easier than dragging your clothes and towels with you, and don't forget flip flops!
11. Shower caddy. If your bathroom is in the hallway, you'll need this to easily transport all your shower needs. I recommend getting a plastic one with holes in it so the water drains before you return to your room. This day/night caddy has a mini caddy that pulls out; it's nice when you only need to take a few things!
12. Step stool. Your closet may have overhead storage space, great for storing that duffel bag. However, it's very high up, so you'll need one of these to reach that extra storage space! This one folds up so you can easily store it.
Finally, don't forget your bedding with extra long sheets, towels and washcloths, and plenty of decorations to make the room colorful!
Need more dorm shopping advice? Check these out!