School time is surely approaching and if you’re starting your abroad studies for the first time there is a lot to consider first. As someone who lived in dormitories for 7 years altogether, I’m sure I have some insights. There are a few basic dorm room essential I’m sure you thought of before but some crucial that would surprise you.
For this essential list, I choose a store with over 11 000 stores worldwide and an online store as well. Walmart.
Walmart prepared a well-made dorm room essentials page on its online store divided into categories. Let’s comment on some of those.
But first of all, let me tell you about my dorm times.
I moved to my first dormitory when I was 15 and it was a girl’s dormitory and I was obligated to get back home every weekend. Aka lots of traveling. I’m not sure how well furniture is dormitories in other states. Judging from the movies and tv shows it looks so damn fancy and I can’t believe that’s the reality. So I’m gonna go with what I had.
One room for 3 girls. Basic rectangle-shaped room with a window on one side and door on the opposite. 2 beds on one side and the bed on the opposite side net to 3 wardrobes. By our first year, we had propper mattresses and plastic windows. The older we got the more we could handle so we were transferred to more challenging conditions.
We had a common bathroom that was no issue considers it was all girls. There was a separate room for toilets with sinks and another one for showers and other sinks. When you have 80 girls waking up at the same time in the morning and using the bathroom at the same time things can get pretty messy. Plenty of times we had to actually wait in line to do our morning routine. That’s why having your bathroom kit ready is so important.
Back at my high school dormitory, we had very strict rules.
For example, in our first year, we couldn’t go out past 6 o’clock. the older we got the longer our time outside the dorm got. In our last year, we were able to be out till 9 o’clock. We had a daily and nightly tutor keeping an eye on us. By 10 o’clock we had to be in our rooms for our daily tutor to count us and wish us goodnight before the nigh tutor came it. She would be very upset with us if she finds our lights on after 10 o’clock. We even had to have a permit to study past the 10 at our common hall.
I remember how upset we were with our regime but now looking back that was the most fun I ever had.
Breaking the rules never felt better than bak them when we had so many rules to break.
I mean sure, once I got to the university dorm and everything was allowed, boys and girls were mixed together and there was partying all the time. It was fun but it lost its charm. What was there to lose? What was so excited about it when there was no one against it?
University dorm was a lot similar but it had just 2 beds instead of three. It also had more additional space to use for whatever. The bathroom was one big room with 4 showers, 5 sinks, and 3 toilets. The kitchen was much better at university since it was our home for the whole of our student years. It was unbelievably small. One big fridge where I never put anything unless I wanted it to be taken. Sink and a stove with 4 cookers on. There were times when there were 4 of us cooking at the same time. We got all much closer.
I’m so freaking grateful for the times I spend at dorms.
It was the best time of my life so far. Sure it’s been a mess and things got tough sometimes, but that’s the part of it. Now I think back fondly at the times when we had bed bugs or that time we got a warning for being too loud and having too many people in our room. The times we went to school straight out of the party or the time I woke up with people sleeping in a tent in front of my room. Good times. Good times.
There are some basic essentials everyone needs for their dorm life.
Let’s look at it from Walmarts categories point of view.
Even though we get our set of pillow, comforter, and white sheets, I put them straight to the top of my wardrobe. It was great to use when we had visitors over and slept either on the ground or at the inflatable bed we later purchased. A problem occurred when we realized that even though we have the bed but we don’t have the pump to inflate it with. From experience, it takes forever to inflate a bed with your mouth. Most of the time we ended up sleeping at the deflated bed and used it just as a ground softener.
So the lesson is: get an inflatable bed for unexpected situations that will surely occur.
Just like this Air Mattress Bed and for the love of god get yourself a foot pump just like this one.
I got myself a hypoallergenic comforter just like this one and I would recommend you do the same. It’s a long-time investigation as I used them for a long time after. Keep in mind that most of your study happens in cold months and the quality blanket is a lifesaver. Plush blankets are harder to clean but oh my god are they comfy.
There are plenty of anti-bug mattresses protections on the market like this one for example. But the fact is that even though you might not have the bugs but your neighbor might. In that case, the rule is that the room from each site gets sprayed just in case. You would have to pack all your things in bags or someone will do it for you. Spray the whole room with chemicals and close it up for several hours. Later on, you’ll have to thoroughly wash everything you own. I remember the dorm allowed us to use the washing machine for free if we had bed bugs. How sweet.
Then there is much personal stuff to get like different amounts of pillows you sleep with and sheets of your preferred style that would fit your dorm room aesthetics. Even though I’m not pregnant I just love the feeling of a pregnancy pillow.
If your dorm doesn’t offer a mattress Walmart has a great collection for that HERE.
Bathroom essentials differ depending on the dorm’s bathroom equipment. Ours were plain empty and a lifesaver was this bathroom kit I had prepared ahead. I had a shower kit. Waterproof bag or box to store essentials for the shower I would take with me. Another one, let’s call it a morning kit to take with me to the bathroom to do my morning routine.
Our toilets didn’t have toilet paper so we had to bring our own every time. The toilet kit contained toilet paper, soap in a pump, and a small towel. Sounds like a lot of thinking ahead for just a bathroom but after a while, you’ll tune it out. It will be automatic to bring a bag to the shower.
Few times I tried to keep my stuff in the bathroom but the things keep miraculously missing every time.
The laundry room also differs from dorm to dorm. Our dorm for example, even though had 4 buildings, had just one laundry room with 4 washing machines. It was paid in 30 minutes and you’ll get a key to the box where the washing machine was hidden. Not to talk dirty about the machines used in our dorm but you had to be prepared for everything. Will the water pour out of the washing machine when it’s done? Will it even start washing? Would it be 30 minutes or 2 hours? You’ll just never knew.
If you somehow managed to find an empty washing machine and get the key from the reception you had to have your laundry kit ready.
In the beginning, I used to store my dirty laundry in plastic bags but it was impossible to carry it all the way to the laundry room with the washing powder and fabric softener. That’s why the laundry basket is a must. We had a separate room to hand the washed clothes but you can imagine how hard it was to find a space to hang yours. A hanging rack is a great solution, and it’s not like you have to have your own. Get together some friends and buy one together.
Different storage baskets not only help you with organizing your stuff but the room looks much cleaner with them. I used them for everything. I had my spare books in some. One was for the food. A smaller one for the spices. I used some to stock my socks and underwear in. Another was for the random stuff. The boxes give you a strange sense you have your life together, therefore is one of the most important dorm room essentials.
Another organization hacks are hooks. Unless you come to a room already used by someone who drilled some extra hangers to the wall you might find yourself in a bit of a pickle. Most of the fresh students don’t own a drill machine. The solution is over the door hangers that look just like this. No need for unnecessary complicate stuff for yourself. Or you can always hang your coat or jacket over the oped wardrobe door but that adds to the messy look.
When you’re in college you get to pretend you have your shit together.
One of the best decisions of my dorm life was to get myself a minifridge for the room. we shared one common in the kitchen but as I already mentioned it was used by over 40 people from our hall and things got stolen all the time.
It doesn’t matter that our room fridge contained liters of alcohol and some yogurt and that was it. It was ours and it was safe. We placed the fridge next to the table and stock other appliances on it. I and my roommate called it our kitchen corner. We had a fridge, microwave, mini-oven, and a kettle. The basics. Friends of ours often come to our room to heat up their food in our microwave until they got their own. Mini-oven was my specialty. We had a common stove but no own and there are so many frozen food options to prepare in an oven that saves so much time. The oven was of smaller volume but for cooking for one it was more than enough.
Mine looked just like this one here.
I personally prefer plastic plates and cups. It all trackback to that time I pulled a freshly baked pizza from my mini oven, put it on my glass plate, dropped on the ground, and shattered it all into tiny pieces. I eventually dropped out of college as I mentioned in my honest story of my University dropout, but that was really tough moment. I lost this way all of my favorite mugs.
There are never enough mugs in the dorm. Seriously no matter what room party we attended there was always one rule. Bring your own mug. Not a cup. Mug. There is nothing that screams college parties like drinking shots out of a Christmas mug. In April. Some that look like those here.
I realize we could have easily purchased glass sets like his one, but where is the fun in that?