25 Dorm Room Essentials to Send Off to School with Your Child

posted: 04/14/15
by: Sarah Fernandez
25 Dorm Room Essentials to Send Off to School with Your Child

Having your child live on his own for the first time is both exciting and scary, but one of the best ways to make sure the experience is a success is to ensure he has all the things he needs to make each day a bit easier and to give him of the comforts of home. Before you drop your child off at college or boarding school, make sure you have all the items on this list and you'll have fewer panicked phone calls from afar.

1. Bedding. Bedding is one of the only ways for your child to really display their personality in their dorm room, and it's where they'll be calling home this school year so make sure it's high quality and offers as much comfort as possible.
2. Towels. Send at least four sets of towels for your child so that they're never at a loss for a clean towel, even when the laundry didn't get done.
3. Robe. Time in the dorm typically means communal bathrooms so a good robe is an essential for getting from their room to the bathroom and back without exposing too much skin to everyone they pass in the hallway.
4. Shower Shoes. Communal bathrooms aren't quite as clean as yours at home, so your child will want a pair of flip flops that they can wear to and from the shower (as well as in it).
5. Shower Caddy. With many fewer showers than there are people, nobody will be leaving behind their toiletries in the shower, and there's nothing more frustrating than realizing mid-shower that the razor is back in their room. A solid shower caddy to tote toiletries is a must.
6. Laundry Bag/Basket. To increase the chances of your child's laundry being done in a timely manner, make sure they have a good laundry bag or basket that can hold ample amounts of clothes and is easy to carry.
7. Laundry Detergent. The laundry isn't going to get done if there's no detergent, and if it has to be bought, it could be delayed for quite some time so start them off right with an extra-large bottle.
8. Mini Fridge. Chances are, your child won't be doing a lot of grocery shopping, but it's a good idea to get them a mini fridge so they'll have a place to keep water or soft drinks as well as be able to store leftovers from those 2 a.m. pizza deliveries.
9. Microwave. A small microwave for reheating those leftovers will make sure that they don't go to waste, and will also allow your child to make tea or coffee for those long nights studying.
10. Dishware and Utensils. A full set of dishes isn't needed for a dorm room, but it's a good idea to at least send a plate, bowl, mug, glass, and utensils so that your child is never caught without a way to eat.

11. Snacks. To avoid a lot of overspending on food, stock up on your child's favorite snacks at the grocery store. The pricing is much better than when they buy them out of the vending machine at the end of the hall.

12. Disinfectant Wipes. While it would be nice to have a full set of cleaning supplies, dorm space tends to be tight. Disinfectant wipes are a great all-purpose cleaning product that can be used for everything from spills to dusting to basic wiping down of door handles and just about anything else you can think of.
13. Vacuum. Now that Mom won't be around to clean, your child will have to take care of making sure the crumbs and dust don't pile up on their own. A vacuum of any size will prove to be an invaluable tool.
14. Underbed Storage Bins. Storage is at a premium in dorm rooms so anywhere you can find it, you'll use it. One of the best storage spots in a dorm room is under the bed. Be sure to bring storage bins that will easily fit below for off-season clothing, extra bedding, and other essential but not used every day items.
15. Space Saving Hangers. There's a good chance that your child will be shocked to see how little closet space they are given to fit all of their clothes. Specialty hangers that maximize the use of space will be a huge help in getting as much as possible in that little closet.

alarm clock
br />16. Alarm Clock. While many students now use their smart phones as their alarm clock, it's still a good idea to have a back-up alarm clock for when the phone battery dies or the phone gets accidentally left behind in a friend's room across campus.
17. Desk Lamp. Overhead lighting is not only harsh, but when there's a roommate involved who wants to go to bed, and your child is still studying, they'll need a smaller lamp for their desk to be courteous.
18. Desk Supplies. Much of today's coursework may be done online, but there are still times when your child will need basic desk supplies like a stapler, tape, paperclips, and more. Make sure they are well stocked so they're never frantically looking for that stapler when they're rushing to turn in a paper.
19. Permanent Marker. With so many kids needing the same supplies, they're bound to have the same items as some of their other dorm-mates. Prevent having to buy anything over and over again by marking your child's items with their name with a permanent marker, and make sure they keep one on hand for any new items they obtain.
20. Smartphone Speakers. There's no longer a need for the bulky stereos that we had as students taking up so much space, but a good set of speakers to amplify their favorite playlists on their smartphones will give them a way to listen to their tunes and share them with their friends.

Image: melloveschallah/Creative Commons

21. Rug. With so many students moving in and out of the dorms each year, schools tend to always install tile or linoleum floors because they're easier to maintain and sanitize. Unfortunately, they aren't too comfortable to sit on when there are extra friends in the room or space is needed to spread out to work on a project. Bring a plush area rug to help soften the floor area.
22. Computer. Even if the school has extensive computer labs, a personal computer will make getting work done so much easier, and allow your child to have everything they need in one place, whether they're in the dorm room or the classroom.
23. Fan. It's hard for air-conditioned buildings to regulate the temperature at a comfortable level for everyone at all times of year. A good fan (preferably one with heating and cooling functions) will help keep your child cool in the warmer months and warm in the winter months.
24. Safe Box. If your child will have any favorite jewelry or other valuable items, a portable safe is a great place for them to store it. Chances are that no one would actually be looking to steal the items, but this will ensure that nobody borrows it without asking either.
25. Memories of Home. Even though they're off on their own, it's important for your student to know that you're always there for them. Pictures of the family as well as their friends from home will remind them of how loved they are -- which is always reassuring when you're away from home.