Once accepted into college, the next task is often preparation for a move into a dorm room. Of course there are many obvious needs like books, clothing, a laptop for homework, and a cell phone for communication. Few college students will forget about their entertainment needs either. That MP3 player and a laptop for movies, video, and social activities won't be forgotten. However, there are some items that are equally important which are necessary merely for living and living comfortably when you're miles from home and have only one tiny room in which to store all of your things.
The following is a list of items that a first time dorm room dweller might not consider until too late.
1. A small refrigerator.
There is usually a dining hall or eatery in the residence hall or located a short distance away, but when you're up late studying, hanging out with friends, or whatever, having a few critical items on hand can be a life saver. This is particular true when that inevitable flu hits a student the first time and they're trying to fend for themselves without dragging themselves off to the public dining area.
2. A desk fan.
Some dormitories are air conditioned but many are not. Even if you'll be living in a temperate environment those first few weeks of college can be intolerable if your habitat is a sweltering dorm room. A desk fan can be a life saver or, if you have a bit more cash and the residence hall allows it, small window fans can be even better. On the other end, space heaters aren't generally needed but having a blanket to cuddle, a "snuggie", or something similar is wise.
3. A filtered water pitcher.
It's not always true, but it's not uncommon that the water in the dormitory doesn't have the best taste. A simple pitcher with a nice filter can help assure the availability of good water to drink.
4. A power strip/surge protector.
Dorm rooms can be a little like hotel rooms, there are seldom enough outlets to meet all of your needs. You plug in a refrigerator, a fan, and maybe a light and suddenly you have to use battery power every time you turn on your laptop. The answer is a power strip that provides some extra outlets and, ideally, some surge protection for your more precious gadgets.
5. A table top ironing board.
You many not iron many clothes, but when you want something to look good it can be a life saver to have an ironing board and iron. A tabletop ironing board is very compact, and can fit under a bed making it perfect for a dorm room and a college student's budget.
6. A travel iron.
Again, small and affordable, but perfect for those times when something needs to be pressed out to look better. Many of these also offer a steamer function so that clothes can be steamed if an ironing board isn't available.
7. A laundry bag.
Forget baskets, they take up space. A laundry bag fits on a hook and requires no space until you fill it up and by then you have space in the closet.
8. A small desk lamp or lighted mirror.
Most dorm rooms are shared. Your roomate may not keep the same hours as you. A small lamp can save the relationship and allow you to do work, apply make-up, or whatever without keeping them up.
9. A good alarm clock.
Of course you know you need a reliable alarm clock to assure you make it to classes on time. Mom won't be there to wake you up. However, a couple of suggestions are in order. First an electric model that has a battery back up is best. This way, if batteries go dead, it still goes off. If the power goes out, the batteries will still make sure it does it's job. Secondly, if you opt for a vibrating pillow alarm clock, you can get up as early as necessary without disturbing a roommate who doesn't have a class until noon. Again, it's just a relationship saver.
10. A small TV.
Yes, most students will spend more time online than they will watching TV. However, don't think that you can stream or download all kinds of movies online. Most colleges provide the connection and they frown on hogging a lot of bandwidth. So, a small TV (or perhaps a portable media player) can bridge the gap.