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A Guide to Dorm Shopping

Posted on 1/10/2021 9:37:51 PM by Amber Berkheimer

Although we won’t be returning to school as soon as many of us had hoped, it is still important to stay hopeful for the upcoming semester and prepare for any situation. Many people will be moving onto campus this semester for the first time since last school year, or maybe even for the first time ever. Having lived on campus during the fall semester and having no idea where to even begin as far as dorm shopping, I’m sure most of us have the same questions, “Do I need a Swiffer?” “How many throw pillows does someone ACTUALLY need?” “What even are shower shoes?” This is a guide to what you totally need to bring with you to school and a list of some items that definitely could have been left at home.

First, I’ll begin with what I found most helpful having with me last semester. The first item I would recommend bringing onto campus this semester is a mesh shower caddy. This is a personal preference, as I know plenty of people who would rather have a plastic shower caddy. The main difference is that the mesh dries quicker, and it usually doesn’t take up as much space when you store it. Something else that was very useful to have is wrinkle release spray. Sometimes, your clothes might come out of the dryer partially damp, or you realize your clothes are wrinkled right as you are leaving your room. Having this available last semester was a lifesaver, and I would definitely recommend it.

Another must-have item, in my opinion, would be a jacket with a hood or an umbrella. It didn’t take long for nearly my entire class to realize, on the first day of freshman orientation, that almost none of us had packed an umbrella, so we got drenched walking back and forth during orientation weekend. It would be useful to have at least one of each of these items, as Pennsylvania weather can be very unpredictable at times.

One last thing that I felt was overlooked by many of us last semester was a ten-foot charger. These chargers are so useful when you live on campus, especially when you don’t know where the closest outlet will be to your bed. People are always borrowing each other’s ten-foot chargers, and it’s just nice to have your own.

packing checklist

Now, onto the items that I brought to school and never once used. For some reason, so many people recommended bringing 2-3 sets of sheets, but I found this to be entirely unnecessary. In my opinion, 2 sets should be the maximum, but even then, it isn’t difficult to wait for your bedding to be done in the laundry room, and you can just put the same sheet set back on your bed when it's finished. To go along with this, I would also recommend bringing no more than 3 bath towels. Not only do they take up space, but you will find that you probably won’t end up using them all, anyway. You’ll most likely find yourself doing your laundry every 4 or 5 days at school, so bringing more than 3 towels is just unnecessary.

One last thing that was unnecessary to me this past semester that I’ll be leaving at home was Tupperware. I never ended up using it at all, but I know some people who used Tupperware at school almost daily. It all depends on your personal preference and if you think it will be necessary for you.

Of course, this is not a comprehensive list of everything that you need to bring and everything that you definitely don’t, but it is what has worked for me from personal experience. When moving into your dorm for the first time, or even packing your things to move back in for the spring semester, it is important that you bring the most necessary items. Make a list of things you use daily so that you don't wind up overpacking tons of unnecessary items. Don’t overthink, and don’t stress! If you do not think you need to bring a certain item, more than likely, you’ll be right!