Annie’s Guide to Dorm Shopping

Hello friends!  As promised in my August monthly update (which you can read here), I’m going to share a little bit about how I shopped for college.

College preparation is overwhelming.  There are so many variables to consider: where you’ll be living, who you’ll be living with, what type of housing you’ll get, whether you’ll live off or on campus, et cetera.  On top of that, you have to be considerate of your roommate and how he or she would like to decorate the room.  It’s a lot to consider in a short amount of time, but it can be done if you do it right.

Here are some of my tips to tackle dorm shopping:

1. Make a list.  By that I mean make a big list.  I combed the internet for recommended packing lists and took inspiration from each to create one long list of things I needed to buy.  In the end, my list was six single-spaced pages long.  Pay attention to the minutia: list out every single thing you want to buy.  It looks much more intimidating than it is.  Which brings me to my second point…

2. Use Pinterest for inspiration.  There are so many college packing lists out there and it’s wise to use the resources available.  In addition to packing advice, you can also find loads of cute dorm room pictures to use if you’re unsure of your dorm style.  Here are some links to my college-themed Pinterest board and my dorm-themed Pinterest board.

3. Shop around your house first.  Now that you have your long and lovely list and abounding Pinspiration, it’s time to really get shopping.  Start at home.  Look around your house for small things you can take that you won’t miss when you come home.  For example, I took my pencil cups from my desk and some of my decorations off of my bookshelf, but I bought new sheets and blankets so I could leave mine at home.  Shopping around your house will also bring little pieces of home with you, making your room even more welcoming and familiar.

4. Buy food when you get there.  Even if you’re on a meal plan, it’s a good idea to have something to munch on during your late night study sessions.  However, waiting until you get to school to buy your food it a good idea because your food will be nice and fresh.  My go-to’s?  Goldfish, spearmint gum, white cheddar Cheezits, and Annie’s fruit snacks (yes, the brand is actually called Annie’s).

5. Make a doubt list.  If you’re wondering whether or not you should buy something, you should probably wait.  You’ll have plenty of opportunities to shop once you get to college, so don’t waste space by packing something you’re not even sure you’ll use.  And if you’re like me, you’ll take one (or four) trips to Target or Walmart on move-in day.

6. Invest in Amazon Prime.  I can’t rave enough about how wonderful Amazon Prime is… and they have a student discount!  If you have an .edu email address or another form of documentation that you are, in fact, a college student, you can get Amazon Prime FREE for six months.  But wait: there’s more.  After the six months are up, you get Prime for half-off.  Instead of coughing up $100, you only have to cough up $50.  And did I mention they have included two-day shipping?
*Side note: this was not an ad for Amazon Prime; I just love their service!

7. Buy some school supplies before and some after you get to college.  Buy a single-subject notebook for each class and one binder for every two classes, plus some arbitrary pens and pencils, but I’d stop there.  Your professors may have specific requirements for each class, so wait until after syllabus week to purchase the rest of your supplies.  With that handy-dandy Amazon Prime subscription, this won’t be a problem.

What are your dorm shopping tips?

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