Radiating Sunshine: Dorm Shopping Secrets and Check Lists

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Dorm Shopping Secrets and Check Lists

High school has come and gone and now some of you are leaving home to go to college and live in a dorm. This is a huge adjustment for both the parents and child and can be a scary process not only mentally but also financially. Going off to school means you have to buy new things such as bedding, dorm essentials, a laptop, etc. 

But, don't let that get the best of you! I just finished this process about a year ago and over this past year I have learned some helpful tips on what you'll really need to survive dorm life and what you won't need. 

This post was inspired by my recent trip to Bed Bath & Beyond. This store has all of your college "essentials", but most of it you don't really need or will use. When I went shopping with my mom last year we bought everything and anything that looked useful and unfortunately that was a lot of money wasted on stuff that I didn't really need and didn't really work. Anyways, as I was at BB&B I came upon a mother and a daughter doing there going-to-college shopping and they had all the things I had in my cart that I ended up HATED using. As the mother and daughter were looking at shower caddies I kindly stepped in with my recommendation. They were so thrilled to have some help that we ended up going through their entire cart and picking out what was really needed for dorm life.  

So, I will share with you what I shared with them! Hope this makes the process a little bit easier :)

Warning this post is gender specific

I lived on a girl's floor with a hall bathroom - So, if this is your living arrangement it will definitely apply or if you are on a co-ed floor it will apply as well.  

This is all a matter of opinion and can be dependent on your college, but I found this worked best for me and for most of my friends. 

The What Not To Buy List:

1) Mesh Shower Tote- They work excellent but they stay wet and it's hard to fit all your hair products in them. I would just use a plastic caddy that way you can clean it and they dry so quickly.
2) Gearbox Underbed Shoe Organizer Bag- This is a huge waste of money! It didn't stay up right and collected so much dust! Not to mention one of the zippers broke first use!
3) Bedside Caddy- I found that a lot of people didn't use them. I didn't buy it but I know if I did I most likely wouldn't have used it. My desk was next to my bed so I just used that as my caddy and didn't waste any money. 
4) Table-Top Ironing Board- NOOO, don't do it! In a dorm you already have limited space so don't waste any valuable space with a ironing board regardless of the size. Instead I bought Real Simple's Ironing Pad-- works the same and rolls up nicely for storage!
5) Bed Lifts- A lot of schools don't allow you to use them because its a hazard. 
6) Lots of Tupperware, Cups, Plastic Plates, Bowls, etc- They are a waste of money we bought like 4 cups, 4 bowls, 3 plates, and tupperware but the truth is I only used a cup a day max and I never really used the bowls or plates.

The What To Buy List: (Girl Specific)

Leave me a comment with any recommendations or questions! Hope you found this useful!


  1. What kind of storage bins would you recommend? (:

    1. Hi Brianna! It depends on what type of storage space you have. If you have about a a foot of space under your bed then a simply bin that slides under your bed is great for sweaters or shoes. If you have a raised bed then a big bin can fit all sorts of stuff and can be hidden pretty well. I personally have used a mixture of both and I have liked using the three drawer storage bins as well for everyday outfits.

      Hope this helps


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