I was inspired to write this blog post after realizing my appreciation for my laundry basket. As silly as that sounds, this white little cube has stuck with me for the past four years of my time at CU, and I never expected it to be an essential part of my college experience. I have used my laundry basket not only for laundry, but also for transporting things between my house and school, bringing a big collection of ingredients to a friend's house for baking, or a storage place for things I knew I needed to make sure I took home to my parents the next time I saw them! Appreciating my laundry basket, which was a gift my freshman year from a family friend, I started thinking of the other appliances or investments I have made from the beginning of my college career that have become important parts of my every day life. At the same time, I thought of the items I bought from a checklist at the local department store that were "College Essentials" that I turned out to never use.
This lead me to think that around this time of year, people start shopping for their future dorm rooms and houses in college. I wanted to give you my two cents before you buy! I took a survey of my friends and asked them what items they found most useful or not in college that no one ever told them they would want! I made a list below of the items they said:
COLLEGE ESSENTIALS- the items we didn't think we would need that ended up being the most useful things we could bring to school.
1) Extension cords - you never know where you will have an outlet, and you will underestimate the number of appliances you will want to plug in at once. I've carried four of them around for all four years of different lengths and styles, but they are always a priority in unpacking each place I move.
2) Laundry basket - doubles as second suitcase and a home base for important documents or things to take home!
3) A first-aid kit, including neosporin, band-aids, ibuprofen, etc. Plus, when your friends need a band-aid because they are ill prepared, you can come to their rescue.
4) Command strips and tape to hang pictures, etc.
5) A water bottle or two. Make it your own and add some stickers so you keep track of it and get to express yourself a bit! And save plastic by reusing...
6) A business casual outfit. Opportunities to wear it will sneak up on you and you'll be glad you had a go-to option!
7) A PLANNER and a big wall calendar - I never leave the house without my planner, and the big wall calendar lets me look at my weeks laid out to avoid letting due dates and events sneak up on me
8) A water pitcher/filter - my friends kept it in their fridge so they didn't have to go down the hall to fill up water bottles all the time, but just filled the pitcher every so often instead!
8.5) Along the same lines, electric kettles are genius. Same with Kuerigs if you are a big coffee person. Both help save money from buying tea/coffee, are great for making hot drinks, and have an easy upkeep!
9) A mini sewing kit. Life happens, and just like with the first aid kit, your friends will thank you. Also, ask Mom to teach you to sew before you come on campus!
10) A tool kit of some sort - I have used screwdrivers countless times to change batteries, etc.
11) Clocks. Don't let yourself have an excuse for not being on time!
12) Reusable bags for the grocery store. These are now required in Boulder unless you want to pay 10 cents per bag, so just bring some! They also act as great second suitcases like the laundry basket.
13) An external hard drive for your computer - these have saved myself and my friends on multiple occasions, and you may have a moment of panic in your four years if a computer acts up, so just back up your computer and avoid late-night scrambles to rewrite an essay!
14) A make-up mirror - my freshman year I just did my make-up in my room, so having the mirror on my desk helped so I had good lighting and did not need to lean over the sinks in the common bathroom!
15) An extra phone charger or camera charger. Having your phone die is the biggest bummer ever, so just keep one in your backpack!
16) Paper clips, staples (and STAPLER!), push pins - I've been carrying the same carton of these things around for four years, but I have been so thankful to have access to these things when I need them! Also, professors really hate when students turn in unstapled work - avoid the stink-eye by stapling before class!
COLLEGE UNESSENTIALS - items I used maybe for a year or just a couple of times that I was TOLD I would need, but are not things a student can't survive without.
1) The sheets/towel sets sold in the mail from your school. Lots of department stores now sell twin XL sheets and towels. Don't feel pressured to buy the ones the school provides, you have lots of options!
2) A desk lamp - the school provides one for you!
3) Book covers. In college, you buy your own books, so keeping them covered is not as huge of a deal.
4) Appliances with an open flame - you will get asked to rid your room of these (toasters, candles, etc), so just know you can make toast in the dining hall and candle warmers do a similar job.
This list will continue to be edited and evolve, so feel free to check back before you go shopping next! I think getting ready to come to college is one of the most fun times to dream up a new room scheme/theme and start fresh with some of your room decor. Comment below with questions or feedback on the list, I'm happy to add your input or to answer any questions about what you might need!