Thursday, August 5, 2010

What to Pack for College - The Real List

It's that time of year.  Most kids hate it.  Most Moms are ambivalent about it.  It's Back to School time!!  For our family, in addition to middle and high school, we now have college to add to our list of schools.  This opens up an entirely new floodgate of information about things to buy and prepare for. 

In addition to the list of common dorm room things to buy, I wanted to find out what other things might not be at the top of the list but are used more than expected and top what I call, The Overlooked List of College Items to Buy.  Sure, you need your XL twin sized sheets (buy more than one set so you can do the laundry and still have a set on hand) and mini-fridge.  But more often than not there are those unexpected items you wish you thought of when you were at Target and could have gotten the best price.  So keep this list handy when you're out shopping for your college-bound child, they will thank you when they next see you, at Thanksgiving time!

So, herewith is The Overlooked List of College Items to Buy, obtained by asking experienced moms of college students. 
  1. Ear Plugs:  Unless you have the super-human ability to tune out 99 college noises, you will want to have some sort of ear plug on hand.  Whether you use your iPod ear buds or purchase those foam, form-fitting ear plugs, you will want to have some sort of ear plug to tune-out the outside noise so you can tune-in and concentrate on your studies.
  2. Flip-Flops or Croqs:  If you're going to be living in a dorm or even a fraternity or sorority house, you'll want to avoid those slippery and disgusting shower floors because you may never know who was there last, including non-human critters.  You can find flip-flops for a few dollars at many drug stores or my personal favorite, Target
  3. Tool Box with 5 Essential Items:  When you're getting your room prepared and making it look more like home, you'll need a few tools to make that possible.  These are also handy when you have small repairs like fixing shelves, Sony Playstations, Wiis or even your loft bed.  Put these items in your college tool box:
    1. Small hammer
    2. Leatherman tool (this will contain both a flathead and phillips screwdriver and pliers), plus other handy tools- may even have a bottle opener
    3. Bottle Opener (Oh, Yeah - sudden memories are flashing for some of you parents reading this)
    4. Stapler - include a heavy duty stapler to hang heavier objects, plus the normal paper variety
    5. Duct Tape - you may even discover a new use for Duct Tape while in college
    Pivotable Powerstrip by Quirky
  4. Power Strip and Adapter:  In some of the older dorms, you may not have a three-prong power outlet.  So having an Adapter is a must.  In addition to that many older dorms were built for a different generation that was pre-laptops, pre-cell phone, pre-PSPs, and pre-Wiis.  It's important for the college student to have something like this pivotable powerstrip by Quirky or the Squid by Phillips
  5. Overdoor Hangers/Hooks/Towel Rack: The thing about dorm rooms is they are way too small and therefore every inch counts.  With two people crammed into a tiny room making the most of your living space is essential.  So use every nook and cranny such as getting over-the-door hooks for every single door to hang towels, jackets, pocketbooks, shoes.  The Container Store has some very handy and functional accessories for the dorm that if taken care of, can be used year after year. 
So keep this list handy, whether this is for your child or your niece or  nephew.  You will earn the respect of whoever you give these items to, they will think you're a genius!

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