The Do’s and Don’ts of Back-to-School Shopping (College Edition)

Summer went by WAY too quickly and I’m a little pissed. Move-in day is creeping closer and closer, and so, back-to-school shopping season is upon us. Last year, I brought too many unnecessary items to school because I had no clue what I would/ wouldn’t need; but, now I’m older and wiser, and I have a better idea of what is crucial for dorm survival. So, without further ado, here are some do’s and don’ts of what you need for your dorm.


Photo courtesy of Daria Shevtsova


You’ll definitely need some comfy bedding. Your bed is the main part of your dorm, and you want it to look cozy; however, don’t bring 14 throw pillows. They might look really cute when your bed is made, but they get in the way and are super inconvenient. Try sticking to two or three. Here’s another hack: get a mattress topper. Dorm beds are NOT comfortable, and getting a 2 inch mattress topper makes all the difference, trust me.


Bring hooks for the wall to hang up any jackets or towels, and make sure you bring bins with extra drawers for storage. Living in a tiny area really forces you to pack all of your stuff up in creative ways, so get some extra storage bins from Target or Walmart to help store those extra clothes/ towels/ etc. Make sure you bring hangers for your closet as well.

Food/ Drinks

Don’t bring a million snacks. Yes, snacks are great, but the freshman 15 isn’t. If you’re going to bring snacks, make sure they’re healthy, because eating an entire pack of Oreo’s the night before a big test shouldn’t become a routine (although its okay once or twice.) Also, instead of buying plastic water bottles every day, bring a reusable water bottle you can fill up. It’s better for the environment, and they’re easy to wash out at the end of every day.


Definitely bring wall decor. You want your room to represent you, so bring things to put on your wall to make it really feel like home. Bring pictures of you and your friends, art prints, records… anything that makes you feel like your dorm is yours. I also had some picture frames and plants on my desk last year. Stringing lights on the wall is another great way to make your room feel cozy. Add anything that makes you happy!

School Supplies

I made the mistake of bringing a crap ton of school supplies to college. In most of your classes (depending on your major) your assignments will all be electronic, so you really don’t need a ton of notebooks and pencils and things like that. All you really need is one notebook and some pencils and pens. I would also recommend bringing tape and scissors to have in your room. If you need any extra stuff, you can always grab it at your school book store.

I’m sure I missed some stuff, but those are the biggest tips I have for saving space in your dorm and saving a little money while back-to-school shopping. Add a comment below if you have any other back-to-school shopping tips for college students!




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