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What not necessarily on list things did you send with your college kids to the dorm that ended up being useful?


Dmmetler
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And, conversely, what did you send that never got touched?

 

I figured more people would see this here than on the College board. We're leaving Sunday to move L in on campus, and will be doing a shopping trip when we get there with the roommate for bedding and room decor-type items, and I think I have most of the regular stuff that is usually on lists, but I'm wondering what essentials we might have missed, especially stuff that would be too small to do an Amazon order for, but likely won't be available within walking distance of campus, since my kid won't have a car and isn't old enough to rent one. 

 

 

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Well, not essential, but my kid always unpacks & puts up her string of LED lights almost right away.

I got her a portable cooling desk thing for her laptop but I don't think she uses it.

She uses her Bluetooth speakers. (Her dorm room has always been suite-style so she has a Bluetooth speaker in her private room & I think she also puts one in the common room so she can switch between them.)

The handful of books she brought with her because she thought she'd reread them were mostly untouched. She reads ebooks on her phone.

A small sewing kit, burn cream, tape, envelopes, & stamps are things she's either been sought out for, used, or requested from other students. 

She always says she should bring less t-shirts because she picks up 4-5 free ones in the first few days alone.

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We made a first aid kit for the college kids, with instructions for what to take, when. And a small tool kit. 

Rain ponchos. They weren't on the list, but something that can be worn over a backpack for trekking across campus in the rain when going to/from class was a much-needed/appreciated item for both of ours. One also asked for rain boots.  For the ponchos we just picked up a pack of those "disposable" ones and they tucked the whole pack in their backpack pocket and kept it there; when faced with rain, pull one out, throw it on, it can drip-dry in the shower once back to the dorm and can be reused or not, depending on your kid. 

A trashcan ended up not needed by one; the school provided them, but we hadn't realized.

 

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List of prescription medications she had taken in the past would have been helpful.  For instance, which antibiotics were tolerated well?  This was stuff I knew but she didn’t.

Extra light.  We got a cheap floor lamp at the last minute at Target and it turned out to be crucial.  Also those string lights are very popular and kids put them everywhere.

I sent care packages periodically the first year that included disposable seasonal stuff like Thanksgiving paper napkins.  This was a hit, and enabled her to host people with a bit of style without being over the top.  

A throw was awesome for either sitting in the living room or doing homework on the bed, either way you don’t want to trail your entire bed quilt with you.  

Extra food in the event of a power outage or snowcopolypse never got used but I still think it was a good idea.  It was just dry spaghetti noodles, jarred sauce, and I think one of those green cans of cheap parmesan cheese.

Shower supplies thing that hooked over the shower nozzle but could be taken back out was super useful as there were 4 girls in one bathroom.

Edited by Carol in Cal.
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Following along…our situation is a bit different since DS will be overseas and living in an on campus apartment, not in a dorm room. He’s only taking clothes, shoes (so, so many shoes lol), and electronics including his gaming computer. Everything else he will purchase there.

Reading responses with interest! 

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DS was very popular in his dorm at the beginning of his first semester because he had band aids.

IIRC, he took these items in a plastic pencil box:

band aids

antibiotic cream

ibuprofen

acetaminophen

pepto bismol tablets

immodium

 

If she has any prescriptions, make sure she has knows what pharmacy to use & it's location, how to order a refill (in our experience student health filled some prescriptions if you saw a provider there, but they don't have everything) and you need to discuss how to pay for it if you are covering medication costs for her. She also needs her own copy of medical, dental and Rx insurance cards. If she has a chronic illness, I suggest an introductory appointment at student health during the first week so that she can make sure they have all of the information they need.

FWIW, ds' university student health rocked! They caught a serious, rare disease that doesn't usually occur in people his age, coordinated labs & specialists both there and here at home during the following summer. I know they vary widely in quality, but don't rule them out as a resource out of hand.

 

 

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One dc was on the top bunk and loved having a metal caddy that could hang on the railing and hold books.  Also a light that could clip onto the bed for reading.  Both were cheap on Amazon and could be ordered after seeing if they were needed. Also, that dc had a small duffle bag for weekend trips with friends.  

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I'd go light on in room food/cooking related stuff.  My kid hardly used that stuff - occasional tea and microwave popcorn.  He would have stuff like trail mix, granola bars, random snacks but not stuff that needed prep.  It was way easier to go to food service.  And you can always have something shipped in later.  Amazon is a college student's friend!  

In general, less is better in dorms IMO.  You never know when you're going to have to move out entirely with a few days notice mid year.  🤪🙄  LOL - but seriously, even my freshman year of college I had a roomie issue and had to move suddenly mid year.  Another friends kid in the last couple years ended up having a heating issue in their dorm and students got shuffled around. 

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A small basic tool set.....hammer, screw drivers, small set of wrenches and Allen wrenches (hex keys) .  I was very popular the first few weeks of school.....or at least my tool set was.

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OP, is she going to be at UAH and if so, is she going to follow or play hockey? Their team is Div 1 hockey with the U.P. schools and they regularly travel to UP for games, so it is pretty darn cold for spectators and team/staff. Might need a parka and such if she is going to be coming this way. I couldn't remember what school she is headed to, and thought of the first game with spectators from Bama who nearly froze!

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Got used: A little over the cabinet door bar to hang  a hand towel in the bathroom just below the sink. I got it at Lowe’s. 

Got used: A nice over the sink dish rack. It takes up no counter space.

Didn’t get used: His Ninja Bullet. Honestly, he should have used it, and it’s a great little dorm blender. But he just didn’t.

Got used: bag clips.

Got used: A stand for his bike. He kept his in his dorm.

Other good things: paper towel holder. Swiffer (Swifter?) mop with cloths to reuse instead of those disposable ones.

Also, a flashlight.

 

Edited by Indigo Blue
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My daughter found the following items useful ~

A flashlight (her college has buildings that looked Hogswartian and she enjoyed searching through the basements; I'm glad she never got stuck somewhere!)

Rain boots

A wooden lap desk like this as she's never been one to sit at a traditional desk.

ETA: Several small dot rugs from Ikea; her dorm had wooden floors and these added warmth and color.

1 hour ago, Dmmetler said:

And, conversely, what did you send that never got touched?

She took about thirty of her favorite books but found little time to read them!

Regards,

Kareni

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Definitely recommend a fan because the dorm rooms seem really warm despite AC.

Also I think sending OTC meds like Tylenol, Ibuprofen and cold meds so they don’t have to go searching if they get sick. Another good thing is some supplies in case they get a stomach bug - chicken noodle soup, crackers and sprite or whatever they like.

In the time of Covid I send a pulse ox and thermometer and I’m thinking I’m going to send a couple of rapid self tests too.

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27 minutes ago, Faith-manor said:

OP, is she going to be at UAH and if so, is she going to follow or play hockey? Their team is Div 1 hockey with the U.P. schools and they regularly travel to UP for games, so it is pretty darn cold for spectators and team/staff. Might need a parka and such if she is going to be coming this way. I couldn't remember what school she is headed to, and thought of the first game with spectators from Bama who nearly froze!

No-Agnes Scott won, and they play DIII women's sports-if they play at all this year. 

 

 

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Definitely a rice bag.  Not only for when they don't feel good, but if you live in a colder climate, it feels so good at night or damp days!

Along with meds they may need if sick, I sent Sambucus/elderberry,  or anything to help prevent getting sick in the first place. Zinc cough drops, 

https://www.walgreens.com/store/c/boiron-oscillococcinum-homeopathic-medicine-for-flu-like-symptoms/ID=prod366595-product. And Top Ramen, tea, crackers...the kinds of things they may need for when they are recovering.   Don't forget clorox wipes and thin rubber gloves for cleaning. 

What didn't get used: stamps, envelopes...but once they were out of the dorms needed those kinds of things for some reason. 

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4 hours ago, TechWife said:

FWIW, ds' university student health rocked! ... I know they vary widely in quality, but don't rule them out as a resource out of hand

I wish dd#1's school had good student health. They won't even administer allergy shots. And this is a school with a nursing college!! 

4 hours ago, Faith-manor said:

 Their team is Div 1 hockey with the U.P. schools and they regularly travel to UP for games, 

Nope. Hockey is not a thing at UAH anymore. Canceled. Long story, but gone.

Obviously YMMV. Many parents reported finding the clorox wipes unopened when they went to move their kid out when covid caused schools to shut down in 2020. Great because they were in short supply then, but sad that their kids never once used the cleaning supplies they sent. So know thy student when sending cleaning supplies!

Edited by RootAnn
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My kids used a couple of folding camping chairs--they provided extra seating when visitors came by, they were easily moveable to a friend's room, and they came in handy if they wanted to go sit outside somewhere.  They also made use of a small, softsided cooler:  for car trips, to take cooking supplies to a friends dorm, and for picnics.  

Other handy items:  stapler, binder clips and paper clips, pair of scissors, needle and thread, small hammer and screwdriver, extra charging cords and plugs.

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A mini freezer (not fridge) was heavily used all four years so she could have home-cooked food, lol. 

And this wasn't sent with her, but was heavily used when we moved her in, and whenever she moved rooms: a portable upholstery cleaner, The chair in her room was pretty clean but it was nice to get it super clean. The furniture in the common area was varying levels of not-clean, and if we had not brought the upholstery cleaner with us, I would have been buying one, lol. 

Charging cords and extension cords were madly used by both kids. 

Extra backpack so that M/W and T/Th could just stay packed. 

Big Rubbermaid-style totes to pack away less-used but still-needed items. 

Washi tape for marking things. 

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Posted (edited)

There's a limit of one 2.7 cubic foot refrigerator per room, so I'm pretty sure a freezer won't pass muster. Normally, they don't allow individual refrigerators in the first year dorms.  COVID changed that. 

Edited by Dmmetler
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Ds really likes his electric tea pot for making cocoa, hot spiced apple cider from packets, and hot water for noodles when the mood strikes him. I also sent a Brita water pitcher so he could filter the city water which he doesn't appreciate after years of well water run through a household reverse osmosis. 

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28 minutes ago, Faith-manor said:

Ds really likes his electric tea pot for making cocoa, hot spiced apple cider from packets, and hot water for noodles when the mood strikes him. I also sent a Brita water pitcher so he could filter the city water which he doesn't appreciate after years of well water run through a household reverse osmosis. 

All the dorms at my kid's college have filtered water bottle fillers now all over campus.  That's worth checking because those filters take up a lot of space in those mini fridges.  

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I bought my niece who moved into a dorm 3 years ago a Keurig. She says that she uses it a couple of times a day. She also runs it without a pod to get plain hot water for instant oatmeal and such. I bought the one from Costco at that time.

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3 hours ago, katilac said:

Big Rubbermaid-style totes to pack away less-used but still-needed items

These served as summer storage (my sister lived an hour away while we lived cross country from my daughter's college). They also served as makeshift tables and stools (when upside down).

Regards,

Kareni

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What he used that I wasn't sure he would use:

A fan. No AC in the dorm. 

Cold medicine. The good expensive stuff. 

High quality paper for his math. He just loves it. 

Extra headphones because headphones break and then you don't have any for a couple of days

A come to your dorm room to fix your computer insurance plan

A little zipper case for critical travel documents - passport, covid card, money, etc

 

What he didn't use

A little baby frig that could hold 3 coke cans - we thought he would use it for cheese for late night snacks, but no. He hasn't used it in 3 years.

A shoe box of dribs and drabs. Someone recommended that we just collect random things like string, paper clips, scissors, tape, hammer, screwdriver, sewing kit, etc. But I'm not convinced he has ever opened the box. 

Shirts from home. He seemed to collect shirts from his university and he only wears them, not the ones he brought. 

A set of dishes. a bunch of herbal teas. 

 

Edited by lewelma
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Just moved mine in, so not sure on exactly what she will use- 

Command Strips- we used them to hang everything!  Curtains, mirror, string lights- get more than you think you will need!

Umbrella,  rain coat, rain boots (I may get a boot tray as a PP suggested!)  Shes already needed this!  

Cleaning supplies, a small bucket (I took an old ice cream tub), old towels- dorms are dirty!  You'll want to clean first.  

 

And I'm not sure about where your DD is going, but stores were getting wiped out of things- we didn't take the laundry detergent,  shampoo, etc bc we planned to just buy them there.  We were able to get everything,  but we were in the first of move-in- stores are wiped out of things now.  If there are things she will need immediately,  I'd buy them now.  I also washed all the bedding items and towels before we left.

 

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4 hours ago, Dmmetler said:

There's a limit of one 2.7 cubic foot refrigerator per room, so I'm pretty sure a freezer won't pass muster. Normally, they don't allow individual refrigerators in the first year dorms.  COVID changed that. 

You can get the freezers just as small as the refrigerators, so it's just a matter of choice. She definitely wanted real food more than she wanted a stash of cold drinks or ham and cheese. 

1 hour ago, BusyMom5 said:

 Command Strips- 

And I'm not sure about where your DD is going, but stores were getting wiped out of things-

 

We used tons of Command Strips as well, but some dorms don't allow them.

And yep, I would bring as much of what she needs as is practical. College town stores were lunacy in the fall before Covid existed. Locally (not a college town), we've had sketchy access to cleaning products since the first big shutdown. It tends to go in waves of what is and isn't available, but I would definitely want have my spray cleaners, paper towels, and so on in hand before arriving. 

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I'm hoping that we can do some shopping there-the roomies are planning to meet before move in and shop together. I'm sending enough bedding to make it work even if there's nothing, but I think they're hoping to coordinate and decorate. 

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Two things that aren't essentials but were definitely used year after year are a mattress topper for the bed (dorm mattresses tend to be not the most comfortable), and a rolling cart like this:

https://www.ikea.com/us/en/p/raskog-utility-cart-gray-green-90443135/?gclid=CjwKCAjwsNiIBhBdEiwAJK4khng1DM9Cm7X-5i41RThclSBxEvjkNMTvjiCl1nAUzxd2HBh-dXAXsRoCUwMQAvD_BwE

 

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48 minutes ago, KungFuPanda said:

A shower speaker with a suction cup.  My daughter was ALWAYS the shower DJ.

A tool kit that included something to cut open amazon boxes and packages.

A sled.

Good ones!

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50 minutes ago, KungFuPanda said:

A shower speaker with a suction cup.  My daughter was ALWAYS the shower DJ.

A tool kit that included something to cut open amazon boxes and packages.

A sled.

Not sure a sled will get much use in Atlanta.... 

 

We have a tool kit packed, and my teen has a multitool that already mostly gets used to open Amazon boxes 🙂 .

 

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12 hours ago, Kareni said:

When it snowed at my daughter's college, the cafeteria trays were repurposed!

Regards,

Kareni

It’s the Georgia way, too. The uni my son attended sold sleds in the dining areas at cost to try to prevent this. It must be successful because they do it every year! 

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On 8/12/2021 at 1:35 PM, TCB said:

cold meds so they don’t have to go searching if they get sick

When ds got to AL, he discovered that he had to be 19 to purchase cold meds. So be aware that different states have different laws about cold medicine.

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