(BPT) – College is full of milestone moments, both wonderful (walking across the stage to get your diploma) and not-so-great (realizing your sick roommate has sneezed all over your desk and mom and her Clorox wipes are miles away).
Dorm-dwelling is a rite of passage for many college students; 40 percent of full-time students at public colleges live on campus, according to College Bound Network. Living in a dorm can teach you responsibility and cooperation, introduce you to new people and cultures and serve as an important step in your journey toward independence. Making a go of it without the immediate support of your parents can be a challenge, however, so it pays to have some essential survival tools on hand.
The school supply experts at Staples recommend these 7 tools that every dorm-dweller should have on hand:
You’ll probably have your own desk/work area in your dorm room and it most likely won’t be spacious. Organizers and accessories can help keep the smallest workspace tidy and functioning optimally. File sorters can help you stay on top of assignments; drawer organizers can keep pens, pencils and paper clips out of the way but still in reach, and a pencil cup with cellphone holder gives you a place to park your phone while you’re working.
2. Headphones and wireless speakers
Whether you’re relaxing with some tunes or listening to a recording of a lecture you missed, you’ll want the best sound possible. Wireless speakers allow you to move the sound to where you need it most without cluttering up the room with wires. When you’re done using them, store them out of the way. Or, if you don’t want to disturb your roommate (or be disturbed), a good set of headphones are a must.
3. Laundry accoutrements
It’s a time-honored joke that dorm-dwellers bring their dirty laundry home for mom to do, but that’s not really what happens. In reality, you’re going to have to do your own laundry while you’re at school. Most dorms have communal laundry rooms, so you’ll need a basket or bag in which to carry your laundry. It pays to have your own detergent and fabric softener, too, as your roommate will quickly lose patience if you constantly mooch his. Find a small laundry basket with a curve for your hip to make it easy to carry, and consider using those all-in-one laundry packets that incorporate detergent and softener in one pod.
4. A kick-butt laptop
Laptops are great for everything a college student needs and wants to do, from gaming to word processing, streaming video or uploading assignments. Make sure yours is fast and versatile — and a fun color! The HP x360 Stream does everything you need and is available in cool colors like blue and pink.
5. Storage solutions
Dorm rooms are rarely spacious, and don’t forget you’ll almost certainly be sharing with at least one other person. Closet and drawer space will be at a premium. Give yourself additional storage space, like a Premium File Crate from Staples in cobalt blue, rose pink or eco green. Crates are stackable, can fit into corners and can hold just about anything, from books to clothes to audio/visual components. And they’re lightweight to pack up and move when the school year ends.
6. Cleaning supplies
Remember that sick roommate who slimed your desk? That won’t be the only mess you need to clean up in your dorm room. Keep simple, multi-use cleaning supplies on hand like Clorox Wipes, to mop up spills and fight germs. Remember, a clean dorm room is a healthier dorm room!
7. A handheld shower caddy
Dorms often have multiple rooms sharing a single bathroom. Even if your room has its own attached bath, you’ll still be sharing it with at least one other person. If you both leave all your shower stuff there every day, the room will quickly become cluttered. Use a portable shower caddy to transport shower essentials (don’t forget shower shoes/flip flops) to and from the bathroom each day. That way, the room stays neat and you don’t have to worry about your roommate using the last of your salon-quality shampoo!
Dorm dwelling can be a positive experience you’ll never forget, as long as you move in with the right survival tools in hand.