Dorm Shopping: What’s Still Necessary, and What Has Changed?

dorm shoppingI love the idea of shopping, but in practice, it can be overwhelming to me. Looking across a vast store at a hundred different options and deciding which pieces of clothing match, what design to choose for a room, or what to splurge on vs. save. Give me a plan, and I’m good. Send me in without focus, and I come home with four pairs of socks and a lamp.

Dorm shopping, on the other hand, I felt well prepared to accomplish with my daughter. I’d been to college, lived in a dorm, and had pictures of the Kurt Cobain poster to prove it. How much could things have possibly changed in 26 years?

It turns out, quite a bit…

Gone are the days of matching bedspreads and coordinated decor. It’s all about expressing your own style and individuality. My roommate and I went to college with matching reversible green and blue bedspreads. If we were looking to express our style, one of us flipped ours over. My daughter picked up a burnt orange throw pillow from the aisles of
Target and built an entire half of a room around that one pillow. Who raised this child, and can they please come raise me?

No television needed. Our TV that hung in the center of our dorm room with a built-in VCR was an absolute necessity. How else could we watch Reality Bites 800 times and spend hours obsessing over MTV’s Spring Break? Today, everything they want can be pulled up with a Netflix, Hulu, or some other streaming service password on a laptop or cell phone. When I asked my daughter what they planned to do for TV, it was immediately apparent that I had fully succumbed to “the old.”

Although things have changed when it comes to dorm shopping, I do have a few items to share that you may not think about but will absolutely want to make sure you send.

It’s the most important, and the one I still kick myself for not thinking about. Put together a care package of medicine such as Tylenol, cold medicine, and something for an upset stomach. That moment you hear your child is hours away with a fever, and you will want her to have what she needs.

Don’t forget the surge protector with extra outlets. Everything is so “plugged in” these days, and they will need more than a couple of plugs to stay connected. Speaking of plugged in, if you have an avid reader, invest in an E-Reader. Although the dorms are definitely roomier than when I lived in one, there isn’t space for mounds of books, and this helps lighten the load of packing and unpacking.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, efficiency and space savings are key. A hook for the wall to store their keys and student ID, a toothbrush with a built-in holder, and bins that can store supplies under their bed — these are all things we didn’t know if they’d be necessary, but my daughter was immediately glad we had them.

Finally, you will 100% forget something, and that’s okay. The great thing about this day and age is that you don’t have to get it all right. If they find out they need something after you leave, you can have it delivered with a simple click of a button.

Christie Pettus is a full time working wife and mother living her suburban cul de sac dream in Orange Park, Fl. She is Mom to two awesome teenagers, McKenzie and Ethan, who have come to accept that certain parts of their lives will be blogged about, so they should act accordingly. As graduates of the University of Florida, she and her husband Ryan can be found rooting on their alma mater every chance they get including the more obscure sports. LaCrosse anyone? When she’s not judging her kids' questionable teenage choices, she can be found hiding in a room buried in a good book or writing, editing, and dreaming about being a full-time author.


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