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Practical Dorm Essentials for College Freshmen

Decorating a dorm anytime soon? Making your first place away from your parents your own is exciting, but there are some practicalities you should take into account before falling hard for any particular product or design. All of the products listed below can be found at Bed Bath and Beyond, where they happen to have some killer sales going on right now.

Bedding

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When you’re buying bedding for a dorm room, you have to remember that the mattress sizes are different than what you have at home. They’re a little bit longer, and the sheets and comforters that fit them are TwinXL. If you have a twin bed at home with Twin sheets, they will not fit no matter how hard you try.

Shower Caddy

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Showering in a dorm is not the same as showering at home. Each and every time you go to bathe, you’re going to have to bring all of your essentials with you from shampoo to body wash. Rather than fumbling with a pile of beauty products, you’ll want to put them in a water-resistant shower caddy. You’ll want to make sure it’s big enough to carry all your stuff. Mesh is great, but we prefer plastic since it’s a little bit easier to clean. It’s also important to make sure it has holes in the bottom so it drains when you’re actually in the shower.

Flip Flops

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Foot fungus, anyone? When you’re bathing in a community shower, you’re going to want to protect your feet. Make sure you have a pair of flip flops dedicated to shower trips. You don’t want to be dragging dirt and grime in from the street when you’re trying to get clean.

Hangers

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They may not be the most exciting thing to buy, but you’re definitely going to need hangers in your dorm. Because your space is likely going to be extremely limited, look at creative options like this tank top organizer that does the job of eight hangers in one.

Mini-Fridge

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Most dorm rooms don’t come with a full fridge. You’re going to have to buy your own. Before you do, coordinate with your roommate, since you likely won’t need two. Will you split the costs of the fridge? Who will keep it when the school year is over and you part ways? Figure all of that out before purchasing as you don’t want your first roommate interaction to be strained at all. Start things off on the right foot!

Microwave

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You might have access to a microwave in a communal rec room—or you might not. Find out before you go, because most dorms won’t have stoves or ovens. While you’ll likely be on a meal plan, the kitchen probably isn’t open 24 hours. Microwaving some ramen is a lot cheaper than eating out. There’s a reason for the cliche.

Food Warmers

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If reheating leftovers in the microwave sounds less than great, you may want to consider getting a food warmer. It’s like a Crockpot (in fact, Crockpot even makes them,) except than instead of fully cooking your food, it reheats it. Sans radiation.