Don't Overlook These Dorm Room Essentials

Your new college freshman can't wait to bolt from home and begin to enjoy independent dorm life. But in preparing for college move-in day, he or she probably hasn't given any thought to those many 'extras' needed to make that spartan room more livable.

Before leaving for school, a trip to the local hardware store often is essential to stock up on some very important, yet often overlooked items. In addition to the computer, CD player and mini-fridge, try making room in the car for the following:

Test-Worthy Tools

  • A hammer and a box of nails or drywall anchors make hanging pictures and calendars on the walls easier. Double-sided tape or poster putty makes removal of posters from walls less damaging.
  • A flashlight and multiple packs of batteries come in handy if dorm electricity goes out. Extra batteries can also be used for all those extra electronics.
  • Standard or cordless screwdrivers make putting together furniture easier and help bookshelves and nightstands stay sturdy.
  • Extension cords and multi-outlet surge protectors are a must. Not only do they help expand room layout possibilities, but they also help protect valuable electronics, like computers.
  • A 25-foot extension phone cord allows the phone to be placed anywhere in the room.
  • Electrical wiring, extra cables and splitters are essential for multiple high-tech systems in a room like the stereo, TV, DVD player, computer and video game console.

Smart Storage

  • Shelf boards and brackets expand storage capabilities and make a small space look larger. Use them to hold books, picture frames and CDs.
  • Large plastic storage containers that fit discreetly underneath the bed are perfect for stowing away clothing and extra blankets.

A-Plus Appliances

  • Many hardware stores carry small coffee makers, toaster ovens and small microwaves for when hunger strikes during those late-night study sessions.
  • A small desktop or standing fan helps cool off a tiny dorm room.
  • For quick pickup of dry spills, a small cordless handvac that can be conveniently stored against the wall and out of sight does the dirty work.
  • A small reading lamp and extra light bulbs give eyes a break from overhead florescent dorm lighting. For a fun twist, pack some colored light bulbs.

Extra Credit

  • A long mirror visually makes a small room look bigger.
  • A dry erase board is great for hanging outside on a dorm room door so friends can leave messages. A corkboard also works as a place for posting photos of family and friends, class schedules and notes.
  • A stepstool makes it easier to reach high shelves in typically tiny dorm closets.

Happy Shopping!

Credit:  Lou Manfredini's Tips From the Tool Box, Ace Hardware


Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

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