I suggest getting essential items like laundry baskets, hangers, desk accessories and the like AFTER you move into your dorm.

First I want to say that even though it can be exciting to head to Target or Ikea over summer and pick things out with mom and dad, if you are going to have a car or maybe your roommate will, I suggest getting those essential items like laundry baskets, hangers, desk accessories and the like AFTER you move into your dorm. This will let you buy things that fit the specifics of your room and give you a chance to bond with your roomy while shopping. Also it gives you a chance to learn the area around your school. I would suggest bringing a tape measure; it will help you pick things that will fit perfectly without guessing only to find out you blocked your door with the end of your bed.

With that said, here are some things to think about buying that might get you started with moving in, organizing your stuff and making it a useful place.

Over the door hooks – Can be found as individual or multiple for $5 – $30 and can be used both on the door to your room and your closet door. If you have bunk or loft style beds you can even put one on the rail. Hooks can hold backpacks, lanyards, extra clothes, or a shoes rack. Tons of uses, doesn’t destroy the furniture or walls and you can take it with your throughout college and beyond.

File Box – These days you can save most of your important info on the computer, but having a place to keep paperwork organized is very useful. From bills, to financial aid paperwork, Tax information, and warranty or instruction manuals for your computer, printer, xbox, tv etc.. You can even keep files for each of your classes including syllabus, assignments etc (Obviously you can do this on your computer too, but graded papers can be useful when grades are posted and you wonder why you got a D when you should have got a B). Trust me it’s a lot easier to start out organized than to try and organize yourself 2nd semester.

Alarm Clock – I know you probably already thought about this one and probably already have one, but check out what is new on the marketplace, from alarm clocks that will actually run away so you can’t find it, or some that offer sounds as loud as 113 decibels (although you’re roommate might hate you) to ones that project the time on the wall or can stick to any surface so you never misread and miss that important exam. Alarm clocks with an iPod attachment can also double as a space saving stereo.

Computer and Technology Locks – Dorm theft, bad roommates, expensive items. In today’s colleges it’s difficult to get by without a computer and having one stolen adds unnecessary stress. There are many options for security; the most common and easiest to use without destroying dorm furniture is a cable tie down system that can work well for laptops or desktops, your tv, stereo, whatever. It’s inexpensive and easy to install, just don’t forget to use it.

Door Stop – WHY? Simple, doors close, often times they even have those hydraulic arms that automatically close them. Now I want to get clear its a bad idea to prop your outer doors to your building, yes it may make it easy to go to the garbage or run to your car, but propping those doors will lead to intruders and bugs and animals getting in which isn’t fun. A door prop is awesome because your room door stays open and your friends can easily say hello or know you are in and grab you on the way to dinner. It will help air flow through your room so you don’t die from heat and airs it out if you have a room mate that hasn’t done laundry in a while. Door props are cheap if you want to buy one from a store, I personally used a triangular piece of wood for a long time and know people who used decorated bricks and even rocks. Dorms are about being social, OPEN YOUR DOOR! But please close it when you leave, you don’t want people digging through your stuff.

Sleeping Mask – No no this is not some resort you are living in, but sleep is important and you never know when you might get the room mate who sleeps from 6AM to 2PM. It happens. And on those nights when your room mate is studying for a mid term its super nice to shut out all the light while they have it on writing a paper. Maybe its not your thing but believe an me there are times you wish you had one.

Insurance – Aside from security it’s important to remember that in many places student housing claims no responsibility for the replacement of your personal items in case of fire or flood. Renters insurance might be the right choice for you and many times you can add it to your parents existing home owners insurance policy. Check with your housing office and your insurance company to find out more.