Your high school graduate has already received her college acceptance letter. During the next few weeks she’ll receive information from her college on orientation and housing — so it’s time to start thinking about dorm room necessities.
Some items you can wait to purchase if you’re dropping your student off in another city. For example, you’ll want to measure closet and floor space before purchasing organizers.
But for other items, shop this summer when stores put dorm room staples — extra-long twin bedroom sets, desk lamps, shower caddies — on sale. Plus, retailers in college towns will be overrun come August, so don’t expect to waltz in and have your choice of, say, area rugs.
Dan Morrison, director for Residence Life at Georgia Tech, and Shay Little, director of Administrative Services and Communications at the University of Georgia, share their tips on what to bring and what’s a waste of money:
Morrison: “Organizational systems. Long and skinny works better than long and horizontal.”
Little: “Containers for storage to use your space creatively: shelving, baskets — those kinds of things. Keep it simple. It’s a small space, and you’re trying to maximize the use of that space, three-dimensionally. You’re trying to use top-to-bottom as well as side-to-side.”
Morrison: “Bigger is not always best. For example, a big flat-screen TV. You can’t sit far enough away from it to make it worth the money. Also, bed risers. At Tech, you can almost put your bed 6 feet above the floor based on (the furniture) we put in the room.”
Little: “I would discourage purchasing new furniture. Students are usually hard on the furniture anyway. You can get things recycled or second-hand.”
Little: “I think it’s just the things to personalize the space. A popular item here is futons. Since Georgia is a carpet-producing state, I would encourage people to be creative about finding carpet remnants. Find remnants at reduced cost, and find good quality for a cheap price.”
Morrison: “The George Foreman grill. It sounds right, but then you realize, ‘What am I going to do with all this grease stuck in the trap? Wash it out in the bathroom?’”
Morrison: “UL-approved surge protectors. Our students are being much more energy-conscious. They’re not that expensive, but most students find they need extra. Extra-long twin sheets.”
Morrison: “Talk to people who’ve gone off to college the year before. Some of them will say, ‘I’ve got last year’s dorm-style refrigerator sitting in the basement’ that they’ll give you.”
Little: “My other advice is do not split any costs for items with a roommate. Buy items separately. Don’t feel like to make a comfortable space that makes you happy that you have to spend a lot of money.”
Here’s a college dorm room checklist.
Have you found any deals for your student’s room yet?
– By Lauren Davidson, Atlanta Bargain Hunter