If your local college student is beginning to pack up for their trek back to school — STOP
Make sure that everything they’re stuffing in their car or suitcase is really needed! “Ads [for dorm living] target parents, in terms of making parents think these are the things they need to get to make their students comfortable,” says Sara Rotunno, the assistant director for residential life at Colorado College. Rotunno, quoted in an August Denver Post article, goes on to say, “Students don’t actually need a lot of that…students bring things they don’t realize aren’t allowed. A lot of students bring in too much stuff, and that stuff gets sent home with the parents.” (Or thrown away, I might add.)
What Are Some Of The Forbidden Items?
- Cooking gear
- Electrical cooking and heating tools
- Toasters and toaster ovens
- Mops and vacuums
- Iron and ironing board
- ‘Bed-bug barrier’ mattress covers (must be in place for at least a year to do their job)
- Paper shredder
- Bean-bag chair
Even dishes aren’t always allowed, though colleges will generally relent to a place setting or two. Some of the items are redundant — students can use the hall vaccum and ironing boards, for example. Some, like curtains, bean-bag chairs and candles, violate the fire code.
Some items just take up too much space. An average dorm room only allows one person 96 square feet — including bed, closet and desk for studying. Not much, especially when someone is planning on hauling an overstuffed chair and their Blu-Ray collection.
So What Should You Bring?
- Linens, including a pillow, pillowcases, towels and the extra-long twin sheets many dorm beds require.
- Laundry soap, shampoo and other personal care items (keeping them in a caddy makes them easier to store and carry)
- Storage of some kind – a bookcase, bin or even crate to store books and other items. Consider a set of risers for the bed, so bins can be slipped underneath for extra storage. (There’s never too much storage.)
- Hangers, plus storage for seasonal clothing and boots
- Surge protector with outlets, plus an ethernet cable, if gaming
- School supplies, including pens, markers, notebooks and such
- U-lock and cable, for locking up bicycles
Before you load the car, check with the college’s residential department. They can tell you which items are not allowed, and make suggestions for the ones that are. Checking ahead saves money, unfrazzles tension, and lets your student leave peacefully. After all, this is a good change.
Cindy Brick is a personal property appraiser, judge and national teacher who loves to write about frugality and other personal finance topics. She has written six books and hundreds of articles, but often focuses on quilting, her teaching specialty. She lives in Colorado with her husband, two golden labs and a flock of very suspicious chickens. Find out more at Brickworks, http://www.cindybrick.com, or visit her personal blog: http://www.cindybrick.blogspot.com