Suggested list of dorm room necessities.

Ready to send your child off to school with the car packed to the brim with college dorm necessities? While it is hard for any parent to watch their children go off into the world, at least we can take comfort in knowing we sent them prepared.

But before you start buying everything under the sun for your child's dorm, consider how small those rooms really are. The smartest thing you can do is make a list, review it, cross some items off, and then cross off some more.

Here are some tips on how to narrow your child's college dorm necessities list.

1) Begin by taking a look at the college's packing list. (Most colleges and universities offer suggestions as to what to bring.) Also check out what the college will NOT allow (such as electric kettles or candles).

2) Find out what furniture the college provides. Will you need to invest in a study desk? What about a shelving system for the extra tiny closet so your child can stay organized?

3) Sit down with your child and brainstorm about what college dorm necessities he or she will need on a daily basis. In your mind, walk yourself through an entire day at college. What are the dorm room necessities that will bring comfort to your child as well as be practical and functional?

4) Find out if there are storage lockers available on campus. This will help determine if there is extra space for the non-essentials.

5) Think about decorations or furniture that will help section off areas of the room. For example, if your child has a roommate, it could be helpful to designate "my space" and "your space." It is also helpful to have a "study" area and a "rest" area. This is possible no matter how small the room is; you can decorate the study area with a calendar, clock and small filing bins (as well as a collage of photos from home!), while decorating the rest area with cozy pillows and a blanket.

6) Can you think of items to pack that have double uses? For example, a small refrigerator (if the college allows it) that can also double as a shelf for dishes because of its flat top?

Here is my suggested list of college dorm necessities.

-Alarm clock. This is truly a dorm room necessity.

-Bathing essentials. This includes a towel, robe and bath sandals (dorm showers can be disgusting!) as well as toiletries and a toiletry bag.

-Bookends. These are handy for a desktop book-shelving system. Most dorm rooms don't have bookshelves and your child is bound to have a lot of books. With bookends, your child can neatly arrange books at the back of the desk.

-Cleaning supplies. This includes an all-purpose cleaner and some paper towels. A must-have!

-Curtain. Find a cloth curtain that your child can use to help section off the room and bring a measure of privacy.

-Desk calendar or wall calendar. Anything that helps your child remember what assignments are due is one of the most important college dorm necessities.

-Earplugs. Getting a good night's sleep is SO important! These are a must-have.

-First Aid kit. It's best to be prepared with this dorm room necessity!

-Filing baskets or organizational system. Think small; you really just need one or two baskets for your child to throw assignments and other paperwork in.

-Pepper spray. Again, make sure it's allowed at the school. If not, get a safety whistle. Your child will most likely be out and about after dark and should have protection.

-Plant. It may seem like a non-essential, but a small plant can be tucked into a corner or placed out of the way on a windowsill and bring invaluable warmth and love to your child's room. Make sure you choose one that is extra hearty in case your child forgets to water it for a few days!

-Power strip. With computers, alarm clocks, cell phones, radios and more to plug in, a power strip is definitely a college dorm necessity.

-Sheets. Extra bedding can be really useful when there is a waiting line for the laundry room or a liter of soda is spilled on the bed.

-Thumb drive. This is important; your child will save all assignments, etc. on this drive.

-Toolbox. Think small; just a roll of tape, small hammer, screwdrivers, thumbtacks, hooks for hanging up coats and towels, flashlight, etc. This is a dorm room necessity!

-Trash bin. You would be surprised at how many dorm rooms don't supply trash bins. A small bin for the corner of a room will really come in handy!

Have fun with shopping for dorm room necessities!

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