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Dorm shopping: 6 must-haves

A+ dorm essentials

The new school year is approaching and with it comes the daunting task of assembling a list of dorm room necessities. The fun part is buying posters for the walls, finding cute little knick-knacks and picking out that groovy beanbag chair, but those are hardly the must-haves. Take a quick break from the dorm room accessorizing and focus on what you shouldn't go without. Make dorm life a successful experience with these key items.

A+ dorm essentials

Alarm clock

It’s the first day of school, you’ve got chemistry 101 at 8 a.m. and your nervous jitters kept you up half the night! With no parents around to wake you up, an alarm clock becomes your lifeline. Your college experience is not going to be off to a good start if you can’t manage to wake up, so make sure you’ve got one of these bedside. For the heavy sleepers, try one with an obnoxious ringer or perhaps a flying alarm clock (ThinkGeek, $20).

A+ dorm essentials

Single-serve coffee maker

Once the homework starts to pile up, caffeine becomes a college student’s best friend. For those early-morning classes or late-night study sessions, have a single-serve coffee maker handy for an easy energy boost. An added bonus is how much money and time it will save you because you won't be goign to Starbucks. B31 mini single serve brewer by Keurig (Meijer, $100)

A+ dorm essentials

Mini fridge

No dorm room would be complete without a mini fridge. You’ll most likely be far from a kitchen, and spending money every time you get thirsty or need a snack is a waste. Stock up on drinks, food and even small, freezer-friendly items to last you a few weeks. The Dry Erase black compact fridge by Emerson (Target, $99) also doubles as a dry-erase board for little reminders and important notes.

A+ dorm essentials

Shower caddy

Sharing a communal bathroom and shower is not always the most pleasant experience, but there are a few ways to make it less cringe-worthy. A shower caddy will help organize toiletries and keep them altogether so they're not lost. If you’re worried about people using your things, write your name on the caddy so there is no confusion about who it belongs to. Don’t forget to throw a pair of shower shoes (flip-flops) in there as well! Compartment shower caddy (, $8)

A+ dorm essentials


A microwave is another dorm room must-have if you want to be self-sufficient when it comes to food. Meal plans can get pretty expensive and walking to the cafeteria every time your stomach grumbles will grow tiresome. With a microwave, you are fully capable of heating up TV dinners or leftover takeout, or making a college student classic, ramen noodles. In the long run it will be money well spent. Danby microwave (Walmart, $69)

A+ dorm essentials


Don’t forget a pair of noise-cancelling headphones when shopping for dorm room essentials. You never know when they’re going to come in handy! You may end up with a roommate who likes to talk on the phone with her boy toy into the late hours of the night, or dorm neighbors who conveniently throw a party every time you’re trying to study. With these headphones you can shut out the world and play your music all night long! Urban Beatz rectangular stereo headphones (Merkury Innovations, $30)

More Dorm Room Tips

20 College essentials from bag to dorm
Dorm room decor 101: Designer tips and tricks
Top 10 Dorm room must-haves for college freshmen

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