As our quarantine days blend together and suddenly slip by, you’re making a list and checking it twice…because especially if this is your FIRST kid heading off to college, you want to be sure you’ve included every critical item. The running monolog in your head continues…
- Twin XL (Extra Long) Sheets? Ordered on line…Check.
- Command Strips in every shape, size and strength? Check. (Much bigger deal for girls vs. guys, but this is the only way to hang stuff on walls.)
- Dorm Bed Risers? (I highly recommend the ones with extra outlets.) Check.
- Chargers, fan, laundry bag, clothes, shoes, coats…the list goes on. And on. And ON.
What could possibly be missing? From my perspective as both a seasoned move-in mom AND as a university doctor, here’s my list of the top five forgotten items, plus a couple bonus COVID extras:
- Small Tool Kit: Hammer, screwdrivers, wrench set, pliers, scissors, tape measure and level. This should be last in, first out, because you’ll often need these immediately to assemble and disassemble dorm room furniture or fix a stuck drawer. Pro tip: Add in a couple garbage bags; trash piles up as soon as you start unpacking.
- Backup Prescription Glasses: especially for the kid that ALWAYS wears contacts! Why? Because if you get a bad stye or “pinkeye” (viral conjunctivitis), or more commonly, you accidentally fall asleep in your contacts or get something in your eye that scratches your cornea- you CANNOT wear contacts for several days to a week or more. And seeing clearly tends to help grades. If you always wear glasses, the backup pair is for when yours break or disappear. And inevitably, it happens during midterms or finals.
- Small Lock Box: If you take prescription medications for ADD, this is a must. These stimulant pills sell for $5-10 each (a felony if caught!!) and dorm rooms are rarely private and/or consistently locked. Please remove the temptation for others and keep your meds safe. Lock boxes also work well for pricey jewelry, your passport, and while we’re at it, your backup glasses.
- Heating Pad: Okay, not critical, but a great way to guarantee your popularity! Seriously, few students have these, but those that do tell me “EVERYONE borrows it” for aching muscles, back spasms and “cramps”. Bonus points: in cold climates they can double as an electric blanket (just don’t fall asleep on top of one, as this can cause burns.)
- Solid Air Freshener: Plug-ins are rarely allowed in dorms, but you can place a solid or gel freshener in your closet (by your shoes) and tuck another under your bed. Extra-strong odors? Bamboo charcoal bags are a pricey option, but they work incredibly well. Choose a neutral or “fresh” smell, not “flowery” or “citrus” as you don’t know your roommate’s sensitivity to different scents. Bodies, dirty clothes, third-hand smoke and old dorms all get very smelly. Unless you are moving into a brand-new dorm with a neat-freak roommate, these fresheners can be lifesavers. Or at the very least, roommate-savers.
- Optional COVID bonus items:
- HEPA air filter (Potentially could help filter out COVID particles if a visitor walks in and coughs/sneezes in the room, but primarily they work well in small spaces like dorm rooms to reduce allergens such as pollen and molds that irritate the respiratory tract & make you more susceptible to respiratory viruses.)
- UV Light Box to sterilize phones (Sanitary wipes work, too, but the light box advantage is no concern of moisture or chemicals affecting the phone from other cleaners, plus- no waste generated.)
Bottom Line: Add these items to your list for a smoother move-in and a healthier, safer semester! (If you’re flying, pack the prescription glasses & shop for the rest when you arrive.) Good Luck!