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Shopping for College: What Is Essential and What to Forget

by Katie Frizzell

Deciding what to buy for college can be rather overwhelming. Between your parents, older siblings, friends, and the internet, there are opinions coming at you from every direction. If you’re a parent, maybe this can help you help your new college attendee decided what to pack, what to buy new, and what should be left off the list. There are many things you will need, and there will also be some things you think you may need, but never end up using. Hopefully this post and video can help you create the best packing list for you.

Clothes and Shoes

Do

  • Comfortable clothing
  • Walking shoes – you could walk several miles a day!
  • 1 -2 nice outfits (including matching shoes) for special occasions, presentations, and interviews
  • Good quality bag or backpack for carrying all those heavy books around
  • Lanyard with ID holder for keys, student ID, driver’s license, and spare cash

Don’t

  • Worry about dressing up all the time because hardly anyone else is – it is either hot or cold and you will be walking a ton
  • Wear uncomfortable cheap shoes
  • Bring everything you own – trust me, you will not wear all of it

School Supplies

Do

  • Laptop and printer (maybe – depends on if you have the space and budget)
  • 1 -2 notebooks with dividers – keep all classes in these
  • Planner
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Go shopping AFTER the first week because then you’ll know exactly what you need

Don’t

  • Buy too much school supplies – you need way less than you think
  • Forget about the “free” prints at the library – most colleges charge a fee that allows you to be able to print quite a bit each semester
  • Speaking of random fees – look at your statement and see what fees you’re being charged because many of them give you access to “free” stuff on campus such as the gym

Bad Weather Gear

Do

  • Good quality rain jacket that can be worn when hot or cold outside
  • Good quality rain shoes/boots – there’s nothing worse than stepping in a puddle and having a wet sock all day
  • Umbrella

 Don’t

  • Try to wear regular clothes and shoes and expect to stay dry
  • Buy cheap rain gear

Appliances

Do

  • Mini fridge
  • Microwave (if allowed)
  • Coffee maker
  • Extension cords and surge protector

Don’t

  • Get duplicates of your roommates stuff – share the big appliances to save space
  • Gimmicky products you’ll never use (i.e. panini press, slow cooker, etc.)

Cleaning Supplies

Do

  • Disinfecting wipes
  • Dish detergent
  • Broom
  • Small vacuum (maybe – only if you have a large rug or carpet)
  • Laundry detergent

Don’t

  • Large vacuum
  • Cleaning products for everything (get a multipurpose cleaner)

Decorations

Do

  • Something to make you feel at home
  • Wall decorations
  • Lap desk
  • Lamp
  • Other lighting (i.e. string lights)

Don’t

  • Table-top décor/knick-knacks
  • Too many throw pillows and blankets – 2 is enough of each

Linens and Laundry

Do

  • Mattress cover/protector – to protect you from years of germs
  • Mattress topper/cushion – to feel a little less like you’re sleeping on a rock
  • Extra set of sheets
  • Laundry basket

Don’t

  • Too many towels – 4 or 5 is enough

Toiletries

Do

  • 1-2 of each thing (i.e. soap, lotion, sprays)
  • 1 perfume/cologne
  • Shower shoes and caddy – essential items!
  • Bath robe

Don’t

  • Bring all the makeup you own
  • Go without shower shoes – gross

When it comes down to it, you only want to buy what you need. Hopefully this list will help you decide what to spend your money on and can help you put the extra money away in a savings account.

Stay Savvy,

Katie

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs and services without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

 

 

 

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