Did you forget anything at home?

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Discus: Parents Forum: 2004 Archive - Part 2: Did you forget anything at home?
By Emcmom (Emcmom) on Wednesday, September 15, 2004 - 11:21 pm: Edit

We'll be moving my son into the dorms next weekend. For those who have already taken your child to school, any last minute advice? Was there anything you forgot to bring? My growing list includes: tylenol, bandaids, kleenex, extension cords. Just trying to avoid a trip to the store..

By Bookiemom (Bookiemom) on Wednesday, September 15, 2004 - 11:30 pm: Edit

Paper towels, paper napkins, plastic plates and bowls, flatware (I had to send my D extra bowls and flatware and she finally started hiding them in her desk because they kept disappearing), cleaner for the sink if there is one in the room, envelopes, stamps, snacks for the first few weeks.

By Lamom (Lamom) on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 01:30 am: Edit

My husband laughed at my "tool kit" but he used the hammer anyway to fix a shelf. Son appreciated the Lysol spray and I suppose the many boxes of refrigerator baking soda I placed in closet & drawers-he says he doesn't stink. I brought 2 surge protectors and needed to get a third-extension cords are not allowed. Son called husband to please bring by his super soaker squirt gun-but I doubt many other students need one. I sent son a roll of quarters for laundry-I had forgotten to pack those we had saved. Someone mentioned duct tape but son hasn't needed it yet. Son also liked the little message board that hangs from the door knob.

By Chasgoose (Chasgoose) on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 02:21 am: Edit

In some older dorm rooms the plugs with a ground in them will not fit into the outlets provided. My parents had to go to Home Depot to get adapters.

By Debelli (Debelli) on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 07:37 am: Edit

Very little I had to buy, think I was overly prepared.

Like LAMOM, I too had a tool kit, and luckily so - we used it to unbunk the beds - 2 other suitemates parents used it as well. I did have duct tape and that came in handy too. I think the only thing they didn't have was a broom and a dust pan - and I didn't get one because I'm sure it's not needed with all the clothes probably covering what little floor there is already!

I compiled an array of lists from different websites and then rolled them in to one - was very helpful. Made a medicine kit, an office supply kit, personal toilitries, etc. I made sure I had everything as I didn't want to have to run all over a town I didn't know for this and that. Anything I did need to get him was easy to find and close to my hotel, nothing I had forgotten, just after seeing his dorm and seeing what we could use in there, I bought a few things - like the plastic drawers on wheels for more clothes storage, which went under his bed because you could raise them up 3 feet!!!


By Achat (Achat) on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 08:45 am: Edit

We bought a fan and went to college. The dorm is not air conditioned. The fan was too high for the bed. I'd recommend buying from the bookstore. Also, there is a utter lack of electrical outlets, even in new dorms, so you need to get the extensions (serge protectors) and we seemed to need 10 outlets at least.

Need newspapers for closets and shelves. Egg crate mattresses are needed, we didn't think we did but the mattress was hard as nails.

By Backhandgrip (Backhandgrip) on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 08:57 am: Edit

Hey, thank you for this thread!
Hi Achat.

By Achat (Achat) on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 09:04 am: Edit

Hi BHG, I didn't think your son is going this year, I thought he is a senior?

By Achat (Achat) on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 09:22 am: Edit

Also, the USB cable and ethernet cable should be long enough. Sometimes 5 feet is not enough. One never knows where the ethernet connection is, in the room. It's worth the extra $16 - $25 (yes, pretty expensive) to buy a 10-25 feet cable.

If you are getting a PC, a notebook, a camera, remember to include it in your homeowners' insurance. We did not do that immediately.

We were conservative and got a small refrigerator (I think 1.8 cu ft) but should have got a larger one. Their recommendation was 4.5 cu ft and would have accomodated the two kids in the room. The food is mediocre according to my son (who is a picky eater, though), so buying from the co-op and stocking the fridge makes sense.

By Fredo (Fredo) on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 09:56 am: Edit

My daughter had me bring her her poker chips! Seems everyone is playing but noone had thought to bring their chips...she's now very popular. She also wanted more storage bins - smaller size ones that could sit on her shelves. Plus, she bought a cube storage unit that arranges all different ways. Seems that storage, bins, etc. is the most pressing need - someplace to put all the little stuff.

By Fendergirl (Fendergirl) on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 10:29 am: Edit

I bought a 25 foot ethernet cable at my college bookstore for 10 dollars.. you may want to check there.

also, don't forget the power cords to the computer! two years ago i forgot my power cable to my desktop, and this year i forgot it to my laptop!

also other little things.. such as sticky tack stuff to hang posters from walls.. the blue stuff works very well.. i get mine at home depot..

By Momstheword (Momstheword) on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 10:53 am: Edit

Blister packs. My D spent her summer by the beach where her job was going barefoot or wearing barely-there flipflops. So to stuff her formerly happy feet into stiff new shoes and hike all over a vast campus has resulted in blisters.

By Patient (Patient) on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 11:03 am: Edit

Fredo--funny--I just bought my son a Texas Holdum package with chips, cards, rules, cloth--he is practicing a lot! With D1 sport plus classes, not sure he'll still have time to play but it does seem to be the latest rage.

Achat--re BHG--I was collecting these lists last year this time too! I have about 5 from various sources, all stapled together--my son of course thinks I'm nuts but it keeps me happily occupied.

At an incoming freshman event last weekend, one of the parents said, bring a 3/8 inch socket wrench, the size needed to loft the beds (at Stanford anyway).

By Thumper1 (Thumper1) on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 11:20 am: Edit

Get surge protectors with LONG cords. Sometimes the outlets aren't exactly where you want them in the rooms. Duct tape is a good thing to have too...it certainly has many uses!!

By Rhonda63 (Rhonda63) on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 11:21 am: Edit

A fan is a great thing to have -- even in Providence my D uses hers at the beginning and end of the year (just an $11 table fan from Target).

Also, she bought a small fridge ($50 at Best Buy) and her roommate bought a separate fridge, but you're right that for two people it would be too small.

Also, she found the egg-crate to be uncomfortable so threw it out (fortunately it was only $8!).

Tools are a good idea to take with you, if you don't have to use them, that's fine. D had to borrow a screwdriver to put together her desk lamp.

Things she didn't take last year that she wanted this year -- the egg crate mattress (didn't work out, see above), fun-tak, those storage drawers that fit under the bed, bed risers (didn't need them b/c beds were high off the ground).

By Patient (Patient) on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 11:23 am: Edit

Rhonda--are storage drawers or boxes better? (I know, I'm getting obsessive/compulsive)

By Rhonda63 (Rhonda63) on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 11:41 am: Edit

Well, my D likes the drawers because they are easier to open. The idea was to put them under the bed, then you could just pull the drawer out rather than taking the box out, removing the lid, etc. In theory she could stack the drawers, since her bed is about 3 feet off the ground, but if you do that then open the drawer, it can tip over.

She didn't use them last year, but each kid had her own closet. This year they are sharing one (big) closet, and the dresser is not that big, so she wanted more space. I should note that both D and her roommate are VERY spartan compared to some other kids I've seen. But this year they have only one closet they are sharing, last year each had her own closet (old dorm this year!).

She bought two big ones and two small ones, I think, the big ones for under the bed and the small ones for the bookshelf.

By Sokkermom (Sokkermom) on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 11:48 am: Edit

Son's room is very very small. We got some of those stackable plastic storage containers for the floor of the closet to help organize things. After we got there, we went to the local Walmart and got some inexpensive shelving (that could be easily assembled with a screwdriver) to increase the storage capacity of the existing closet shelf. We got the idea from his roommate, who had already moved in.

We also found that the plastic hooks with the sticky tack backing are great for hanging baseball caps, backpacks, towels, etc. They can go on the concrete walls, and on the side of the bookshelves. They can also be removed when necessary. Fendergirl is right about the double sided sticky tape for hanging posters and other wall hangings on concrete walls. It is very handy.

Don't forget to bring some food items. We had to fill up one of the new shelves with snacks and bottled water. (Roommate had refrigerator). If your son is like mine, he eats constantly!

By Eadad (Eadad) on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 11:54 am: Edit

First, if you don't already have one, get a portable two wheeled dolly or small 4 wheel cart. It will make your life so much easier because parking is a problem and hauling long distances is no fun.

You can never have enough extension cords/surge protectors. Make sure they meet dorm regulations for load. We thought between both roommates we would have enough and still had to go out and by more.

Wait until you get there and see available space to buy desk lamp. In our case they chose to loft the beds with desks and dressers underneath so both boys opted for clip ons (attached to bed) to save desk top space.

Connecting cables for stereos, tvs, computers, video games.

A magnetic paper towel holder that attaches to side of fridge and frees up space elsewhere.

Over the door towel hanger keeps wet towels off the floor or bed post and they have a chance to dry. Remember they are boys!

We also got him an over the door (folding) clothes hanger...it holds about 8-10 hangers so he can hang his polos and other all cotton things to dry and it folds down out of the way when not in use. For someone who never washed his own clothes before,he says yes, he has used it and was glad to have it!

We found the multi hangers for shorts and pants very useful. They hold 4-6 pairs in the space of a single hanger which in a dorm where space is definitely a premium is quite valuable. One for pants, one for shorts (or skirts for girls).

Tupperware or some type of sealable storage container to keep food (cookies, snacks etc)they bring back from dining hall fresh and insects out.

A rubber mallet came in very handy for lofting beds and other things like assembling shelves. And having a tool kit, complete with tape measure, screw driver, exacto knife and pliers was a good thing.

Don't forget your camera. He wanted digital photos to email dorm pics to all his friends.

By Rhonda63 (Rhonda63) on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 12:11 pm: Edit

The only thing about the dolly is that it's not going to help you up stairs. Lifting is likely unavoidable at most schools.

I am always struck by how much STUFF kids take nowadays. I would really encourage parents not to add to it by suggesting stuff the kids don't want -- they can probably live w/o it, and if they can't, they can probably figure out a way to get it.

I know others disagree, but I am pretty strongly against TVs in dorm rooms. There are usually lounges w/a TV, and I hope my D has better things to do than sit around watching TV (either alone or w/friends). She was VERY happy her freshman roomie arrived w/no TV, and both are living together this year and decided no TV again (their friends next door don't have one either). If they want to watch movies, they can play DVDs on their computer.

By Megsdad (Megsdad) on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 01:40 pm: Edit

This may be more of an issue for young women who might need more closet space. At Wellesley each girl had her own closet, but we had to bring all the winter clothes which took up a lot of room. There is this device (from Bed,Bath and Beyond)that hangs from your closet rod with two long hooks. It esentially adds a lower rack to hang stuff like slacks or blouses. What it does is almost double your closet space. It was a life saver for all those bulky winter clothes!!
Those plastic storage trays were also great. Initially our D rolled her eyes when she saw them...now she has bragged and bragged about having the extra space(got those at Sam's Club).

By Alleya17 (Alleya17) on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 04:01 pm: Edit

One space saving idea that I've thought was well-worth the money was an over-the desk hutch. It was great for displaying pictures, storing textbooks near at hand, holding extra computer supplies, and just generally keeping stuff off my desk. It also made the room look much less boring and white.

Use that extra space for a desktop lamp. I went with the clip on in order to save space, which was a horrible idea. The ones with a spring break very easily and the ones that screw on lose their hold after a while (since the screw won't stay tight, I'm always having to prop it up against something). Not only that, but unless you're lucky, most dorm rooms don't have a convenient place to clip the lamps onto -- desks don't usually have a large enough lip for either type of clip on and bed frames are usually too wide for the spring clip on's. I've dealt with one clip-on lamp after another for four years now and the first thing I'm doing when I get on campus is going out to buy a desktop lamp.

A fan is definitely worth bringing (rather than buying after you get there) -- pack it on top so that you can plug it in first thing in the room -- you'll be glad you bought it after lugging everything else into the room. My first year in college I decided to buy the fan after I got there and I had to visit 4 different stores to find one. Home Depot actually told me it wasn't "fan season" -- we were in Southern California and it was 95 degrees outside!

By Rhonda63 (Rhonda63) on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 05:20 pm: Edit

Alleya -- I think a desk hutch is a great idea, assuming your desk is big enough that you still have enough space to work on it. It could really give you more shelf space for books and other things. Never thought about it!

By Songman (Songman) on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 06:30 pm: Edit

Extra long ethernet cables. Like 15-25 footers! Radio Shack has them...A small fan. Egg crate like foam for the mattress that goes under a mattress pad. My S's dorm mattress is like sleeping on a board. A toolbox. I bought him one and we used 4 times then two other parents used and my son met his hall mates the first day due to the toolbox!

By Fredo (Fredo) on Friday, September 17, 2004 - 12:26 am: Edit

About over the door hanger hooks for towels, etc.: get the kind that have a removable (unscrewable) insert. Target sells them as does Linens N Things. The first set of over the door hooks I bought my daughter weren't wide enough for the width of the door. I bought the adjustable kind and they fit any width door. She uses them for towels (no towel bar in her room), bathrobes, etc.

By Katwkittens (Katwkittens) on Friday, September 17, 2004 - 06:36 am: Edit

over-the-counter cold medicine day-time, night
loose-leaf paper
back-up pair of glasses
winter hats, ears getting cold at football
pair of dress shoes

This is some of what I just shipped to my DS in MN. He flew up and took with him 2 boxes. I just shipped another box of all the things that didn't fit initially and have been adding to it as he calls and tells me what he is missing and what he might need. He got a cold the first week there, and really needed cold medicine without having to run all over town to find some sans a car.


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