The end of summer signals back-to-school shopping. For some students, pencil and pens are not going to be enough. Whether the college students in your lives are heading to college for the first time, or for their senior year, they may need to stock up on the dorm essentials.
Consumer Expert Ruth Spencer met up with two local college seniors at Bed Bath and Beyond at Great Lakes Crossing to get tips on what students really need to bring to campus this fall.
"This is kind of Christmas in July for us here at Bed Bath and Beyond," said Christa Mallinger. Mallinger is the store's district customer service manager.
"A lot of college shoppers coming in looking for things to outfit not only their dorm rooms, but apartments, on campus and off campus," she said.
The students told Ruth to the Rescue each year brings new dorm room challenges.
"So things you have your freshman year, you might not use again your sophomore year in a different building, so it always changes. It's always fun to mix it up," said Oakland University senior, Jennifer Bonardelli.
"So different storage options we have, either hanging in the closet or under bed storage, would be the thing I think most people don't think about when they're moving into the dorms," said Mallinger.
Both of our college students agree- space is important.
"I have drawers in my room that keep a lot of my hair things, makeup can go in there," Bonardelli said. “Even if you put your clothes in it if you need more drawer space in your closets, those are great- that plastic kind as well."
To save even more space look for home goods that come in all-in-one packaging.
"When everything is all in one, it is really easy," said senior Zac Budrow. “I tend to gravitate to something like this- a bed in a bag."
It is also important to remember that the mattresses in the dorm room are not going to be as comfortable as the one at home, so a mattress pad is a useful purchase.
On top of going to class, studying, and making new friends, college students now have to worry about doing laundry.
"I got a RubberMaid bin and throw it in my closet and that is what I use for my dirty clothes," Budrow said.
Stores also sell mesh hampers that are collapsible and take up less space.
For the Bathroom
When you go from the bedroom to the bathroom, a shower caddy is essential.
"My freshman year, when I started, my mom was like ' Hey you should probably get one of these and I'm like I don't think I'll use it,'" Budrow recalls. “But now living in a community bathroom and I use it all the time."
They also make caddies for your hair products. "As a girl you definitely want somewhere to put all your hot tools in the morning after you do your hair," said Bonardelli. “So then your roommates, it’s not in their way and they don't burn themselves."
For Your Technology
For many students another top priority is taking care of their high-tech gadgets.
"A lot of what I get are power strips, things to plug in my iPhone and my iPad and all my computer stuff. So, electronics are big for me." said Budrow.
Students are also able to purchase laptop locks to ensure their laptops stay safe and secure. A laptop lock works like a USB drive. You just plug the lock into your laptop's USB port and wrap it around something secure like a bed frame. The only way to remove the lock is by knowing the combination.
Grocery shopping is another transition that college students have to get used to.
"My parents did it at home, but prioritizing what I really need to get at the store and making lists, everything like that to really see what I can fit in my fridge," Budrow said. "A gallon of milk sometimes isn't going to fit in the fridge."
Whiteboards are also useful to have in the dorm rooms.
"I'm a math major so it helps to work out problems on the whiteboard," Budrow said.
"You can leave notes for your roommates or put your own schedule up there so you can keep yourself organized," Bonardelli said.
Bed Bath and Beyond brings in new and different merchandise, with changing color schemes every year.
“We kind of carry everything for every lifestyle that you are looking for," said Mallinger.
Bed Bath and Beyond also offers a handy, free service for students who might be going to school out of state. "You can actually shop at your local BBB here in Michigan, pick all the items that you'd like," said Mallinger. “And we will hold them at the store closest to your school."
Of course, these are just some of the products students will need for their dorm rooms. Some stores like Bed Bath and Beyond, offer dorm checklists to remind students and parents what is necessary and what is not allow. If you have further questions, you can also contact each university for its recommendations.
Here are some additional suggestions from Consumer Expert Ruth Spencer:
-Fire escape/ chain window ladder
-Hand held mirror (to see the back of your head, etc.)
-Full length mirror
- Ear Plugs
-Fans (some dorms don't have AC)
-Cushioned lap desk
-bed bug mattress cover
- hanging organizers
- Mini Refrigerator
- Surge protectors
Good luck students! Enjoy campus life.