If your child is going away to college this year, you probably have been shopping all summer in preparation.
I have done that a few times and wanted to share what we have on our necessary dorm checklist:
Sheets (usually extra long)
towels (bath and beach)
medications (incl OTC cold, fever medicine)
first aid kit
collapsible laundry bag
hangers (the thin fuzzy kind will maximize space)
small plastic stackable bins/drawers
plastic plates, cups
Simple tool kit & extension cord
laptop or computer
lock for computer
dry erase board or clipboard
desk lamp/light bulbs
When shopping for dorm items, many stores will add many things to your suggested supply list. From my experience there are several things that really are not necessary. For example, if you can send your student with a cell phone, most likely it has an alarm on it so you do not need to purchase an alarm clock. Most computers and cell phones also have calculators on them, so they probably do not need to take a calculator. (Unless of course, your child needs a specialty financial or scientific calculator).
Nowadays, so many TV shows and movies are available on line. They can use their computer for those things and really do not need a TV. Besides, if they live in a dorm, there are lots of TV rooms on campus.
Similarly, you do not need to send a stereo with your student. With radio stations and sites like Spotify and Pandora, all one needs is a computer with speakers. A small MP3 player is a nice thing to send with your student.
Refrigerators and microwaves are usually available to rent on campus. It is easier to rent them and not have to haul them around after the school year ends. It is especially nice if one roommate rents the microwave and another rents the refrigerator. Toasters, hot plates etc, are usually not allowed in most dorms so check before you plan to buy any of these items.
Snacks and sodas or juices are nice, but they will be more likely to get something from the school cafes. Cereal, oatmeal and dry soup is nice to have, but they will most likely buy what they need on campus, as they need it.
As far as decorations, consider bringing a bulletin board and maybe some photos. Your student will be getting freebies as a freshman with the college logo and will soon fill their dorm room with souvenirs from their new life. Trust me, it may look sparse to start out with, but that will change once school starts. They do not need to bring lots of decorative items from home. Those items will stay with you long after they move out of their dorm, maybe even forever if you let them.
I hope this lists helps, as we over bought stuff when our son went to college and I know that you want to send your child with all the comforts of home, but the truth is, they do not need much. There will meet so many people and will be too busy studying and socializing to notice that they are not without the excess things. Besides, there is a student store that carries just about anything they might need, in case they forget something.
Do you have a student going off to college this year? Or if you are a recent student, did I leave anything off of this list?