College Dorm Shopping

Between now and March are when most high school seniors are anxiously waiting for the mailman to swing by their house.

Tearing through each piece of mail, searching for the one letter than can change their future.

It was not too long ago that I was one of these seniors, never caring that much about snail mail except for those few months.

So when the letter that I was waiting for came, I carefully opened the envelope, daring to take just a peek down at the words to see where my fate lay.

Of course after hearing what schools you were and were not accepted into there is a wait for your first day of college to roll around. During the time from hearing of my acceptances to high school graduation, I took it up on myself to plan my decorations and do some college dorm shopping.

Not only did it help to pass the time, but it was exciting. Planning your room and apartment where you will be living away from you parents is fun!

Here are a few tips that I learned along the way, three years of knowledge passed down to the newest college freshman to be.

Communicate with your housing

This is very important to do before you start buying and planning for your move. Get a list to see what furniture is provided for you. You may have your eye on a cool mini fridge, but is it better to save the money is housing is going to provide it for you.

Also, get a dorm layout of the room with dimensions. This way if you do bring your own furniture you know what size space you are working with.

Talk to your future roommates

Communicating with your future roommates before you do your college dorm shopping, will be so helpful when deciding what to buy for the room or apartment. Think of using Facebook or texting them as easy but not awkward ways to get in touch.

One of my roommates had an entire set of dishes, silverware and cooking supplies so I did not have to buy any of that. Another roommate had a t.v. so the weight was off my shoulders for that as well.

Wouldn’t it suck if you didn’t talk with them and you both show up with flat screens on move in day?

Shop in the clearance section

This will be your money saver. Here is a small piece of knowledge for you: at college, things get lost or ruined. You really don’t need to bring top of the line sheets, desk lamps or waste bins, because chances are something will be broken or just gross at the end of your time in the dorms.

Don’t waste your money, save it!

Visit your local thrift store

The thrift is where I have found some of my best finds.

My roommates and I really wanted a shower caddy to hang razors and soaps on and the local thrift had a brand new one with the tags still on it for $1.Talk about a score!

You may have to dig a little here, but you time will be worth the find. Here are some of the more well known thrift stores that might be in your area:


IKEA is a place to do your college dorm shopping if you are going to move into an unfurnished apartment.

Their furniture is cute and cheap but will hold up for the few years you are away at school. The IKEA catalogue is a great way to get inspirations for your dorm rooms as well.

Best of all, the catalogue is free! Sign up to receive it here.

A few other great places for decoration ideas can be found on Pintrest or Tumblr. These two pictures I found on Tumblr and think so many great ideas for a dorm room can come from them.

Family and friends

Talk to your family and friends; they can be your best assets. I guarantee if you ask some of them, they are desperate for you to take some items off their hands.

Just by talking to a family friend I scored a brand new bed, nightstand, chair and lamp for my apartment. All for free, because they love you. Free speaks to me, try to take advantage of these items they no longer want.

college dorm shopping is fun, but scoring items to stay on budget is even better. You can get creative with your own space and make the most of your time away from home.

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Kait Freeberg

Kait Freeberg

Kait Freeberg is a junior at Cal Poly University, San Luis Obispo pursuing a degree in journalism. At school, Kait can be found interviewing people or hitting the gym. As the Colleges Against Cancer president, Kait helps to fight cancer and she educates her peers on the disease. Apart from school she works two jobs, enjoys traveling, and cooking for her roommates.