Dorm Life: What to Bring
Tips and tricks for a cozy, homey dormitory
5 min. read
August 20, 2013

You begin packing for your first year of university and you suddenly realize how many things you use every single day. The next thing you realize is that you’re really unsure of what you should and shouldn’t bring to your dorm at Redeemer.

  1. Bedding. Your bed has to be comfortable and cozy to sleep in, but it might serve a couple of other functions as well. If you’re like me, you’ll already be super excited about decorating your room. One way you can do this is by bringing sheets/pillow cases/a duvet cover with interesting designs on them. Your bed might also turn into a prime hangout spot during the day so a few extra pillows might be a good idea.
  2. An alarm clock. This is useful if you have early classes or if you need a wake up call from your afternoon nap. It’s also handy to always know what time it is so you’ll (hopefully) never be late.
  3. Clothes. This is an obvious one, but if you live far away from Redeemer’s campus like I do and can’t go home to grab your coat every time it snows, you’ll need to bring clothes for all different types of weather.
  4. Hangers. It’s good to get those clothes up off of the floor every once and a while.
  5. Laundry basket/detergent/change. When you live on campus, you’ll have access to laundry facilities. Again, if you live far away from home, these washers and dryers will become a friend you visit every one or two weeks. You’ll need a basket to carry your clothes in, detergent to wash them with, and a collection of loonies and quarters to feed the machines.
  6. Towels. Whether you prefer showers or baths, these are always essential.
  7. Dishes/cutlery/tea towels/dishcloth/cleaning rags. Make sure to check with your R.A which kitchen items you’ll need. It’s a safe bet to bring at least one set of microwave-safe dishes (plate, bowl, cup) and a few pieces of cutlery (fork, spoon, knife). A few tea towels, a dishcloth, and a few cleaning rags will also be super useful when you’re cleaning up. The general rule is that if everyone brings a few of each item, there will be enough for everyone in the dorm.
  8. A laptop and desk supplies. If you have one, bring it. If you prefer taking class notes by hand, that’s totally fine. But sometimes you’ll have to do research/write papers when the library is closed. It’s also a good way to keep in touch with family and friends from back home. You’re a student… paper and pens are definitely a necessity.
  9. A mirror. This is good to have if the bathrooms are occupied and you need to fix your hair before you leave the dorm.
  10. A lamp. Just in case your roommate goes to bed a bit earlier than you do… or if you’re up a bit later to finish some reading for tomorrow morning’s class.
  11. Movies and games. Bring your favourite movies to watch and games to play with your dorm and porchmates.
  12. Lawn chair/running shoes/ice skates. For outdoor activities any time of the year. Hamilton has tons of beautiful hiking trails and waterfalls. Also, a skating rink is usually made somewhere on campus in the winter. Bring your skates if that’s something you’d want to check out!
  13. Decorations. When I moved into my dorm, the first thing I did was try to make my dorm room feel like home. The first thing to remember is that your room should be in the same condition when you leave as when you arrived. The second is to be mindful and considerate of your roommate. There are easy and inexpensive ways to make the space yours. Pictures from home. Buy collage frames to sit on your desk or cover your walls with pictures using sticky tack. Art/Photography/Posters. This is a really easy way to make your dorm room look a bit more sophisticated and grown up. Whether you dabble in painting or photography or collect the work of others, decorating this way is great for showcasing your interests and/or hobbies. Matte the photography or art you want to display on black bristol board and use sticky tack to hang them up. If you have frames that you want to hang up on the wall, use damage-free hooks—they will hold your frames and will not damage the walls when removed. Novels. You may not have any time to read them, but filling a shelf or two with books adds a certain amount of character to the room and can spark conversation with new friends.(What not to decorate with: empty alcohol containers, candles/incense, permanent hardware (nails), paint, offensive or inappropriate décor, chalk/crayon, or street/road signs.)

The entire dorm is furnished so you don’t need to bring any extra furniture. This includes kitchen appliances, a dining room table, living room couches, and bedroom furniture (bed, closet/dresser, desk). If you’re unsure about a specific item, the best thing to do is ask your R.A. He or she will be bringing a lot of things and will delegate among you and your housemates who should bring what (e.g. a TV, a blender, etc.).I hope this list will make packing a bit less overwhelming and a bit more exciting as you prepare to move into your dorm!

About the author: Stephanie Nunez is a recent graduate of Redeemer’s English program and is now working for a publishing company in Toronto.

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