What to buy for a college dorm and what to skip

Are you wondering what you should buy for your college dorm or apartment? Although the list is long and expensive, some of it is unnecessary.

"There's not a lot of space in a dorm room, and in many cases, that's intentional," says Dave Isaacs, Communications Manager for the Office of Student Life at Ohio State University. "We want the rooms to be functional for sleep and study, but from a student's developmental point, we want them to get out and interact with other students and the campus community."

Many students grew up having their own bedroom, which is usually larger than a dorm room.

"Most students bring too much stuff. Too many clothes, shoes, and comfort items," says Mike Glowacki, Assistant to the Director of Resident Life at the University of Maryland. "Parents want to have their children ready to go. But think of everything your child needs and cut it by 25 percent or so."

First learn the basic necessties provided in the dorm room (desk, chair, lamp, etc.). Is there a kitchen with a refrigerator and microwave? Every student should first check out the school's website to see a list of essentials and prohibited items, including space heaters, candles, extension cords, toaster ovens, among others.

Students can also coordinate with their roommates to share and cut down on the items to bring.

For those sharing an apartment off campus, check out what already comes in the apartment and then save by divvying up the essentials with roommates.

Here's what you need and what you don't.

What to buy

Bath towels
Choose thicker but affordable towels for absorbency. If you use products to treat acne, then buy inexpensive white towels.

First check the size of the bed online. You may need XL twin sheets since most dorm beds are five inches longer than the standard twin. you will also need a longer mattress cover, comforter and blankets. Sheets that are 100% cotton are the most comfortable.

Check if the dorm already offers a communal microwave or if an apartment already has one.

Coffee maker
Single-serve coffee makers will allow you to brew coffee right into your mug, but replenishing the coffee pods may cost more than buying regular ground coffee or beans.

What to hold off on

If you already have a meal plan, then a compact refrigerator may be a waste. If there isn't a communal refrigerator, check the school's policy. First see if a fridge is necessary, or else you can split the cost with a roommate.

Order a small humidifier and have it shipped if you feel that the dorm room or apartment bedroom gets hot and dry in the winter. Remember to clean the humidifier after every use to keep bacteria from building.

What to skip

There's little time or space to iron so you probably will not need one. For those who do seem to care, pack a spray bottle of Downy Wrinkle Releaser Plus.

Expensive bedding and decorative pillows
The extra pillows take up space, while the fancy sheets and comforters may get ruined when washed.

Extra set of sheets
Because of the busy life of college students, you may not have time to constantly change sheets regularly.

Alarm clock
You probably have a cell phone where you can set the alarm.

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