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Written by: Janice Kim, External Affairs Officer || Residence Hall Association

Move-In is fast approaching (Aug. 3 – Aug. 9) ! Before you know it, you will be walking up to your Residence Hall, carrying your boxes and bags of clothes and essential supplies for on-campus living.  If you’re heading off to college for the first time this year, I’m sure you’re wondering what to bring. For the official list, check out page 14 of the Carolina Housing 20-21 Move-In Guide.

While everyone is different, here are some top 10 essentials I’ve found useful during my past several years living on campus.

1.    DualPurpose Shower Shoes

I’m sure you’ve heard people telling you to bring shower shoes for shared res hall bathrooms.

Well, I found that UNC res hall bathrooms are actually quite clean, but I needed those shower shoes to prevent me from slipping IN the bathroom.

But why buy shoes that only work for in the bathroom? Why not buy some that you can slip on to class on a rainy day? My style of choice: Crocs. But rubber flip flops, slides or clogs have proven to be extremely handy not just as shower shoes, but as a quick slip on shoe when you’re running late to class.

croc shoes

2.    Eye Mask

Whether you’re trying to get that mid-day snooze in or your roommate is up late studying, sometimes you need a little extra help falling asleep. I found that having an eye mask can be really helpful when I’m feeling distracted and can’t get the quality sleep I need.

person lying in bed pulling an eye mask down over their face

3.    Drying Rack

When you get to college, you will really begin to appreciate your parents helping you do the laundry!

Did you know some clothing items should NOT be put in the dryer? I certainly did not my freshmen year and let’s say, I have had a few clothing items I had to part with in my first couple weeks on campus.

While using the dryers is convenient, there are clothing items that are meant to be hung up to dry, so having a small drying rack in my room was the best investment I made in my room.

three level drying rack that stands on its own

4.    Power Strip

A three-pronged power strip is the only type allowed in your room. You have a lot of appliances you need to plug in your room: your mini-fridge, your microwave, your TV, your phone charger, your laptop, your lamp, your other lamp…the list goes on.

A power strip allows you to have more outlets to plug these appliances in rather than having to deal with the process of unplugging your phone charger just to charge your laptop instead. Carolina Housing does require you to get a three-pronged power-strip rather than a two-pronged, so double check before moving in!

a bunch of electrical cords plugged into one outlet stating "No problems here" when it is actually an electrical hazard.

5.    Under the Bed Storage

Don’t underestimate the importance of under-the-bed storage. While some of you may decide to loft your bed and store your desk or a couch underneath, I found that an effective use of space was to raise my bed slightly have some plastic containers underneath. This made transitioning during the different seasons super easy because I didn’t need my mom to mail me all of my winter throw blankets. Instead, I had them right under my bed ready for me when the winter chills came along.

lofted bed with storage underneath of varying sizes and styles

6.    A Keurig for a Quick Fix (for EVERYTHING)

I don’t know about you, but I love coffee. I like my warm morning coffee (despite the blistering NC summer heat) and an iced vanilla latte in the afternoon. While supporting the local coffee shops on Franklin & Carrboro Streets are great (I definitely recommend you check out Perennial, Epilogue, Gray Squirrel, and Open Eye), it can get pricey…fast. I found that a Keurig was a great investment because, not only do I get my hot AND iced coffee, but you can do SO MUCH MORE!  Pro Tip: make the hot coffee ahead of time and pop it in a mason jar and into the fridge for later that day!

You can make oatmeal, hot chocolate, and instant ramen all using the hot water from the Keurig. It’s ~magical~ and you will fall in love with your Keurig as much as I did.

person hugging his kuerig

7.    Snack Caddy or Shower Caddy

A shower caddy is a great way to organize and carry more than just your shower necessities. They can be used to organize and carry your make-up, snacks, card games, etc.

My snack caddy is my best friend. I keep all of my favorite grab and go goodies in there. It is easy to store and super convenient to pass around the room when hanging out with my friends!

shower caddy

8.    Swiffer

All the dorm rooms have hard-surface floors and while some of you may choose to put down rugs, you will still want to sweep your room. I found that a Swiffer was an easy way to do this because it’s easily maneuvered, and it isn’t as heavy as pushing around a vacuum every week. Additionally, its easy to store and doesn’t take up much space. Reusable cloth dusters can be tossed in with your laundry and you don’t have to worry about keeping up with filters for your vacuum or purchasing refills for the one-use dry cloths (also a great way to be more sustainable!).

An added plus: it’s quiet! You can clean at anytime (I know because I sometimes have random 3 am cleaning moments) without a noise complaint!

cat being pushed around by a swiffer

9.    Extra Long Charging Cable

The extra-long charging cable is a must…especially if you’re lofting your bed. Imagine lying in bed and wanting to see a message your friend sent about class and having to climb all the way back down to read it. This is when the extra-long charging cable comes in and saves the day!

While I didn’t loft my bed, I found that the extra-long charging cable was awesome because I could charge my phone while sitting at my desk, even though my charger was plugged in by my bed.

bird hanging off the bed to charge his phone because it's not long enough to reach to where it is sitting.

10. Desk Organizer

I loved my desk organizers. I personally love having a clean and tidy space. Having desk organizers were amazing. Some of the res hall rooms do have desk shelving which made organization easier as well, but I loved being able to have a designated place on my desk for all of my small school supplies.

It’s It has got a dual purpose too as some more decorative additions to the room!

images of different desk organizers flipping through

I hope this gave you some ideas about what items are essential and worth investing in as you go into your first year in the dorms. I promise you that at least one of these things you will find super handy during your time living on campus (you don’t have to thank me).

So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and start planning those decorations and making those shopping lists! Get excited! Move-in will be here before you know it.

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