"Cleaning supplies are always important," Stroud said.
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Stroud said it is important to find out ahead of time if bigger cleaning supplies will be provided. She said her freshman year, she and her suitemates didn't realize that they would need a vacuum, so they had to borrow one.
My one "must have" item for cleaning is a can of Clorox Wipes. It's also a good idea to bring dish soap and a sponge to clean up from late-night snacks.
You will also need to bring laundry detergent and plenty of quarters. In my experience, a hamper or laundry basket is much more convenient than a laundry bag. If you have a lot of delicate clothing, a drying rack may also be a good idea.
Stroud and Yeatts both suggest that you coordinate with your roommate(s) ahead of time to avoid bringing the same major items.
A microwave and a mini-fridge are definitely worth the expense, and are great for the times when you are sick of cafeteria food or need a warm drink. Microwaves can also double as an artificial campfire — a friend taught me that they can be used to make s'mores.
A desk lamp, good headphones and a flash drive are also great helps for studying and paper-writing.
Just for fun
There are myriad ways to personalize your dorm room. Posters, photos and additional lighting can be a lot of fun, but make sure you are aware of your school's guidelines. Some schools do not allow certain adhesives on the walls, so check before you buy. Surge protectors are useful for giving you additional electrical outlets, but some schools stipulate that only certain brands be used.
Decorating your room can be a great way to get to know your roommate, so be creative and have fun.
Snacks to keep off the "Freshman 15"
Studying is hard work. Here are some tried-and-true options for brain fuel that will help you keep off the infamous "Freshman 15."
Fresh fruit — Take some friends to a local farmer's market. You'll get a better feel for the area and nothing beats local fruit.
Baby carrots and hummus — The carrots provide the crunch and the hummus is much healthier (and just as delicious) as traditional veggie dip.
Popcorn — Find snack-sized microwave popcorn with no artificial colors or sweeteners and no hydrogenated oil
Chocolate — OK, so this might contribute to the "Freshman 15," but it's still essential. My roommate and I discovered that Ghirardelli Chocolate 60 percent cocoa chocolate chips are much more economical than individually wrapped chocolates or chocolate bars.