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College dorm must-haves are things that you’ll need without question to help make your stay more comfortable and homey. Before you start to stock your dorm, check out what your college already provides by going onto the housing area of the school’s website or by paying a personal visit. This way you won’t buy or bring anything that’s already provided.

5 Utensils and Other Dining Essentials

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Even though you’ll have access to the cafeteria for your meals, you’re going to get hungry when that cafeteria is closed. Most dorms have a kitchen with a fridge, microwave, stove and oven, so you probably won’t have to worry about buying any of those. Instead, buy a couple of cheap plates, bowls, cups and non-disposable flatware.

4 Storage Solutions

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Forget about what you see on TV or the movies—dorm rooms are tiny. You’ll probably have a small closet, a dresser, a bed and a desk on your side of the room. If you’re lucky, you’ll also have a couple of shelves and some type of storage built into the bed. After see your room in person and taking measurements, shop for some smart storage solutions. Options to consider include a small cart with drawers on wheels, storage boxes that fit under the bed or stacking shelves that you can use on your desk.

3 Linens

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To accommodate students of all heights, dorm beds are twin-sized and extra long. If you don’t already have an extra-long bed at home, you’ll need to buy a new set or two of sheets and blankets. You’ll also need a couple of bath towels and washcloths. If your towel isn’t long enough to cover your body as you make your way down the hall from the bathroom to your room, do everyone a favor and invest in a robe.

2 Bathroom Essentials

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When you stay in a college dorm, you’re not a guest. This means that you have to bring your own hygiene products. Find a waterproof shower caddy and stock it with basics like shampoo, conditioner and a hair brush. If you prefer bar soap over bath gel, get a plastic case for the soap. Otherwise, buy your favorite bath gel and a durable pouf or loofah. Depending on your grooming preferences, you may want to stick a razor, shaving cream and hairstyling products in the caddy as well.

1 Alarm Clock

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Don’t rely on the clock on your cell phone alone. You’ll quickly learn why if you lose your phone, it breaks or the battery dies in the middle of the night…and you miss that 8:30 a.m. class. Look for an alarm clock that lets you set a different alarm for each day of the week. Your roommate will love you if the clock has a feature that lets you dim the screen at night.

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