Leaving for college can feel overwhelming, especially if it’s your first time. For so many freshmen, this is perhaps the first time you’ve ever packed up all your belongings and moved to somewhere new. This task can feel daunting, despite the excitement you are most likely simultaneously feeling about newfound independence and opportunity. There are dozens of lists that exist on the internet that contain the ultimate packing guide to college. Much of it may feel unnecessary, and let us assure you, much of it is. Perhaps you’re more of a minimalist instead of a maximalist when it comes to packing, and you’re starting to worry that you’ll end up drowning in a repertoire of knick-knacks in your small dorm room. This is a valid concern, and we suggest relying on what you actually use around your house and in your daily life to gauge if it’s truly something you would use in college. Speaking of taking inventory of your life back home, that brings us to why we’re here. While there are millions of packing lists about “essentials” such as dorm room ethernet cables, foldable laundry racks, locks, and electric kettles, there are not enough lists out there that actually highlight the things in your life worth bringing for the sake of comfort and sentiment. When you’re feeling homesick or simply want to feel like your dorm room is a bedroom instead of a concrete box, it will be your comfort items that will make all the difference in the world in making your new dorm a sweet home away from home. This knowledge only comes with trial and error and time and experience, but luckily we’ve compiled a comprehensive list to make this transition just a little bit easier.
1. A Cozy Blanket
Dorm rooms can be notoriously cold and drafty during the colder seasons, and there’s nothing worse than feeling like your only alternative is to get back into bed in order to get some warmth. Fuzzy throw blankets are a super easy way to make a dorm room feel cozier and more home-like. When you’re having a bad day or you’re feeling under the weather, curling up under a soft blanket can sometimes bring a sense of comfort that you wouldn’t otherwise feel from a dorm room. Having one on hand for long study nights at your desk may just be a game changer for creating features in your dorm that allows you to build in moments of self-care.
2. Pictures From Home
Feeling homesick is the absolute worst feeling, and it is something that inevitably every college freshman is sure to face at some point. What can exacerbate this feeling is when your dorm room feels sterile and the antithesis of home. Bringing photos of your loved ones, friends, and family is an easy way to transition your room from feeling like a hospital room to a space that represents you and holds the people you hold dear. Furthermore, you might consider finding a few posters or pictures of things that mean something to you to hang on the wall. You might be amazed at how much of a difference it makes on a hard day.
3. A Mattress Topper
One of the main complaints that college freshmen have is that they don’t sleep as well in their dorm room as they do at home. This feeling alone can often be a driving factor in why many college students find themselves missing home and the comfort of their old room. Utilizing a mattress pad on top of the provided dorm mattress can make a huge difference in sleep and overall comfort. The last thing you need is to sleep poorly for your entire freshman year. A mattress topper could be the missing puzzle piece and missing comfort item you need to turn your dorm into a safe space.
4. A Shower Speaker
A speaker falls in the comfort item category because it’s something that improves your overall quality of life when living in a dorm. Having the ability to play music can completely transform a space to make it feel cozier and more like your own. Not only can music completely change the vibe of a space, but it also has the ability to provide a sense of company when things are too quiet. Lots of students who live in dorms with community bathrooms say that they like to use their speakers when taking a shower to give an extra layer of privacy and make the experience more enjoyable.
5. A Rug
One complaint we often hear from college students about dorm living is the floors. Dorm room floors can often be concrete and cold, and can immediately make a space feel uncomfortable in the morning when your bare feet first hit the ground to start the day. One way college students are making their dorms feel more home-like is by adding a faux fur rug to the ground. A rug of any kind can immediately make the dorm room feel cozier and more lived in and serves the practical purpose of warming the space up.