10 must-have items for college

Posted at 11:49 AM, Jul 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-14 11:49:51-04

Every parent wants his child to be well-equipped when it comes time to start college, but there is such a thing as too much stuff — particularly when space is restricted to a dorm room or small apartment.

Students might not know what’s necessary, and shouldn’t make the mistake of over-packing or investing big bucks on unnecessary items. With small real estate to work with, it’s best to stick to essentials.

Aside from the basic smartphone and assumed kitchen items, here are a few small appliances and electronics students will be remiss to forget:



1. Portable vacuum cleaner

It might seem '80s, but these little dirt suckers come in handy whether you want to keep everyday grime at bay, host a study group or invite friends over to relax. When looking for a cleaner, keep portability and compactness in mind. If it’s cordless … all the better.

2. Air purifier

No matter how consistent you are with personal hygiene, it doesn’t guarantee your roommates or housemates will be. College is a time of exploration and discovery, but the last thing you want to discover is an unpleasant smell coming from the living area. Once you’re equipped with a certified HEPA filter, you’ll breathe easy knowing that your air is clean and allergen free.

3. Steam iron and mini-board

College students have little closet space, meaning they have a limited amount of clothing and no storage for an ironing board. Invest in a simple iron that’s easy to use and comes with an auto-off feature for safety. This will keep you looking good for interviews, dates or what have you.

4. Compact refrigerator

If your dorm or apartment allows, a compact refrigerator is a great appliance to have. Even with a refrigerator in the kitchen, college students are often short on fridge space. You can keep one on hand for snacks and refreshing beverages to get you through long hours of study. Either way, it keeps your food private and cool.

5. Coffee maker or kettle

Whether your preferred morning beverage is tea or coffee, you’ll need a way to wake up after long nights of studying or hanging out with friends. No matter what brand you prefer, opt for something small that heats quickly and is easy to clean.

6. Microwave or toaster oven

With a trusty microwave or toaster oven, you can have a variety of quick meals with little to no time and effort. The best part is, they’re small. Just make sure to check with your resident advisor first.

7. Double-sided mirror

Most people prefer to glance in the mirror before going out for the day. At college, one thing is certain: Bathroom space is shared and often crowded. To avoid a rush in the mornings, invest in a personal mirror to ensure you look presentable before class.

8. Easy readers

Plenty of textbooks are accessible online and via electronic reading. A laptop works well for most students, but if you are fine using on campus labs for schoolwork or want an additional device, consider investing in a tablet. A tablet is light and easy to carry to class, on the bus or anywhere else for on-the-go reading.

9. USB drives

You often will need to transfer digital files from Point A to Point B. The Cloud lets you do just about anything, but it never hurts to have a backup copy on your personal USB drive. Keep everything you need for the week saved on this little device to avoid missing a deadline because the Cloud ate your homework.

10. Portable speakers

Traditional standalone stereos are uncommon in dorm rooms, but you may still want to blast your music on occasion. When the volume on your laptop or smartphone speakers doesn’t do it for you, small portable speakers are just what you need. Plenty of standalone Wi-Fi enabled speakers are on the market. 

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