Congrats, high school graduate! No more AP or IB exams, SATs and/or ACTs, bus rides, high school drama (hopefully), joining clubs for the sake of resume padding or awkward dances.
Instead, you can look forward to your first year of college and whether or not it will include the typical freshman experiences. There is one thing every non-commuter freshman does experience: dorm shopping.
Keep in mind, however, that you most likely won’t complete dorm shopping before moving in, no matter how much you or your parents try. There will always be unexpected additions, and making those last-minute runs throughout your first few weeks is inevitable.
On the other hand, you will most likely buy many things for your dorm that you’ll never use.
No matter what, these five stores offer services that may ease at least some of you and your parents’ worries about moving off to college.
•Bed Bath & Beyond
Why: Not only does the store provide you a complimentary college checklist, but Bed Bath & Beyond also makes it almost entirely too easy for out-of-state students to purchase and pick up everything they need. Of course, you do not have to be an out-of-state student to take advantage of Bed Bath & Beyond’s helpful services. You can a) shop at your local store with a handheld gift registry scanner and pick up the items near your school, b) shop at the store near your school — don’t forget to ask for the scanner — or c) shop online and choose the date you want it shipped for a limited time until August 30.
And no need to print out a college checklist. When you register your scanner you will be given the store’s own college checklist, including everything from twin extra-long sheets to desk lamps to dorm-appropriate cookware, said Bed Bath & Beyond’s public relations manager Jessica Joyce.
You can also pick up a store-locator map while you’re there to know how to get to a store closest to your campus for those unexpected necessities. Finally, you will be given a list of your college’s specific dorm requirements. If you’re lucky, you may just be able to buy and bring a coffee maker. You may also want to print out or bring in mailed coupons — often for 20% off. (The store is known for handing them out.) To receive the coupons, sign up for emails.
Good for: Sheets, pillows, mattress pads, bedding accessories, bath towels, laundry, air purifiers/humidifiers
•The Container Store
Why: Every mother loves containers, and now you will too. Store everything you need in your dorm with The Container Store’s wide range of storage and organizational necessities. Like Bed Bath & Beyond, The Container Store offers a free college checklist. Unlike its competitor, the store’s experts provide tips on maximizing dorm space with The Dorm Room Basic Six, finding your perfect backpack, surviving college and more. How could you not fall in love with The Container Store?
Good for: Shower caddies, laundry hampers, chairs, luggage and, of course, containers for virtually everything from food to under-the-bed storage
•Barnes & Noble
Why: Barnes & Noble exists on or near almost every college campus and provides unexpectedly great dorm furnishings and general school supplies. However, contrary to popular belief, the bookstore should be used as a last resort for books. With sites such as myBookCrate, Half.com, Amazon and Textbooks.com, there is no reason you should pay full price for your textbooks.
Good for: Office supplies, backpacks, laptop cases, hangers, storage containers, bed risers
Why: If a Bed Bath & Beyond store isn’t close enough to campus for your last-minute purchases, Ikea is a close alternative, providing one of the best shopping experiences with ready-to-assemble furniture in convincing showrooms and, in most stores, restaurants serving traditional Swedish food.
Good for: Chairs, rugs, sheets, mattress pads, towels, bookshelves
Why: For all your other needs, or if you prefer cheaper alternatives, these are your next best bets. From TVs and other electronics to cleaning supplies, these retail giants help fill the cracks that the other four stores left behind. Target also offers the top 100 back-to-college items.
Good for: Everything else, including bathroom, kitchen and office supplies, electronics, food
Start shopping soon to avoid the hectic lines come August and early September. And check out Dormify’s guide to maneuver a no-fuss shopping trip with your parents.
Good luck, freshmen, and enjoy your summer before your next, exciting chapter.
Any other must-visit stores? Leave a comment below and tell us why.
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