Dorm room essentials for heading back to school

Brandie Tenney and Doug Chambers from GVSU stop by to tell us about the essential items for college dorm rooms.

ALLENDALE, MICH. - When heading off to the dorm, it's easy to over or under pack. You may grab three sets of bath towels, but forget your toothbrush. Plus, it can be easy to pack something you shouldn't if you aren't prepared. 

Each school is different, and in many cases, different dorms have different rules even on the same campus, but there are still things to keep in mind while you are packing up. 

As a reference, at Grand Valley State University you are not allowed to bring:

  •  Air conditioners (window/portable)
  •  Sandwich makers/grills, hot plates, rice cookers, Crock-Pots, waffle makers, toaster ovens, and toasters (toasters, Crock-Pots and rice cookers are only permitted in apartments and apartment-style living centers)
  •  Refrigerators that are 4.4 cubic feet or more (only residents of traditional and suite-style living centers are permitted to bring a refrigerator to campus)
  •  Halogen bulbs or lamps, multilight lamps with plastic shades
  •  Candles/incense, with or without wicks, and candle warmers
  •  Strobe lights, lava lamps, and black lights
  •  Major appliances (freezers, dishwashers, washers, dryers, etc.)
  •  Microwaves that are greater than 1,000 watts (limit of one microwave per unit)
  •  Extension cords, outlet adapters, or multiple plugs — except for power strips with built-in circuit breakers (limit of one power strip per resident)
  •  Electrical appliances without a “UL Certified” label

There are also things you may be planning to bring that you should think about coordinating with a roommate.

Things like shower curtains, dishes, televisions, fans, microwaves, and mini fridges can all be shared. In some cases, only one is allowed in each room, so if you both bring one, it could present a problem. 

You also want to remember that you are packing for a long time. While you can think about it like a long vacation and plan you clothing out in that way, remember you will still be on campus when it starts to snow and if you didn't bring your winter coat, you'll need to buy one. You'll have to go to class in all kinds of weather so make sure if you want your rain boots or an umbrella you bring that along as well. 

GVSU's Housing department suggests this list of things to include when you are packing:

  • Computer
  • Backpack
  • Clothing and shoes
  • Bathroom caddy
  • Towels and washcloths
  • Medications and first aid kit
  • Hair care items
  • Insurance card
  • Laundry soap and basket
  • Hangers
  • Ironing board and iron
  • Bedding to fit the correct mattress size
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Alarm clock
  • Printer and ink
  • Dishes and utensils
  • Dry erase board
  • Reading lamp
  • Television
  • Extension cord
  • Power strip
  • Flashlight
  • Stereo
  • Fan
  • Small tool kit

For more information about moving-in, be sure to visit the housing section of the specific college or university you or your student will be attending. 

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Mackenzie is a producer at WZZM 13. Have a news tip? Email news@wzzm13.com, visit our Facebook page or Twitter.

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