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The 10 Most Useful Items in a College Apartment


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Moving into an apartment is an exciting, yet sometimes stressful, step in one’s college career. With all the new responsibilities you will be taking on, the last thing you want to worry about is how to pack for this new move.  And while plenty of sites have useful checklists, there are many items that you won’t realize you’ve forgotten until you are already missing them!

That’s why today, I’m here to share my experience and let you in on the 10 most useful items in a college apartment.

1. Tool Kit and Tape Measure

Ikea toolbox
IKEA tool kit

Assembling furniture and fixing minor maintenance issues can be a cinch if you are prepared for them — no more waiting for the maintenance staff! And the tape measure will come in handy when trying to arrange furniture. It is much easier to measure the space ahead of time, rather than finding out an area is too small after you’ve dragged something across the entire apartment!

2. First Aid Kit

First aid kit
First aid kit

This is one of those things that you’ll hardly miss until you need it – then you’ll be in agony over the fact you forgot! Buy a pre-packaged kit, or assemble your own. Toss in a box of Band-Aids, a tube of Neosporin, some gauze, a digital thermometer, and some go-to meds (Ibuprofen, cold medicine, Benadryl, and Tums), and you’ll be all set!

3. George Foreman Grill

George foreman grill
George Foreman grill

You can cook anything on a George Foreman, from burgers to fish to panini sandwiches. It heats up extremely fast, so you can have breakfast, lunch or dinner ready in no time. And if you buy the style with removable grill plates, you can just pop them in the dishwasher to make cleaning up a breeze!

4. Toaster Oven

Toaster and toaster oven
Hamilton Beach toaster oven

A toaster oven is another kitchen “must-have.” It warms up quickly and is much more convenient to use than the full oven. It’s perfect for reheating pizza or anything else that would otherwise get soggy in the microwave. Look for a version that doubles as a regular toaster so you can save counter space and money!

5. Earplugs and an Eyemask

Eye mask and earplugs
Brookstone eyemask, Earplugs

As much as you may love your roommates, your feelings could change at 1AM when you are snuggled in bed and their night has just begun. Even if you live alone, apartment building walls tend to be on the thin side. If you don’t want to see and hear everything that your roommates or neighbors say and do, grab some ear plugs and an eye mask and enjoy a good night’s sleep.

6. Power Strips (and Extension Cords!)

Quirky power strip
Quirky pivot power strip

There are never enough outlets in an apartment building, and those that exist are sometimes in hard-to-reach spots. Stock up on a few extra power strips (and maybe an extension cord or two) and you’ll never have to worry about getting everything connected.

7. Extra Lighting and Flashlights

Apartment lighting
Clip-on lamp, Flashlight, Multi-light floor lamp

Another thing I’ve learned is that many apartment buildings tend not to have the best lighting. A floor lamp is the best choice to brighten a large space, like the living room. And many stores sell “clip-on” lamps, which are a great option for the bedroom – especially if you don’t have a nightstand where you can place a table lamp. Keep a couple flashlights around as well. They will come in handy if you ever lose power.

8. Wireless Router

Wireless router
Netgear wireless router

Unless you are one of the lucky few blessed with Wi-Fi throughout your entire apartment building, you will be responsible for connecting your unit to the web. A wireless router will allow you to avoid the mess of Ethernet cables. Create your own Wi-Fi by connecting one internet cable to the router, and never worry about staying connected to the cable itself when you need the internet.

9. Extra Storage

Apartment storage solutions
Under-bed shoe bag, Printed storage bin, 3-drawer cart

This may seem like a no-brainer, but college students typically overestimate the amount of space that will be available in their apartment. When it comes down to it, you should be prepared to utilize every nook and cranny. Plastic file boxes and under-the-bed storage containers are just a couple great options to make the most of your space.

10. Command Hooks

Command hooks
Velcro Command strips, Small wire Command hooks, Plastic Command hooks

Personally, I have spent a small fortune on Command hooks over the past year. With such a variety to choose from, Command has a perfect way to hang everything from posters to bulletin boards. The hooks can also be used to provide extra hanging space for purses, sweatshirts or anything else you have laying around! Best of all, they can be easily removed from any surface, so don’t worry about dealing with an angry landlord!

Your Thoughts?

What items do you find most useful in your college apartment? Did you initially forget to pack some of your must-haves? Let us know in the comments section, and help others to be successful in their move!

Posted on on January 26, 2013 / Filed Under: College Life / Tags: , , , ,

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20 Responses to “The 10 Most Useful Items in a College Apartment”

  1. 1
    January 26th, 2013 at 7:10 pm

    An electric kettle’s a necessity, I think! Coffee, ramen, and tea are pretty much what I live on during exams

  2. 2
    January 26th, 2013 at 10:16 pm

    Just don’t burn your foot on the George Foreman grill, a la Michael Scott.

  3. 3
    January 26th, 2013 at 11:29 pm

    I agree that a toaster oven is a great thing to have but I have that exact oven you featured and I can’t stand it. Neither the oven or toast functions work well. I would go with a more traditional toaster oven like this:

  4. 4
    January 27th, 2013 at 4:11 am

    May I just say, that I really love this blog! I check it everytime whenever I can! And I get so excited when I see new posts, like this one. I love posts about dorms, class to night out, fashion inspiration from… and lists of essentials. I’m going to graduate high school soon, and already have universities to choose from here in the Philippines. This blog makes me even more excited for college <3 so thank you, and more power to CF :)

  5. 5
    January 27th, 2013 at 5:41 am

    Great post! But, my dorm has outlawed wireless routers, command hooks, and (to my great dismay) extension cords. No idea why – we have great internet, but I would dearly love the other items!

  6. 6
    January 27th, 2013 at 7:28 am

    I agree with everything on that list. We have pretty much everything on there except the toaster oven (which we’ll probably get next year) and the wireless router because it came with the apartment.

    I also could not live without my tea kettle and Keurig. I need my coffee and teas.

  7. 7
    January 27th, 2013 at 9:09 am

    Some great advice for first time apartment dwellers. Though I have one comment about the Command Hooks: be careful where you apply them. My first apartment had walls that had, like, an inch of (cheap as hell) paint on the walls because the landlord painted every time there was a new tenant. The building was over 40 years old, so that’s a lot of tenants over the years! When it came time to move out, I went to gently remove the Command Hooks on my bedroom walls and big hunks of paint actually came with the adhesive. And that was with following the directions and taking about 5 minutes to complete each hook removal. Needless to say, I spent the last day in that apartment patching the walls so that the landlord wouldn’t take part of my deposit.

  8. 8
    January 27th, 2013 at 11:28 am

    Pretty much all colleges will forbid 3 &4; they’re fire hazards.

  9. 9
    January 27th, 2013 at 12:15 pm

    If I had this list when I first went to university, I would have saved myself a lot of hastle. Great list!!

  10. 10
    January 27th, 2013 at 3:01 pm

    This is a really great list! The tool kit and first aid kit are must haves. I’ve personally used, or needed all of these while living out of school!

  11. 11
    January 27th, 2013 at 4:07 pm

    Like Christine said, check with your landlord before using Command Hooks. I’m not allowed to tape ANYTHING to my walls because the drywall is inexpensive and the glue could soak into it and rip out chunks. I’m actually allowed to use pushpins and small hanging nails instead. Read over your lease (it should be in there) and talk to your super/landlord.

  12. 12
    January 27th, 2013 at 9:42 pm

    Yes to all of these things! I don’t use my first aid kit that often, but when I do need it, it’s always nice to have.

  13. 13
    January 28th, 2013 at 5:52 pm

    Great list! For the people who are saying that these things won’t work cause of fire hazards and such in dorms…just a reminder that the title says specifically college apartments…not dorms!

  14. 14
    January 28th, 2013 at 7:29 pm

    Thanks to everyone for your additions to the list! It was difficult to narrow it down to just 10 items, so I’m glad you can all contribute those which I had to leave out.

    Christine & Kyra- Great point about the Command hooks. I personally have not had any trouble with them, but of course it’s always best to check with your landlord and see what your options are.

    Kimberly- Like Sarah mentioned, this list is geared more towards apartment-dwellers. But if you do live in a dorm, many of the items will be equally as useful. Just leave behind those that may be forbidden!

  15. 15
    January 28th, 2013 at 11:29 pm

    You should also bring a Brita water filter or some type of water jug, if you don’t have a sink! :)
    A printer is helpful too.
    And Clorox wipes for periodically cleaning off surfaces.
    And a microwave! Especially if your dorm, like mine, doesn’t allow grills/toasters/hot plates.

  16. 16
    January 7th, 2015 at 8:07 pm

    Greetings! I’ve been reading your web site for a while now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out from Austin Texas!
    Just wanted to tell you keep up the great work!

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