Support Local Journalism. Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club.

What to Buy (and What Not to Buy) For Your Life in a Dorm Room 

click to enlarge feature_what-to-bring.jpg

College isn't just expensive because of tuition, room and board. Sustaining yourself at school comes with a host of other potential costs, and here's what's generally worth splurging on versus what's not.

Worth it:

A printer. While it's pricier upfront to buy your own, rather than use one at the library or student center (or mooch off a friend), it'll be worth it. You won't have to worry if the school's printers are malfunctioning or all in use, and you won't have to scramble between classes to print off papers.

A coffeemaker. You have no idea what your sleep schedule will be like once you're at school. Despite your best intentions, you'll probably find yourself desperate for caffeine at an ungodly hour in which every coffee dispensary on campus is closed. No bueno.

A winter coat. It's not high school. Flimsy fleece North Face jackets may have protected you during your walk from the senior parking lot into school, but they have nothing on a 20-minute trek to class during an Ohio blizzard. No one cares if you look like a yeti walking around campus; they do, too, and all they're thinking about is how cold they are.

Over-the-counter medicine. If you have a debilitating cold at school, your mom can't call you in sick. Stock up on DayQuil, NyQuil, Advil and allergy medicine (or whatever works for you) to ensure that you'll remain a functioning human being even when illness strikes. The flu doesn't care if it's finals week.

A water bottle. Would you rather spend some money on a decent reusable water bottle once or have to stock up on plastic ones every month? Plus, if you don't invest in one, you'll feel guilty every time you pass your campus' ubiquitous hydration stations.

A fancy planner. While $20-plus might seem like a lot to throw at a glorified notebook, it can be an invaluable organizational tool. You'll likely be more inclined to use it, too, if it cost more money.

Not worth it:

Designer shower shoes. You'll want to burn them at the end of the year anyway, so why not just buy some cheap flip-flops?

Too much storage. Extra storage is requisite for living comfortably in a college dorm room. But you can have too much; wait until you get to school to evaluate how much you'll actually need, and how much space you have to fill.

Fancy bedding. You likely won't have another Twin XL bed again, as they're uniquely and unfortunately exclusive to college dorm rooms. What are you going to do with those coffee-stained $300 designer sheets post-graduation?

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

Read the Digital Print Issue

October 6, 2021

View more issues

Most Popular

No recently-read stories.

Visit the archives…


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.


© 2021 Cleveland Scene: 737 Bolivar Rd., Suite 4100, Cleveland, OH 44115, (216) 505-8199
Logos and trademarks on this site are property of their respective owners.

Website powered by Foundation