Roughly 20 million students will be heading to college this fall. For first-year students, thinking about the upcoming semester is exciting — and stressful. You’ll be moving on and living on your own. If you’re moving to an apartment, it means you’ll need to buy a variety of items that will help you to live comfortably.
Along with the main essentials like bedding, bathroom, and kitchen supplies, there are lots of little things you’ll want that you might not initially think of. Instead of stressing out about the little things, here’s a list of other college apartment essentials to help you get ready.
Reusable Plastic Containers
Bring on the meal plans!
Realistically speaking, although your main diet will probably consist of ramen noodles in a styrofoam cup or a quick bowl of cereal, having some type of plastic storage container saves a lot of money and eliminates wasting food. You’ll want to save any and all leftovers you have because food is expensive and re-heating a meal is way faster and easier than cooking a whole new one.
Power Bar with a Long Extension Cord
Most college apartments have few outlets in every room and some of them aren’t easily accessible. On top of that, if you’re sharing those outlets with a few roommates, it reduces the number available for your use. To avoid a fight to the death with your roommates for the last open outlet, get a power strip with many outlets. Make sure it has a cord that’s at least three or four feet long so that you can plug it behind any furniture while still having easy access.
Foldable Drying Rack
Despite our best efforts, accidents can (and usually will) happen! Whether you trip down stairs, or cut your finger in the kitchen, you’re going to want a first-aid kit in an easy-to-access spot on move-in day. Here are a few items to include:
Most college apartments with TVs in them don’t always have cable or even a DVD player. Instead, you’ll likely be stuck crowding around a laptop with your roommates to watch your favorite Netflix show. Make it easier for everyone with a streaming stick. It’s better than using a regular HDMI cord because nobody needs to give up their computer to plug into the TV and everyone can enjoy watching movies on a bigger screen.
Washing clothes can be expensive at your college apartment and you don’t want to wash something if you don’t need to. If you’ve only worn a shirt for a couple of hours, it doesn’t necessarily need to be washed, but it might be a little wrinkled. Or if you’ve put off doing laundry for weeks on end and you run out of pants to wear (we’ve all been in this situation), you might start to panic.
A fabric steamer will come to the rescue in situations like this and save you time and money. Plus, it has other handy uses besides steaming clothes, so it’s an all-around winner.
Filtered Water Pitcher
Unless you’re really lucky, you’ll probably only have access to tap water in your apartment at college. It doesn’t taste great, but what can you do!?
Instead of drinking water that tastes funky, get a water pitcher with a filter. It will make your water taste 10 times better, and as a bonus, you can keep it in the fridge and always have cold water. Some water pitchers even have filters that add flavor so you can drink delicious water all the time. And remember, 6-8 a day keep the doctor away!
Step stools are necessary when you live on your own (especially if you are of the shorter variety)! The possibilities are endless: change light bulbs on your own, reach that bowl you only eat soup in, or stock your shoe collection on the top of your closet shelves (just me?). If your bed is on risers, you can store your step stool underneath. So instead of learning to do bionic jumps to get what you need, just use a step stool. No matter how tall or short you are, it will make your life so much easier.
Follow this list and there’ll be no need to sweat the small stuff. Getting ready to live on your own can seem intimidating, but if you’re prepared, you’ve got nothing to worry about!
Originally published in apartmentguide.com.