Alyssa Powell/Business Insider
- After a couple semesters living in dorms, many students choose to move off campus, which is often their first real-world exposure to all the responsibilities of living independently.
- Every college’s dorm is different but most provide general amenities like access to printers and vacuuming of communal areas, but with off-campus housing, students are on their own entirely.
- As someone who lived in off-campus housing, you’ll want to get obvious necessities like toilet paper, kitchenware, and cleaning wipes, but you might also need a printer, steamer, and inexpensive seating. Here are 11 unexpected things students living off campus would need.
Moving into a college dorm can be an exciting, albeit stressful, experience.
However, dorms hope to make this transition as smooth as possible with amenities like communal lounges perfect for late night studying, pre-paid dining hall meal plans, and RAs to answer any questions and tell your neighbors to quiet down at 2 a.m.
But once you’ve lived in a dorm for a few semesters, you’re ready to swap your student ID for a key to off-campus housing. This also means you’re entirely responsible for stocking your own bathroom and kitchen, resolving roommate issues without the help of RAs, and handling all the details of modern living without the dorm amenities.
I’m a few years out of college, but I remember counting down the days until I could move out of my dorm and into my own place — free from RA oversight and mandatory quiet hours.
While I definitely appreciated the freedom to stock as many cans of cheap beer as I could fit in my fridge, I didn’t realize all the ways in which dorms made my life easier until I’d moved into my apartment.
Beyond the obvious items like toilet paper, kitchenware, and cleaning wipes, here are 11 surprising products you’ll need when living off campus for the first time:
A lap desk and portable dining table combo
Most dorms have designated areas designed for getting work done. Large tables, lounge zones, and bean bag chairs were always available without having to walk outside to a different building. This was great for me because I always liked to study at home rather than schlep to the library and fight for a spot near an outlet.
Once I moved off-campus though, it was harder to find a suitable place to do my work at home. A lap desk was really helpful because I could work in bed or on the couch without having to worry about any of the health hazards of keeping a steaming computer on my lap.
Even if you’re the kind of student who does all their work strictly at the library, a lap desk is essential for any off-campus renter because it also doubles as a portable dining table for meals in front of the TV, out on the porch, or in your roommate’s room.
Foldable seating for guests and tailgates
Whether you’re hosting a chill afternoon after class, tailgating for a football game, or meeting your neighbors for a potluck, you’ll need cheap seating options — which doesn’t come with the rent.
That’s where a pack of foldable camping chairs can come in handy. These chairs are inexpensive, easy to fold out when friends are around, and easily stored away in a corner, so no one has to sit on the floor.
A multi-rack shower caddy
In the dorms, most students usually bring their own little caddy of grooming essentials to and from the shared bathrooms. But once you’ve moved off campus, you can retire the shower caddy and actually store your shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and everything else in the bathroom. If you’re still using a 3-in-1, grow up.
However, if you’re sharing a bathroom with a bunch of roommates, there probably aren’t enough ledges to hold all your things without a ton of bottles crashing onto the floor every time you move around.
This suspension shower rod can be easily installed in any part of your bathroom, and comes with four racks so all your roommates can store their bar soaps in their own areas.
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