This post is Dorm Room Set-Up 2.0. Last August I packed up my son Jack for Johns Hopkins and I am here to tell you the good, the bad and ugly of it all lol.
Fortunately for me, Jack had a great roommate from Atlanta and his mother (Patti) and I began chatting over the summer. Patti was awesome and clearly we were both into making our sons’ room functional and cool…. ok Patti was a little more about the function and I was more about the fluff. Anyway, we tag teamed our way through everything they needed (or what we thought they needed.) Much to my surprise the room was about half the size I thought it would be. There was no closet – just an armoire that was too short for Jack’s clothes, a desk that looked like it was made for a third grader, a bed with some storage and a kitchenette and bathroom to be shared with suite mates.
Jack & Garrett both play football at JHU and while their sports equipment is stored in the locker room, two giant boys and all their big items fill up a room quickly. Patti and I spoke almost every day exchanging what we bought and what we still needed to get. She took care of the bathroom and I did the kitchenette. Eight seemed to be my number… 8 place settings of silverware, 8 plates, 8 bowls. To say I was a little out of control was an understatement! I bought cutting boards, sharp knives (plural), dish towels, drying racks, frying pans (again plural) and the list goes on. My son never really cooked at home – what made me think he would at school?
(Jack’s rooms as we were putting it together… I bet it only looked like this for 24 hours lol)
What I’ve learned – Guys and Girls rooms are very different!
For guys sometimes, less is more. Tip #1: 4 of everything would have worked just fine! I thought having extra would make things easier, when in actuality it created a bigger mess! I had everything perfectly arranged and folded as I put together Jack’s side of the room. Tees stacked like the Gap. Joggers hung on hangers. A flawless bed made with cozy throw pillows to create a sofa effect. Did I really think Jack was going to fold his clothes like I have been doing his whole life (again lol.) We had practiced doing laundry a few weeks before he left and his folding skills were sketchy at best. Now Patti, she was a realist. She knew her son and had bins (collapsible no less) for everything. . . shoe bin, hoodie bin, pant bin and so on. Her plan was something he could easily maintain,
(On a side note – this will make you laugh. When Jack came home for Christmas and he unpacked his suitcase and I thought everything was dirty. His response was “no Mom , it’s all clean, I washed it all.” I said “but it’s all together and inside out.” He then says “oh that’s how I do laundry. I have a dirty pile and a clean pile. I take off my tee and hoodie together (as a set & inside out), wash it that way, dry it that way and then it goes together in the clean pile.” I laughed and was horrified at the same time.)
Next, let’s talk about their linens. Having a made bed is something Jack has always experienced. Crisp clean sheets (with a high thread count), the perfect pillows etc. Again here is a time to get real. Top sheets; what teenage boy doesn’t undo the top sheet on the regular. Did I really think he would make his bed and reattach the top sheet every day – NO!. So tip #2: skip the top sheet. Jack loves his duvet, so he had that touch of home in a twin version with a mattress topper & pad and he was all set. Towels; again I sent 8 and that was too many! Four would have gotten the job done and taken up much less space and forced him to keep up with laundry.
Walls. Here is where they can add personality to the room and create extra space. Many of the boys brought flags from their home states. We drove Jack out to Baltimore and on along the way we stopped in every state and grabbed a ball cap. A few command hooks and we added them across the wall. We opted for Detroit street sign to represent Michigan. I also think hanging a favorite jersey on the wall is a cool option too. Crates stacked on the top of the armoire created more space and the perfect angle for a rotating fan. Tip #3: some of the essentials below may seem a little over the top, for example the larger mini fridge. It really doesn’t take up that much more room and while costing a bit more, it may save you $$ in the end. Going out to eat is expensive and having a space for things like milk for cereal or a place for leftovers or the ability to chill multiple waters should have the extra cost covered in no time.
Start with Essentials – they take up a lot of room! Amazon is your friend, avoid all the running around.
Linens: Click on item to order.
(Down Alternative Comforter, Down Comforter, Duvet Covers, Twin XL Sheets with color options, Rolling Laundry Basket – holds a ton, Thick Towels – also with color options, QUICK DRY towels (helps prevent wet smelly towels!), Mattress Topper & Pad- a MUST)
Electronics and Appliances: Click on item to order.
(32″ tv, UEBoom waterproof speaker, desk lamp, mini fridge, microwave, single blender, fan with remote, personal humidifier (dorms are super dry), clock that projects time)
Extras: Click on item to order.
(Cork Boards & push pins for pictures of Mom : ), collapsible crates, bed caddy, phone holder for zoom meetings )
Now for the GIRLS-
Here is what I’ve learned… girls coordinate with each other and they have a plan. They care a lot about their bed, they like having a place to put on makeup, and they are all about displaying pictures – lots and lots of pictures! Oh, and they seem to have crave cool and cute storage. They also want something a little different. A cool wall, A beautiful carpet or maybe a fantastic light.
Linens: Click on item to order.
(Duvet Covers, Sheets in Twin XL, Barefoot Dreams Throws, Quilted Headboards, QUCK DRY Towels – great for hair!)
Electronics and Appliances (girl version): Click on item to order.
(Mini Fridge, UEBoom waterproof speaker, Desk Lamp)
Extras: Click on item to order.
(Removable Wallpaper, Wall decals, Cork boards for Pictures)
(Cool rugs in neutral colors available in various sizes)
(Hanging Chandelier with Plug, Pendent Light with Plug, Mood Light, Makeup Mirrors)
(Closet hanging storage, Fabric Bins, Collapsible Bins, Skinny Rubber Coated Hangers, Over the Door Hooks, Cord Hiders)
(Just a few things that will help you pull everything together… Commend Hooks & Velcro Strips, double sided tape, Tool Kit, Extension Cord)
Well, I hope this gives you a good start to your college shopping! Remember, divide and conquer. Oh, and please send us pictures!