Welcome back! Last week, I talked about some things that you should certainly splurge on when you’re putting together your dorm room. This week, I’m gonna talk about some things that you can watch your wallet on, because they’re either on sale a lot or you don’t need the quality that you think you need. Without further ado, let’s go!
- Sheets. You might think you need 1000 count Egyptian cotton sheets, but let me tell you, my favorite sheets are my $14 jersey/microfiber/250 thread count cotton sheets I got at Target. (Those are three different types of sheets, by the way.) You don’t need a higher thread count, and you’re also going to want to realize that once you move out of the dorm and into an apartment, you might not have a twin bed anymore. Why spend upwards of $100 on a set of twin sheets (or even the dreaded XL Twin!) for them to be obsolete in a few years? Plus, the more sets of sheets you buy, the more often you can change your bed without washing your sheets. (Because believe me: CHANGE YOUR SHEETS AT LEAST BIWEEKLY, otherwise your room will start to smell and you’ll start to break out more!) I own eight sets of sheets, two quilts (both ones my mother made), one comforter, and several pillowcases for my body pillow.
- Notebooks. Technically, this is a school supply and not a dorm supply, but you’re going off to college so chances are you’re going to need a notebook. Check out your local tax codes to see if your state has a tax-free weekend, and try and go shopping on that day for school supplies. I’ve found that Wal-Mart usually has the cheapest ones. I’ve gotten 17¢ spiral notebooks there before. I like spiral notebooks because they’re cheap, easy to transport, and you can buy them in tons of different colors so you can differentiate between them for your school classes. Don’t spend a fortune on trendy notebooks when the cheap ones work just as well.
- Room decor. 99% chance you’re not going to keep the majority of this stuff when you move into an apartment, and if you do, it probably won’t last past your graduation. Why buy a bunch of expensive decorative pieces that you’ll just end up hating in a few years? (Believe me from experience: my style has changed so much from my freshman year of college!) Try buying stuff from the clearance section at Target, or in clearance sections at stores such as World Market. If you’ve got a 5Below near you, they’re pretty reliable when it comes to cheap decorative items (after all, everything in the store is $5 and below!). At the end of the year, if you don’t like something any more, you can sell it in a yard sale or drop it in the donation bin without a second thought. (Most schools have a donation bin during move-out week that benefits a local charity or homeless/women’s shelter.) Even better, make your own art if you’re artsy!
- Storage Bins. I know, all of the “Prepare for College!” advertising has led you to believe that you can only buy things from The Container Store or Bed, Bath, & Beyond. Let me tell you that’s not true. A $5 bin from Wal-Mart will hold the same amount of stuff that a $30 bin from BB&B will. Trust me. Sure, it might not look as pretty, but you’re using this stuff for storage. Buy some Washi tape or some wrapping paper and make it look pretty. I prefer things that are functional and pretty, but I’ll take cheap functionality over expensive prettiness any day. Plus, those $5 totes from Wal-Mart are much better for transporting/storage than cardboard boxes. Remember that.
- Cleaning Supplies. The Dollar Tree is your friend! You can find generics for SO MANY name-brand cleaning supplies at the Dollar Tree. (Plus, bleach is bleach anywhere you go.) If you’re sketched out about Dollar Tree (and you shouldn’t be, because it’s one of the greatest places to buy things!), you can always buy off-brand at Wal-Mart or Target, too. Swiffer refills are nearly half the price, and you usually get more of them! (Although buy Swiffer wet wipes at Dollar Tree, because it’s just the better deal all around.) If you compare the active ingredients in cleaning supplies between name and off brands, you’ll find there’s literally no difference between the two.
What are some cheap things you couldn’t live without in your dorm room? What are some things you bought full-price that you wish you’d bought cheaply? What are some thing you bought cheap but wish you’d paid more for better quality? Leave your thoughts in the comments and let me know!