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Top 10 Dorm Room Must-Haves

dorm room mustsDeciding what to pack for college can be a headache. You'll want to bring every item you'll need to live on your own for the next several months, but how you'll manage to fit it all into an area not much bigger than a walk-in closet is the ultimate dilemma.

"We advise students not to bring everything that they own, but travel with as little as possible and then buy what they need up here. They'll want to see what their roommate has, too," says Jimmy Moore, assistant area coordinator for the University of Central Florida's Apollo Community.

In many cases, students have access to a computer, microwave, and television in their building, so these popular items are not a necessity. Other items might be too difficult to pack for college, like your bed. Andrew Reshefsky, a student at Longwood College, Farmville, VA, says he misses his bed from home the most, since dorm room beds are too tiny. Unfortunately, with limited space, this is one luxury he had to leave behind.

So what do you absolutely need to pack for college? For befuddled freshmen, here's a top 10 list of dorm room must-haves:

1. Alarm-clock radio/CD player
With limited space, every item counts. In most dorms, you won't be able to play a large stereo loud, so this smaller unit works perfectly. If you can find a unit with a telephone, you'll have fewer items to move.

2. Toolbox with tools
You won't be able to borrow dad's tool kit when you're away from home. Your toolbox should contain all of the essentials to survive dorm life -- a regular and Phillips-head screwdriver, hammer, nails, screws, ruler, tape, glue, and wrench.

3. Dishes for two
Even if you have a meal plan, you'll want to have dishes in your room for everything from snacks to take-out. Remember forks, knives, spoons, plates, bowls, cups (plastic, so they don't break), and mugs. And, most important, don't forget the can opener for meals on the go.

4. Sheets and towels
Remember to check with the housing office for the correct sheet size, and always include a pillow.

5. Laundry hamper
In addition to storing dirty clothes, a hamper can double as a laundry basket, storage space, or as an impromptu end table.

6. Dry-erase board or corkboard
"A corkboard allows you to post important information, from telephone numbers of significant others to addresses to when school assignments are due," advises sophomore Matthew Kerns of Christopher Newport University, Newport News, VA.

7. Plastic storage
As corny as it may sound, large Tupperware containers will come in handy. They're easy to stack in the room, or flat enough to slide underneath the bed, and you can use 'em to store loose clothes, towels, books, etc. You will be on your way to a neater, more organized dorm room if you include these on your pack for college list.

8. Power strip
As Katherine A. Hirsch, a junior at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, says, "The number of power sockets for a computer alone is enough to need a power strip. If you plan to bring a lot of electronic devices you'll need another one too, since power sockets are not provided in bulk."

9. Fan
Even if your dorm room has air conditioning, it may not be reliable. A window fan is always a good backup.

10. Photographs and mementos from home
OK, you could survive without photographs, stuffed animals, and knick knacks, but reminders of home can help cure the first-year blahs suffered by most freshmen.

Most colleges have a recommended packing list for freshmen that includes restrictions of what items are not permitted in campus housing. Get a hold of one -- it can help you pack light, and pack right.