Everything You Need to Know About College Housing

Moving out is hard, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun! However, having the chance to pick out your own pots and pans- or showercurtain might seem more intimidating than exciting.  

When it comes to dorm living conditions, it is fair to expect far less space than what you may be accustomed to right now. However, this list of things are both helpful with saving space and functionality.

In Utah, colleges feature several student housing options. Schools with on-campus housing typically offer apartment, suite style, and traditional housing. Apartment style housing usually features several bedrooms, a living room, kitchen, and one or more private bathrooms. 

Suite style and traditional dorms are slightly different from apartment style, however. Suite styles have one bedroom either shared or private, and a bathroom that is typically split with another suite style room. Traditional dorms are much like the suite style rooms, but they do not have attached bathrooms; students living in these dorms share bathrooms with other residents on their floor. Both of these housing variants do not have private kitchens, but typically have one shared kitchen per floor. Residents living here typically are also required to purchase campus meal plans.

With this in mind, it’s obvious that students living in different conditions must consider their specific needs when moving away to college. While a student living in an apartment style dorm may want to look into kitchen essentials, a student living in a suite style dorm would want to look into compact food prep options.

A good place to start when decking out your new living space is cleaning items. Everyone can benefit from having a clean and healthy space to live in! Cleaning products like sanitizing wipes, lysol, febreeze, and bathroom and kitchen cleaning products (if applicable) are essential to keeping your living space from becoming its own ecosystem. Aside from cleaning products, owning a mini or handheld vacuum is not a bad idea for those living in dorm and apartment style housing.

A secondary part of keeping a clean (home) are organizational tools. Your future roommates will love you for using organizers to keep clutter in your dorm to a minimum! Using pocket bedside organizers, bathroom caddies, and a workspace area like a desk, work wonders when it comes to keeping personal belongings out of the way. 

Unless you’re planning on keeping your Panda Express leftovers out on your desk, having a mini fridge is a must. For those living in dorm style housing, it is super important to keep mini items for food storage and preparation on hand. Many schools have microwaves and mini-fridges available for students to rent, but it can also be helpful to keep other kitchen tools on hand. Owning a brita water filter will save you and your roommates from the (yucky) bacteria on water fountains, and keeping your filter full will make it simple to stay hydrated at all times of the day. Another amenity dorm students could utilize is an electric kettle. If you’re not able to get a microwave, electric kettles are good for making ramen, soup, or chai lattes if your campus Starbucks is “out” of chai.

For those living in apartments, kitchen essentials are going to look a little different. It’s super important to communicate with your roommates and find out what is included in your apartment before making any purchases. Aside from food basics, it’s important to consider which items you use the most within your kitchen. For example, if you can’t remember the last time you ate rice, you shouldn’t worry about finding a great rice cooker, as minute rice can come in clutch if you really need it. One of my personal favorite kitchen accessories right now is my single serve blender. If you like making pancakes, soup, salsa, shakes, or smoothies (obviously), a single serve blender makes food prep and cleanup easy. 

In all cases, it is important to look into which furnishings will be included in your living space. At most colleges, dorms include beds, wardrobes or closet space, and a desk for each resident. Campus apartments are likely to include these furnishings alongside some kitchen amenities and living room furniture, but every campus is different. Many students suggest purchasing a mattress pad, and using twin-xl sheets for supplied beds. Some schools also supply bed risers, which can add extra floor space for students to work with.

As a whole, moving away from home requires a lot of thought. In order to make the most suitable packing list, it’s not a bad idea to consider your current living situation in combination with what will make you most comfortable living somewhere new. As every college is different, be sure to read up on what is and is not permitted in their living spaces, and on which items they recommend students bring to school.

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