What to Ask Before Going College Dorm Room Shopping

Hey yall!

I know we are all getting antsy for college to get here already and everyone wants to get out there and start shopping for the big day, but don’t get ahead of yourself. Parents: stop, take a deep breath, make a snack and sit down with your soon to be college student and take a trip to your schools Student Housing website to see what information you can get from there on the hall and room they will soon be moving into. Look at a map of the area and see what is available to your children while they are on campus.

My Drifting Desk | Conquer College. What to Ask Before Going Dorm Room Shopping

Ask Yourself

  1. Check to see if the room dimensions are available online so you know how much space you are working with when buying bigger items.
  2. What kind of closet/wardrobe space is available? How much hanger space? Are there cubbies/shelves? Is there floor space in the closet for tubs or a shoe rack? Will I need to bring additional clothing storage?
  3. Are the beds loftable? Bunked? Traditional?
  4. What exactly comes in the room? Microwave? Mini Fridge? Trash cans? Mirror? Desk & chair? A dresser? If something doesn’t come with the room can you rent it from the university?
  5. Is there a bookcase or a desk hutch provided for extra school supply storage space? Will you need to bring your own storage solutions?
  6. How many roommates with you have if any? Will you be coordinating on decor and colors with them? Will you be splitting some of the purchases for the room with each other?
  7. Is there a printer in the resident hall that is available for you to use? One close by? Will you have to provide your own printer?
  8. Does the resident hall have AC? Heat?
  9. Will you be bringing valuable things that will require a lockbox or safe?
  10. Are there restrictions on decorations that are allowed? (no nailing, no lights, no extension cords, etc.)
  11. Does the windows have blinds/curtains or do they need to be provided?
  12. Will you have your own bathroom? If so, are you sharing it with any roommates? Or will the bathroom be communal? If they are communal will you want a robe/wrap to walk back to your room with?
  13. Will you be able to store bathroom items in the bathroom or will they need to be transported back and forth? Will you need shower shoes?
  14. Are there any appliances prohibited by the school for fire or other hazards? (space heaters, heated blankets, toaster ovens, etc.)
  15. Is the floor carpeted or will you want to purchase a rug? What is the square footage for the best rug size?
  16. Is there furniture already provided in the common room or will the students be required to provide it (i.e. chairs, couch, stand, end table, etc.)?
  17. Are there kitchen facilities in the resident hall? Are you able to rent kitchen supplies from the front desk or do you have to provide your own?
  18. Are there laundry facilities in the resident hall?
  19. Are there cleaning supplies such as vacuums and brooms available to rent out or will you have to provide your own?
  20. What kind of cleaning are the students required to do themselves and will they need their own supplies?

Aside from those questions also think about shopping, move in day itself, and after you get settled in by asking yourself:

  1. What stores have student discounts that you could shop at and save money on things?
  2. Can you shop online at stores that are also around your university so that you can get those items shipped to that store and pick them up once you get there?-this saves car space if you are limited or traveling by plane.
  3. Is there a convenient store (CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid, Dollar Store, etc.) nearby you can shop at throughout the year or should you bring extra toiletry supplies to last?
  4. Will you have access to a car on campus? Will you need a parking pass? If you have a car are you able to go out and shop for more things once you get to your university?-this way you don’t have to purchase everything before you get there.
  5. Is there an elevator in your building to help move in? If not what are some ways you can pack your things to make them easier to carry up the stairs if need be?


Before you go out and spend a lot of money ask yourself and your university these questions to see if the item in question is even needed or allowed. You don’t want to find out the dorm already provides you with a mini fridge but you just went out and bought a $300 one that you already opened and can’t return now! Also collaborate with your roommate to see if they can buy the mini fridge if you get the microwave or she will bring the TV stand if you bring the TV. Plan ahead and talk to your roommate so you both don’t bring the same thing and you end up having doubles of everything with no room to put all of it.

You May Also Like: How to Budget Your College Shopping List


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