College is an interesting and excited time for most people — here are 10+ products that make college living a little easier!
College was such a fun time for me — I’ve mentioned this several times on Clarks Condensed, and I can’t help but think often about what an enjoyable time in my life that was. Sometimes I even wish I was still going to school! I graduated over a year ago, but I think I still have a few good tips up my sleeve that help make college life easier.
I think I brought way too much stuff with me to college (I mean, did I really need my high school yearbooks and binders from my 9th grade Spanish class. No. No I did not.) However, by the time I finished living in student housing, I think I discovered several items and products that I found particularly helpful for college living. Whether you are a college student yourself, or you’re helping someone prepare to go to college, or you’re even just wanting to put together a care package for a loved one, here are 10 products that make college living a bit easier! (I did leave off some things, like a laptop and printer, because I feel like those are pretty obvious!)
You can seriously buy a sewing kit at the Dollar Tree. While I’d recommend getting something a bit nicer (this one is less than $7 dollars) , you really just need to have a needle and thread to fix buttons that fall off, make small repairs from tears on outfits, etc. You could always bank on having a roommate that would be willing to help you, but hey, having sewing skills is a good idea!
I think this one goes without saying. Stock up on toilet paper! Even if you split the job of purchasing it with roommates, it’s always good to have a little extra on hand, for when someone forgets when it’s their turn! If you have Amazon Prime (which, as a college student, you can sign up here for a free trial, and then at a discounted rate), you can get some killer deals on toilet paper, especially when you use Subscribe & Save!
Maybe you’ll be blessed with roommates who don’t care if you blast music all the time, or if you watch a movie on your laptop in the middle of the night. However, you might not be, so invest in some headphones. I think having headphones is not only considerate for other people, but nice for you when you just need some time to yourself. I often listened to music as I walked to class, and occasionally would catch up on some of my favorite shows while I was in the library, so I always had headphones with me!
On the flip side, you may be the one who has a roommate who likes to blast music all the time, or who just wants to stay up with their friends until all hours! Ear plugs are great for situations like that.
Cleaning checks are the worst. And I wasn’t very good at them. Heck, I’m still not great at cleaning (even though I’ve tried out some speed cleaning techniques with success!) So, any shortcuts I could take, I definitely took. One of those shortcuts was always having Clorox Wipes on hand. These are so helpful for getting something to look clean quicker and to help make cleaning up messes easier. I think any college dorm or apartment should have a good supply of Clorox Disinfectant Wipes on hand, especially in the winter. They kill 99.9% of viruses and bacteria (including cold and flu viruses, E. Coli, Salmonella, Staph, and Strep) , which is important when you can’t miss class, and because of its clear-drying formula, it works on a variety of surfaces. So, you can use them in the bathroom, in the kitchen, in your bedroom, or even in your car!
Doing laundry in college really isn’t that fun, especially if you don’t have a washer and dryer in your apartment. I have many memories of sitting for hours in the laundry room, doing homework, and hoping my laundry would get done a little quicker that day. Laundry detergent is expensive, as well, which makes it even less fun to do. I think making laundry detergent is a cost efficient thing to do, but if you aren’t really a DIY-er, I’m a big fan of Arm & Hammer laundry detergent. You should also definitely have a good spray stain remover and maybe even a Tide-to-Go Pen. I used those all the time! Popup laundry baskets are also useful!
All in all, don’t be one of those people who buy new clothes to avoid doing laundry!
I’ll admit it — I’m a big water snob. The only tap water I really enjoy drinking is in Colorado. I’ve never been a big fan of Utah tap water for some reason! Anyways, during my sophomore year, one of my roommates brought a Brita Water Pitcher, and it was really the best thing ever. I loved having cold, filtered water ready to go at all times. If you have a refrigerator, these are worth getting. They are big enough to hold 10 cups of water, reduce chlorine, zinc, copper, mercury and cadmium taste (which is very common in tap water), and one filter can replace 300 standard 16.9 ounce water bottles!
Forrest and I had one since we got married, until just a few months ago when we started receiving water from a water delivery system, which has been awesome.
In my dorm freshman year, we were enclosed in an apartment whose walls were cement blocks. It got freezing during the winter. We had heating, but it still got way too cold to be comfortable (and not get sick!) One of my roommates and I bought a small space heater for our room, and it made being in our apartment way better.
This may be an unpopular opinion, but if you are in college and you don’t have basic cooking skills, then you need to develop them now! Cooking really doesn’t have to be the hard, either. I highly recommend buying an inexpensive cookbook with fast and easy recipes, such as this $5 a Meal College Cookbook, or consulting our most popular post EVER on easy recipes for college students. It is less expensive to make your own meals, and when you learn the basics of cooking, it can be very easy. Plus, you really don’t want to live on Top Ramen and hot dogs for years and years.
If you are making a care package for your college student (which I recommend doing — it’s so fun to get mail!), sending non-perishable items, such as spaghetti noodles, spaghetti sauce, cans of chicken, etc., are always great items to include.
Here are a few other great cookbooks for college students:
Basic Cooking Supplies
When Jack goes to college someday (assuming he lives in a dorm with a kitchen, like Forrest and I both did), you better believe he will arrive with a variety of basic cooking supplies, so he at least has the tools to make his own meals. Unless you are going to culinary school, you really don’t need a time of cooking supplies — and I recommend coordinating with roommates so you don’t end up with five George Foreman Grills (here’s a great list of what you need for college). Here are a few items I would recommend:
A good quality skillet (I’m always a big fan of cast iron skillets)
If you are living in a dorm and don’t have your own bathroom, this is really important! Even if you live in an apartment, having a little shower caddy to store all your bathroom toiletries makes things a little less cluttered.
Smart Phone or Tablet
Okay, it isn’t necessary to have one of these items(which is why I put this as a bonus), but I think having a tablet or a smart phone is becoming increasingly more useful while you are in college. Awhile ago, I wrote a post about the best mobile apps for students, and the number of apps that are useful for college students are increasingly rapidly. You can get your textbooks in mobile phone, which you can access on a tablet or eReader. There are tons of money-making apps out there to help you make a little extra money. While these items can be a huge time suck, they definitely can be very useful for college students today.