Friday, January 16, 2015

A College Packing List for UNC Wilmington

This post was updated April 2016.

I finally got him sent off to UNC Wilmington on January 7th. I haven't shed a tear because he waited that extra semester, (being a First Year Spring Admit), and I enjoyed having him at home for one semester, especially after a rigorous year of Varsity basketball practices and games his senior year.  Last semester he took some community college courses but there wasn't too much community in community college--being entirely commuter based.  I could see that he missed belonging to a larger group of friends and that yes, it was truly time for him to stretch his 6' wingspan and fly. (I do have a feeling that the first time he comes home for a break or a weekend, I just might realize how much I've missed him and tears will flow.)

Being the kind of mom who truly loves to create personal comfortable niches to nest in wherever I find myself, I spent a lot of time researching College Lists, compiling my own lists, scouring Pinterest, picking items up here and there, erasing items after returning them, and adding newly inspired things over the course of twelve months. Twelve months?!  Yes! I actually began purchasing items throughout his senior year in high school -- long before we had any idea of where he'd be going! In doing so, I think we spent $50 the week we moved him into the dorm -- only grocery supplies, light bulbs and a few odds & ends. After moving him into that 10' x 16' dorm with a hall bath, I can see better what was needed and what wasn't.  What he wanted and didn't want--and he sure did not want anyone to think that he needed much to turn a dorm into home-away-from-home. What I wanted to create and what he envisioned were two very separate things!

Below is a photo of MY idea, compliments of! The next photo, HIS idea. Notice which one I stuck with...HIS idea. And he is right. Less is MORE in that little space.   Will I edit this list after this semester...?  Probably.  ;)

My College List is just an opportunity to learn my mistakes!  As with all lists, you will scratch off or add to your own. There is truly no "Right" or "Wrong" here.  Because each child is different, what they deem as their "essentials" is just as different as well!  Any item that I've mentioned where I purchased it from is simply for my own use -- it means that I hunted around and this was either the best place or best maker, and I want to remember it for my next college student. Follow my UNC Wilmington Parent board on Pinterest if you're interested in more of these ideas.  Like this list?  Here's a handy dandy Printable List.

Update, April 2016.  I sure did edit!  His sophomore year he moved to The Crossings. You can view my list of additions to this sophomore dorm on Pinterest.

A College Checklist        ...via

Expect college mattresses to be firm and covered in heavy grey vinyl, very much UNLIKE home. I recommend purchasing eggshell or foam cushioning for mattresses. Beds also become a place to sit, much like a couch. Pillows aren't just for sleeping, they're also for leaning up against, either on the floor or the wall. I bought him a duvet covered comforter simply so he could remove the duvet to wash it occasionally. I wasn't sure those dorm washing machines could handle an extra long twin comforter.
2 Pillows (2-pack Sertas at Big Lots $13, or Jordrok at Ikea, $12 each.)
1 Toss pillow
2 sets Extra Long (XL) Twin Sheets. One a navy jersey knit from Bed Bath & Beyond, the other, a red Tommy Hilfiger set from Marshall's--truly hard to score when you live in the shadow of Wolfpack Nation! If you purchase bright sheets, wash these several times at home to bleed extra dye out.
1 XL (Extra Long) navy and white Duvet cover + sham set (Linens 'N  Things online, "Bloomingdale" in navy/white, Ikea also has great prices/designs.)
1 XL (Extra Long) polyfill plain white duvet insert (Marshalls, $25, Honbar at Ikea $40.)
1 XL (Extra Long) mattress pad with foam cushion, (marked down 75% at Bed Bath & Beyond)
1 XL (Extra Long) navy fleece blanket (Target)
1 T-Shirt quilt (My mom made from several of his high school t-shirts--really awesome.)

DESK SUPPLIES: In UNCW's Galloway dorms, there is overhead lighting over the entry area where the closet and desk areas are. I hate that kind of lighting, so I recommend bringing a lamp or two of your own.
1 Dell Laptop, bought in association with UNCW (Highly recommend checking with your college.)
Laptop padded carrying sleeve by Case Logic (Amazon) No handles, but easily slips into a backpack.
Wireless Mouse
Graphing Calculator
2 Ikea desk lamps, (One classic (Forsa $20) desk lamp, the other small fully motioned & effective spotlight (Jansjo $10) for studying when roommate is sleeping.)
Hole punch, single punch is easiest to keep in their desk
Pencil Holder (He used a favorite jelly can from his Uganda trip.)
Stapler & staples
3 packs Reinforced Paper
(2) 1.5" Binders
2-3 Highlighters
Post It Notes and Flags, assorted sizes and colors
Tape dispenser, extra tape rolls
Staedtler Pencil handheld sharpener ($5, Staples)
12 Pens
25 Pencils
2-pack Erasers
2-3 Dry Erase Markers (For use on windows in study rooms, white boards, etc.)
5 Subject college-rule Spiral Notebook
Paperclips (Target dollar section)
Permanent Marker
Pack Colored Pencils
Magazine holder (Useful turned to sit on desk in either portrait or landscape position)
25' Ethernet Cable (Walmart $18--$22, needed when the wireless is down.)
Surge Protector with 2 USB connections (BB&B $12 marked down)
2 Extension Cords (Dollar store)
Kitchen-size trash can (I recommend kitchen-size. They won’t have an overflowing trash can to change too often.)
Kitchen trash bags, lavender scented

Tide Detergent Pods (Easily transportable--but hate that they use extra detergent when only a small load is needed. And my son? Not likely to ask his roommate if he wants to add his clothes to a load, like my roommate and I did in college. Remind them not to overstuff the washer. These pods will not fully disintegrate and leave pin dot blue stains.)
Zout Stain Spray
Dryer Sheets
Laundry bag or plastic laundry hamper (Target/Walmart (NOT mesh--those cool looking pop-up bins look cool but don't last very long.)
Safety pins
*Sewing Kit (Ikea, $1)
*Iron (Goodwill $4)
*Ironing Mat (Tuesday Morning, $4, turns a desk into an ironing board.)
*Collapsible Metal Drying Rack (Bed, Bath & Beyond. I found one at Goodwill $3, my son is 6'6" -- he can't dry many things because they will shrink up.)
*Denotes optional or easily borrowed.

Do I think he will spend each weekend cleaning? No. But these items will be useful when flu or a stomach bug hits campus.
2-3 washable microfiber cloths for cleaning (Marshalls, $5 for 12.)
Dollar Store bucket to hold all cleaning supplies (Also useful for throwing up in, soaking sore feet in, using as an ice bucket.)
3-Pack Lysol/Clorox Handi-Wipes (Walmart)
1 Fantastik Scrubbing Bubbles pump spray
Paper towel roll
1 Mrs. Meyers Window Cleaner (For laptop screens, mirrors, windows)
Bissell baglessVacuum, Big Lots $22 (Not especially powerful--Dirt Devil at Roses for $30 in future?)

My son suffers from migraines. He understands how to medicate himself for them and for the nausea that usually follows. College campuses seem to have their own flu, stomach bug and cold/allergy seasons.
Plastic Shoebox with secured lid to hold First Aid Essentials
Ice Bag with screw-on-lid (Revive from Zulily or Marshalls, $4)
*Antibiotic ointment
Digital Thermometer
Sudafed (Sent him with one box of pharmacy-only Sudafed.)
Throat Lozenges
Vitamin C
Bendadryl Bug Bite anti-itch cream
Heat Pad $5, (Found in a box in Walmart pharmaceutical dept. some Food Lions in the care aisle. They're red rubber with a screw on lid, fillable with hot or cold tap water, becomes a cold pack or heat pack.)
6 pack of small Gingerale cans (Walmart)
Container of powdered Gatorade (Especially useful for restoring electrolytes after a bout with stomach bug. Walmart)
8 Personal packets of tissues

(Sort of a catchall list.)
Medium/Large Command Hooks (Target/BBB, Walmart)
Dry Erase Board with marker, small (Target/Walmart)
AA batteries (for calculator & $5 wall clock from Target)
Dormtape or dorm putty, (Essential for hanging posters on walls. I bought a single pack at Bed Bath & Beyond, $1.99)
1-2 Clear 66 qt. bins (For underbed storage of off season clothes, blanket, etc.)
Plastic 4 drawer bin on wheels. (Walmart, $15. Fits perfectly under his bed. All of his food supplies fit neatly in all these drawers.)
Carbiner for clip-on Key Ring (Home Depot, Key Section)

36+ narrow Hangers
Shoe rack, expandable (He wears size 14 shoes. They are like boats. It is essential to stack these in a small space.)
2-3 Towels (Frajen from Ikea -- love that they have sewn in tabs to hang from. I put 2 Command hooks on the wall so he can hang them up and they air dry each day.)
2 Hand towels (Frajen from Ikea, again...the tabs to hang from.)
4 Wash cloths (Frajen from Ikea, again...the tabs to hang from.)
Clear Plastic Bath Caddy with handle for hall bath but also handy for suites (Walmart $2, holds all supplies below.)
Shampoo, Soap, Razors, Shower flip-flops, Deodorant, Toothpaste, Floss, Q-tips, Chapstick, Contact lens solution, Face wash in a pump, Hand lotion.)
Favorite cologne
4 rolls of toilet paper (More for suites...Yes, even hall bathrooms run out of TP on weekends.)

Rainproof jacket with hood for winter, (Columbia jacket from Dicks)
Lightweight Rain Jacket for spring/fall

SUN PROOF: (Seasonal, don't bring it till you need it.)
Aloe vera gel
Beach Towel
Bug Spray

6' x 9' or 8' x 10' Rug check to see if dorm is carpeted (Big Lots, navy $49. Easily vacuumed--really it feels like a step up from indoor/outdoor or sisal. Planning on hosing it down in the driveway this summer, allowing it to dry, and rolling it back up for next fall.)
Fan (Seasonal, Walmart had great looking vintage desk fans last summer. My son said the dorms were too warm occasionally in the *winter* and it was nice to turn one on at night.)
Mini-Fridge (Roommate already had one. They share. Usually, it's empty!)
Microwave (Roommate already had one.)
Small flatscreen TV (Roommate brought a 19" to sit on top of his desk hutch.)
Mirror (I found a framed 11"x14" with the perfect hook to hang from a Command hook for $4 at Goodwill. Might also be handy for a more full length over-the-door mirror.)
Utensils (Either disposable plastic or reusable from Target/Walmart)
Plates (Either disposable or reusable. I found 6 plastic plates for .25 each at Goodwill, too hard to pass up.)
Travel Coffee Mug
Can Opener/bottle opener (Make sure it won't leave razor sharp edges.)
Nalgene Water Bottle wide mouth, 32 oz. (Amazon for $10. Handy for PE class, working out, playing ball, etc. Easy to fill with ice. Nalgene bottles are nearly impossible to destroy.)
*Popcorn Air Popper, (Target, with 2 bottles of sprinkle popcorn seasonings, plastic mixing bowl with lid, all from Target, is also a nice graduation gift.)
2 mugs, different sizes. One for coffee, one lidded for soup. (Both at Big Lots.)
Dufflebag for trips home or away
Posters, Maps, bulletin boards, flags, anything to cover up boring white walls.
*Street sign (No Parking -- Anytime: I found at Home Depot it was a mistaken return, they sold it to me for .99 -- metal, reflective, cool!)
*Photos family & friends, framed or posterized by Staples or Costco.
Small box of tin foil, for saving pizza or cafeteria food
Assorted sizes of ziplock bags, for food storage, etc.
*Beach Cruiser to get across campus quickly on. ($120 at Walmart--he looked for gently used on campus but you have to jump fast on them--you can save about $40 bought that way. Remember bikes for dorm students age quickly because they're out in the weather 24/7 for 9 months. He is at the beach and campus is perfectly flat. Ideal for a bike. Note: Bike rusted pretty well and needed repairs after first year, still going.)
*Bike lock
*Bike Light, flashing, (Target, $1)
*Scent Spots in Lavender from Pier 1. (Originally created for small space usage, like cars, but they seemed to be just the right amount of scent to last about a month in a dorm room. Sadly, they discontinued selling these in January. I ran around to scoop up a few Lavenders and Oceans for $2.48 while they lasted.) May try their gel bead scents.)
*Single panel lined-curtain and 22"-28" tension rod to hang it from. (Room darkening for migraines or sleeping in on weekends.)

*Basketball for outdoor games
*Magnetic or suction cup Dartboard
*Nerf-style basketball hoop to go over door ($7, Target)
*Ikea Articulated (poseable) Wooden Man ($5)

*4 Shelf Unit (Target or Walmart. Everyone seems to have them now! Kallax, Ikea is $60. With or without drawers. Great height for a lamp, or microwave.
Wooden collapsible stool, (Made by him in middle school, spray painted by me before he went to school. Handy to sit on, prop feet on, put pizza boxes on, etc.)

Peanut Butter Breakfast Bars Instant Oatmeal
Costco size jar of pretzels Beef Jerky
Chocolate chips in resealable container
Popcorn Kernels / microwave popcorn
Salt shaker Popcorn Seasoning
Crackers/plain or with cheese/peanut butter
Candy bars Hard candy
Tea bags Homemade Cookies
Instant Coffee Favorites from Trader Joe's
Gift cards for pizza, coffee, fast food off campus, Target etc.

*denotes optional throughout this list