Deck out that dorm
College students are starting to count down the days until they head back to campus. Even freshmen know the basics they'll need in a college dorm — bedding to fit your style, bathroom supplies and a caddy to get them to the showers, maybe a little refrigerator and something to organize that desk for all that late night studying.
There's so much gear out there, it can be a little overwhelming. So we've done a little searching for you and found some more unusual items you might want to check out.
A little privacy, please
Dorm rooms usually mean shared living spaces, often with strangers (until you all become besties). Bed Bath & Beyond offers a little getaway with the Privacy Pop XL Twin Bed Tent. It's $130 and comes in a variety of colors.
Storage made easy
If your bed is not already raised, risers are a must, so you can store luggage, shoes and less-used clothing out of sight. Airtight vacuum storage bags will help protect seasonal clothing from dust, moths and odors.
• Ikea's rattan underbed storage box (Romskog) has a unique look since it's made of braided rattan — a natural material which, together with the cotton-lined interior, keeps the contents fresh since air can circulate. $50
• If under the bed isn't an option, and drawer space is limited, lattice storage bins ($9.99-$24.99, containerstore.com) and taupe rowan storage bins ($9.99-$17.99, containerstore.com) are an easy and stylish way to stow T-shirts and accessories on top of shelves or bookcases.
• Ikea's valet stand has four hooks in different sizes to hang clothes and hangers on. At the top there's also a tray for watches, jewelry and mobile phones. It can be mounted at three different heights and moves around easily on casters. $24.99
• Many dorms have bunk beds or raised beds with desks underneath. This creates a challenge of where to put your phone, glasses, iPad, etc., when you're ready to go to sleep. There are several bedside caddies out there, but we like the one from the Container Store, because it seems a little sturdier than most. $14.99
• Other space-saving solutions include a portable stainless-steel rolling rack for garments; over-the-door hanging organizers for purses and scarves; and pin boards with hooks for jewelry.
Must have coffee
The new Keurig K-Compact Coffee Maker is perfect for small spaces, with a slim removable reservoir brewer that brews three cups of coffee in under one minute. It's only available at Walmart. $59
Keep it quiet
Let's face it, there's bound to be some noise in a crowded dormitory. The BST-100 Bluetooth Sleep Sound Therapy System from soundoasis.com creates white noise to help you concentrate or sleep. It also won't take up a lot of space and it's also a Bluetooth speaker. $59.99
Show your pride
Glasses from the uncommongreen.com comes with an etched map of your college town. They come several sizes. Glasses for most of the bigger colleges, such as Penn State, WVU and Pitt, are readily available. But if you don't see your alma mater, they'll make it for you. $28 for set of two pint glasses
Take a seat
• You'll doubtless be spending plenty of time bent over a desk. Ikea's Nilserik standing support helps you stay in an active sitting position, which improves your posture. You can adjust the height and tilt and swivel it to your perfect sitting position. $49.99
• If you want to be a bit more relaxed, check out the Casper Lounger from Target. It lays flat for naps, props up for relaxing, and folds into a seat for studying. $120
• If flip-flops are your footwear of choice, the PerfectCurve Flip-Flop Rack from the Container Store could help keep your closet neat. $9.99
• The Joy Mangano May Little Steamer from Bed Bath & Beyond will help keep you looking neat without having a big ironing board to store. $19.99
• Do your laundry with a little flair, using the Vanderbilt Home Ruffle Laundry Bag from Bed Bath & Beyond. $12.99
Get it all
Want to make shopping easy? There are companies that will put together the perfect dorm room package for you.
• Roomify.com offers three packages: The most basic (mostly bedding and towels plus a much-needed clip-on fan) costs $179, a mid-range level is $235 (with added items including a shower caddy, flip flops, plastic dishes and a set of utensils) and a deluxe level is $299 (whose additions include a bulletin/whiteboard, computer speakers and a first aid kit). Buyers specify the package as well as color and pattern preference (there are 10 schemes to choose from). The company offers free delivery for orders over $95.
• The Container Store has a College Starter Kit, on sale now for $481.15, that includes: a wood stackable folding bookshelf, acrylic makeup organizer, closet rod expander, fridge cart, bunk bed organizer, canvas laundry bag, shower tote, 40 Huggable hangers, four clear stacking drawers, four clear underbed drawers and six medium Command Hooks.