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HALL MONITOR: Dorm life begins with Rubbermaid.

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Dorm Solutions
Dorm Troopers
Getting settled into residence at school takes real class

Settling into college can be as hectic as it is exciting. Good organizational habits are the key to managing the move—and to dorm life. Here are some tips for students to make the transition from the family home to student residence as simple and stress-free as possible. (If this is your son or daughter, you may want to print this page for them or forward the link!)

Don’t wait until August to get started. Plan ahead to minimize surprises.

Don’t forget to:

  • Get in touch with your future roommate (if possible) to discuss bed location preferences, arrival times and move-in dates (to avoid overlap), setting up phone service, and whether you should share a TV, printer, mini-fridge or microwave (and who’s bringing what).
  • Read your residence information package and attend an orientation session.
  • Make arrangements for car or bicycle parking.

Student housing is far from spacious, so be prepared to pare back on your belongings. You’ll feel more organized and productive in a room that isn’t bursting at the seams.

What to bring:

  • Computer, cable lock and networking cables suggested by campus
  • Jacket, parka, plus rain gear
  • Basic everyday clothing
  • Shoes, flip-flops (for the shower) and boots
  • Bathrobe and pajamas
  • Towels
  • Bedding (plus mattress pad and own pillow)
  • Clock radio
  • Laundry hamper
  • Your bicycle or skateboard

What to leave at home:

  • Your car, if possible (you can cut costs and improve your health by cycling or rollerblading)
  • Unapproved appliances
  • Your extended wardrobe
  • All but your essential sporting equipment
  • Valuables


Rubbermaid Roughneck totes, the most durable line of containers, are ideal for actually making the move. They provide the strongest protection for your belongings (even if they should accidentally tumble down the dorm stairs) and they last a lifetime.

Utilize space under beds with Rubbermaid clear underbed storage containers. They’re ideal for out-of-season clothes, sports equipment, and other necessities.

Clear storage containers come in a variety of sizes and stack well to maximize space. Try using shoebox-size containers for storing extra school supplies, utensils, pictures, memorabilia, and toiletries. Medium clear containers are great for stacking in closets, and their transparency enables you to easily find what you’re looking for.

Minimize the amount of stuff you leave in your room. Recycle magazines by leaving them in common areas when you are done reading them, donate clothing you aren’t wearing anymore, and keep just the minimum of space-hogging outerwear each season. Transfer your CDs to digital files.

Next, throw your essentials into “buckets” for each purpose. Here are two popular ones:

Keep packages of non-perishable snacks in a lidded bin such as a Clever Store Clear Box to prevent attracting pests.

Carry your bath essentials with you in a Flex N Carry Mini Basket that can hold toiletries as well as a bath towel with ease.

TIP: If baskets are the hot trend in your student housing, be sure to identify yours with a DYMO label maker to avoid confusion.