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A Neurotic Mother’s List Of Dorm Room Essentials

...For when a pair of scissors and pack of pens just won’t cut it.

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I recently found the college checklist that my endearingly neurotic mother made for me, her first to leave the nest, when I headed East for college. When she handed me that neatly printed spreadsheet, I looked at her in disbelief. But four years later, better experienced and a bit more detail-oriented myself, I now understand the reasons for the 300 "must-haves" on my mom's shopping list.

Here are 17 things you didn't know you needed for your college dorm room:

1. Desk lamp, floor lamp, bedside lamp

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So mom said, “Let there be light.” Florescent dorm room lighting will make you feel sad and look gray. To avoid this problem, stock up on lamps with a warm glow – they’ll last you all four years.

2. Rubber Cement, Krazy Glue, Elmer's Glue, glue sticks

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You will inevitably have to do an art project at some point, whether it’s for a visual art class or a presentation for Business 101 – the right adhesive for the right purpose could mean the difference between an A+ or a B.

3. Mounting tape, duct tape, tape gun

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Chances are you’ll be fined for creating holes in your dorm walls, or those walls will be made of prison-like bricks or concrete. Either way, you will need several different adhesive options (trial and error, the more the merrier) to hang all those selfies with your BFF/pet/family members. (The packing tape is for making the returns resulting from the severe online shopping addiction that so often develops during finals period.)

4. Windex, 409, Clorox wipes

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Your room will inevitably become infected by the various germs floating around campus. Or, you’ll throw up at some point and create those germs yourself. Either way, you’ll need a plethora of cleaning supplies to layer over top of each other.

5. Fans, fans, all types of fans

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A fan for your desk, for your window, for your floor, for your bedside. Most dorms don’t have AC (or good circulation period). Sleep is a valuable commodity; don’t waste it by chintzing on the fans.

6. Area rug, rug for shower, rug for toilet, rug for bedside

Who knows what strange creatures lurk in those dorm room carpets? If you’re lucky enough to have linoleum or hardwood floors, you’ll find that they flaunt a perpetual film of dust and dirt. Realistically you won’t vacuum, so just buy lots of rugs. Problem solved.

Area rug from Target.

7. Sharpies (fine and medium)

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Mom: “Just think about how bad it would be if, you needed a fine line Sharpie, but had only a Bold?”

Don’t ask, just do.

Good for drawing animals, and on your face, and stuff...

8. Labelling tape for organizing and mental health

Tiny, neat labels on everything – folders, drawers, appliances – allow you to pretend (even to yourself) that you are totally organized, when, in fact, you are not.

DYMO LabelManager on Amazon.

9. Pharmacy drawer

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This should include Motrin, Tylenol, hydrogen peroxide, a thermometer, Polysporin, Bandaids, Pepto-Bismol, and prescription-strength hydrocortisone. You WILL get sick; why not save yourself the additional drag of having to make an unexpected trip to your local drugstore?

10. Extra throw pillows

It seems gratuitous to have more than two pillows when you won’t be hosting a slew of people who actually care about your bed décor, but added pillows make your bed seem cozier, and are great back support when you’re up late writing papers in bed.

Chevron throw pillows from Pottery Barn.

11. Ziploc bags & Tupperware

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Both are great for storing leftover food, as well as smuggling fruits and the like out of your dining hall. Other uses include: organizing desk supplies, holding quarters for laundry, or impromptu picnics.

12. Two sharp knives (1 straight, 1 serrated)

For cooking, carving a pumpkin, opening a box, removing those mysteriously strong plastic zip-ties that come on everything, and fending off intruders. That last one is a joke… sort of.

Knife set from Bed Bath & Beyond.

13. Flashlight and batteries

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As most dorms have generators, you won’t likely have to worry about a power outage, but flashlights are great for getting dressed (or undressed) in the dark while your roommate sleeps, locating your belongings when they roll into the abyss under your bed, and "for diagnosing yourself with strep throat," says mom.

14. Febreze or an aroma diffuser

Dorms smell, even if you clean them every once in awhile. Choose a scent that both you and your roommate(s) agree upon, and you’ll never wake up to the scent of urfeemit (urine + feet + vomit) again.

Eden & Pear Diffuser from Bloomingdale's.

15. Playing cards & board games

There will be nights when you don’t feel like going out to dA cLuBz, but still want to be social. Never underestimate the beauty of game night, including how happy it will make your parents that you weren’t out drinking. Yet again.

Crowd favorite: Cards Against Humanity.

17. Pictures of your family!!!

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Nobody is too cool to display family photos – and almost everyone misses their family when they leave home, even four years in. Those photos make for great conversation starters. You want to hear about my mom? Well, let me tell you…

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