high school senior photographer, mother daughter, Sycamore Photographer

Dorm Shopping | 10 Ways To Save Money + Time

Dorm Shopping!

Has your freshmen started their dorm shopping list?


Do you have the freshmen who stuffs their comforter into two milk crates and declares themselves packed?

senior, Harveys-bookstore, senior-photographer, dorm-shopping, dorm-decorating
Dorm decorating underway once again with this oneπŸ’–

Last years move-in was interesting for this first-time freshmen Mom. This year we’re just adding a few things and maybe seeing if we can smuggle in her cat! Just kidding…kinda.

She’s scheduled for move-in in late August and we’re updating some of her wall art + remembering to give a lesson on how to PROPERLY INSTALL A 3M HOOK. I’m still scared to look at her school account to see what I was charged for taking a piece of her dorm wall as an unwanted souvenir.

SMP TIP:: Make sure your 3M picture hanging hooks hold the right weight AND firmly pressed onto the wall before hanging. Otherwise, you two will get a nice piece of the dorm wall to take home with your frames.

Life’s an adventure and we have to experience it all...highs + lows, the excitement + doldrums, classes of 100+, late night food runs & all-day-football fun, and, and and…

Most freshmen have had their orientations this Summer + met their roommates. it’s a good time to ask questions about your dorm room.

Emma’s an orientation leader this year and has a small group of in-coming freshmen that she meets with each week to help them prepare for coming onto campus. Most colleges have resources for parents and new students to ask questions and it’s really helpful when planning what to pack for the semester.

Let’s Start with the SMP Basic 5 List for dorm shopping

This quick list gets your brain spinning in the college dorm life direction + I made it into a PDF so you can print it and take it with you.

OH, but wait, there’s more! {did ya hear my game-show host voice?}

Since you’re in the dorm mindset you NEED to sign up for Sparkle Notes so you automatically get what’s behind

DOOR #2 Karen!

headshots, senior-photographer, surprise, dorm-life

It’s the ultimate college dorm checklist! It will be sent directly to your inbox at the beginning of August!

That’s right Sharon! You don’t have to do anything else after you sign up for Sparkle Notes. {And don’t worry, it only comes once-a-month. I’m here to help you, not annoy youπŸ˜†}

Now, on to the rest of college planning…

10 places + things to help with your dorm shopping::

1/ Online vs in-store shopping

If you have a senior who isn’t into the shopping thing then online saves everyone grief. All you’re asking for is 1-hour of their time. You’ve fed them, changed their diapers, ran their homework to school, and froze through every soccer season! They can give you 1-hour to get some college shopping done.

No, I’m not above a little guilt-tripping to get an hour of time.

2/ Who’s looking to save money?

You can download the Honey chrome extension to search out extra coupons, or the Rakuten app for added coupons + cash back when you’re shopping.

3/ One-stop shopping

If you have a serious NON-SHOPPER in your house you need to have a one + done store. When it comes to shopping for college there are three stores that make the one-stop list for you::

4/ Personalization

They’re moving away from home. Buying pieces that they love or will remind them of home is worth a little extra expense.

I get it, the debit card is red hot getting everything ready to go, but giving in to their favorite shopping spots will help the transition. Red Bubble or Etsy shops make popular teen personalization gear. Red Bubble is not my favorite when it comes to their shipping, but Emma lovvvves that site.

high-school, graduation, college-freshmen
They did it! Seniors to Freshmen again!

5/ First Aid Kit

Buy + put in the suitcase right now! I wrote about this one last year in my 5 College Essentials blog post. Don’t leave home without it!

  • 11×6 plastic container with lid {will fit easily under the bed or up on a shelf}
  • Bottle of Motrin/acetaminophen
  • Thermometer {nothing fancy, just needs to answer, “Do I have a fever?”}
  • Cough drops/sore throat longes
  • Pointed/sharp tweezers {not for your eyebrows, for splinters}
  • Hydrocortisone cream/antibiotic ointment
  • Band-aides, gauze, bandages, alcohol/antiseptic wipes
  • Insurance card – if a visit to immediate care or the hospital is necessary, then having a copy of family’s card on hand saves a lot of hassle {keep this piece in your wallet – not the kit πŸ˜‰ }
  • They are 18 & that means an A-D-U-L-T. Last year I had a power of medical attorney notarized so I could speak to + get information until I could get to the hospital {thankfully it wasn’t needed}

6/ The Dorm Bed/Couch/Chair/Movie Chair/Bean Bag…

Get the idea? The bed will be ALL those things so outfit it well.

  • Good sheets. No polyester {it doesn’t breathe} + highest thread count you can buy
  • Tall pillow for leaning against/make-shift chair
  • 2 bed pillows
  • Mattress protector
  • Comforter set + extra winter blanket {unless your freshmen chose a southern, WARM, college to go to — color me jealous}
  • Bed sheets {these are affordable, + soft – They’re Nicholas approved, and he’s picky}

7/ NASA Central

Not to launch anything, but with all the laptops, iPads, cell phones, speakers… they’re going to need to bring extras to charge it all.

When we were touring campus’ one thing that HADN’T changed since my college days were the number of outlets in the room.

8/ The Home away from home

Remember to pack pieces that bring SMILE.

This is a big transition and I know your new freshmen is more than ready to start their new chapter, there will be days when they miss home. Having a few pieces will help on those days. Favorite photos of the family, high school friend memories, Last year Emma took a few of her favorite books, some framed musical playbills for her walls, and her oversized pillow that she’s had forever.

9/ Build credit – Spend Responsibly

If they haven’t had a credit card before now’s the time to start. Discover card offers a student account. If you’re with a credit union they usually allow one too. Whether you give it to them for emergency use only or have them start budgeting their finances to build their credit score it extends some fiscal responsibility.

10/ Laundry

I don’t talk about this one much because I was the least responsible college student when it came to laundry {or cooking}. But we learn from our mistakes right?

And what I’ve learned is I don’t want Emma saving up all her laundry to bring home for me to wash on her visits.

Find out what their laundry set-up is and be sure to have them well stocked::

  • Look up the nearest Target or Walmart for supply runs
  • Which will be easiest for them to get back-n-forth:: Laundry basket, hamper, or bag
  • Do they need quarters or is laundry included in their fees
  • Stock them with laundry soap, stain remover + fabric softener

There ya have it! This list should keep you hopping until I’ve revised my

Ullllltiiiiimate College Dorm Checklist

Happy dorm shopping!

andrea, signature, shining-moments-photography

πŸ’– High School Senior Photographer

P.S. The Ultimate College Dorm Checklist goes out to Sparkle Notes the first week in August.


Modern High School Senior Portraits + Headshot Photographer serving Dekalb County and Kane County


3 Local Boutiques for women’s spring fashion

3 Local Boutiques for women’s spring fashion

Women's Spring fashions are in the shops! Even-though our temperatures haven't gotten the word that it's Spring yet, it's on the way. This week I ventured out in my parka to see three cute local boutiques + pop in to see what they have to help us shed our sweaters and...

Staycation Chicago | Spring Break Places to go

Staycation Chicago | Spring Break Places to go

Staycation Chicago + Sycamore and DeKalb to visit on your spring break week. Staying in or out-and-about for Spring Break? Stay in and binge watch - I have a good and fashionable one to watch. If you're itching to get out now that all the snow has vanished from our...



Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.