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Hayleigh Syens is a Drake University student on a mission to become a blogging sensation.


It’s hard to figure out what you need to have in your dorm room. The list your school sends you is usually incomplete or has silly recommendations like a telephone to plug into the phone jack (who even uses landlines anymore?). As a second-year dormitory dweller (so basically an expert), I’ve created a list of things you didn’t realize were actually absolute necessities in any great dorm room.

1. VCR

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We have a DVD/VCR combo in my dorm room this year and it rocks. I can watch Mary Kate and Ashley movies and the recorded Disney Channel movies that my roommate has. Some of my childhood favorites (Pokemon movie, Space Jam) aren’t on Netflix yet and I never got around to upgrading to the DVD version. Now I don’t have to.

2. Ironing Board

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I know that this one shows up on school lists and that a lot of people will tell you that it’s ridiculous and that you don’t need one. I thought the same thing my freshman year until I realized how dang wrinkly everything I own gets when I forget it in the dryer for hours (which I still do almost every time I do laundry). You’ll probably have to look nice for something at some point in your college career, and a wrinkly shirt or wrinkly pants will make you look frumpy. Ironing boards don’t take up that much room when they’re folded up. Don’t forget the iron, too!

3. Bookshelf

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A tall one won’t take up much space and it will help keep everything organized. You can use it for textbooks or DVDs or books to read in your free time (if you’re lucky enough to have some). Piling everything under your bed or desk is an easy way to lose something. Being able to see everything makes picking a movie to watch or finding the book you need for class really easy. You can always use some of the shelves for food storage if you don’t have that many books or movies.

4. Community Dry-Erase Calendar

Credit: Corkboard

This is especially important if you have multiple roommates. You can record important things that are happening for everyone so you know what’s going on in everyone’s lives without having to keep asking. My roommate also likes to label weird national holidays or draw little pictures on ours (see that beautiful turkey sketch?), so it can provide some smiles when everyone is feeling super-stressed.

5. CANDY DRAWER

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This one is really important. We have a drawer in my dorm room dedicated just to candy. Having a bad day? Candy drawer. Feel bad about a test? Candy drawer. Stressed about a group project? Candy drawer. Hungry/bored? Candy drawer. It solves almost all problems in a delicious way and keeps everyone in the room sane. Keeping snack-sized candy bars can help satisfy a sweet tooth quickly and will probably save you some of calories you would have gained by downing a pint of Ben and Jerry’s instead. Try and find deals on candy right after Halloween or Valentine’s Day (or sometimes even Christmas) in order to keep your drawer fully stocked on a budget.

What other things are must-haves in your dorm room?