Cropped shot of three happy students talking on the street

The move from high school to college often means that a young person must become, again, a small fish in a bigger pond. While this is the best way for them to grow, it can be challenging and may leave them feeling a bit lost. Make sure they go off to college with the right gear to make their living space a home.

Make Maintenance Easy

College dorms and first apartments aren’t always the tidiest places, but you can make things easier with a maintenance basket. In a large laundry basket, include

  • an all purpose spray cleaner for all surfaces
  • laundry soap
  • dryer sheets
  • a pre-treatment product for stains
  • carpet spot-cleaner
  • microfiber cleaning cloths
  • dusting cloths
  • disinfecting wipes, and
  • a properly-sized mattress cover

Put a big bow on it and call it a moving-in kit, if you like. Make it simple for your teen, who may be in charge of their own home for the very first time, to keep their space clean. As your teen will probably have food in their room, make sure they have at least one plastic bin with a tight-fitting lid to reduce the risk of pests in their space.

Organize for Effective Studying

Help your teen set up their desk and study area so it is easy to keep things organized. There is really no better way to build a positive relationship with a roommate than to not be a slob, and if they choose to be, they may learn from your example of your teen. Invest in baskets, pen holders, or whatever else your teen needs for effective learning. If your teen is a visual learner, make sure there’s a space for taking notes and even a spot on the wall for a poster board or a giant pad of post-its. Your teen will be studying topics that will not only add knowledge, but will change how they think. This ability to stretch the mind will be easier if their space is set up in such a way that their personal learning style is fostered.

Customize Their Room

Even a dorm room can be made to feel cozy and comfortable by personalizing it. Invest in self-sticking hooks to make it easy to mount their own posters and pictures to concrete walls. Hang a quilt, a mandala, or buy custom flags to hang as a headboard on a plain dorm bed. Encourage them to hang up their favorite sports team memorabilia or a family photo that they love. This can be a fun way to customize their dorm to make it their own or to give it a homey feel. 

Depending on where your teen is going to school, the climate may be quite a bit colder than they’re used to. Make sure you invest in bedding that will be cozy on cold nights. If your teen has a flag or piece of fabric they can hang on an outside wall, consider putting a fleece panel behind it to cut down on cold and noise. Be sure to put up a white board or chalk board where your teen can put up reminders and quotes to make their days easier as they settle into their new home and rhythm.

Create a Dream Board

Get a cork board and encourage your teen to create a dream or vision board. When things get tough, your teen can post images of their ultimate goals. Not only will this leave their spirits during finals week, it may get them thinking about how they actually want to structure their life. It can be easy to follow all of the noise of the world and strive for what they should be doing. By starting a dream or vision board early, your teen can truly focus on what inspires them.

Gadgets to Promote Concentration

Your teen may struggle to focus in this new environment, so invest in gadgets and gear that will make that easier. Items as simple as an egg timer can help your teen dig in and focus for short bursts of time. A good set of headphones can cut down on noise. A hotpot or microwave for snacks and hot beverages will keep them in their room and away from socializing during study time.

A dorm room can be the first step in learning to manage a household. Give your teen the right gear and products to make their study time efficient, keep their space clean and make their room a home.