Transitioning from dorm life to your own space: All the home essentials you will need



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A roll of toilet paper sits on a wall Sept. 23 in University East Apartments. Alex Deryn

Transitions can be tough. Going from living in a dorm to an apartment or house off-campus is a huge change in a person’s life.

Leaving dorm life symbolizes a new beginning, and chances are you’re probably sick of communal bathrooms, quiet hours, RA’s, floor meetings and those annoying people a few doors down. 

You’re ready to have your own place and finally, your own room. But there are some things that you’ll need to be ready to move into your new apartment or house. 

This year was IU sophomore Bri Rayman’s first time living in an apartment.

“Honestly, the best part about living in an apartment is that you can make it more of a home," Rayman said. "You can make it your own, personalize it, and have it actually feel like your own space. There’s a lot more you have to remember when shopping for an apartment because it’s bigger. You have a kitchen to stock, your room and the living/dining room.”

Living in a dorm provides you with things you probably don’t have already. But don’t worry, this list may help! 

The first category of items is bedroom essentials:

  • Mattress and bedframe (I recommend going with a “bed in a box” for easy transportation, and mine is the most comfortable bed I have ever slept on.) 

  • Bedding and pillows 

  • Dresser

  • Bedside table 

  • Laundry hamper 

  • Desk and chair 

  • School supplies 

  • Clothes, hangers, shoes

  • Storage solutions 

  • Curtains or blinds 

  • Room decorations 

The next category is kitchen supplies (and there’s a lot):

  • Pots and pans 

  • Plates, cups, bowls

  • Dish drying rack

  • Aluminum foil and parchment paper

  • Silverware (Don’t use plastic, just wash your dishes!) and silverware organizer 

  • Napkins, paper towels, paper towel holder

  • Cooking utensils 

  • Measuring cups 

  • Dish towels

  • Oven mitts 

  • Oven trays

  • Coffee maker

  • Microwave (If it doesn’t come included.) 

  • Toaster

  • Blender 

  • Tupperware 

  • Plastic baggies 

  • Dish soap and sponge 

  • Chip clips 

  • Salt/pepper shaker and other spices 

  • Pantry essentials like cooking oil, baking soda, sugar, flour

  • Food (Bloomington has great food, but don’t eat out every night. It’s tempting, I know.)

Bathroom supplies are next:

  • Shower curtain 

  • Bathmat

  • Toothbrush holder

  • Soap 

  • Plunger 

  • Toilet bowl cleaner

  • Toilet paper 

  • Trashcan 

  • Towels and washcloths 

  • Storage solutions for toiletries 

Now since you’re not packed into one tiny room, you’ll have a living room to fill: 

  • Couch or futon

  • Recliner or extra seating

  • Dining table and chairs 

  • Coffee table 

  • TV and/or streaming device and TV stand 

  • Decorations or wall art 

Other general items that you will need: 

  • Cleaning supplies 

  • Batteries 

  • Power strips and extension cords 

  • Command strips

  • Toolkit

  • Nails and hooks 

  • Full-length mirror 

  • Vacuum, broom, Swiffer WetJet

  • Duster 

  • Tissues

  • First-aid kit (You never know when you’ll staple your finger. True story, it happened.) 

  • Iron and ironing board 

  • Umbrella 

  • Lunch box 

  • Extra lighting 

It’s a long list, yes, but everything is important. Updater has a detailed list of apartment/home musts to help you keep track of everything. If you forget something though, don’t worry. There’s Wal-mart in Bloomington, too. 

So now that you have everything on your checklist, it’s time to start packing and planning for move-in. Getting a U-Haul is the way to go. It’s the simplest way to move all your things. U-Haul offers different sizes of trucks, from vans to 26-foot moving trucks. For an apartment, the 10-foot truck will most likely get the job done in one load. It might be a little more expensive, but it will save you a ton of stress. You won’t have to take two cars or make more than one trip. 

As you can see, there are a ton of supplies and living essentials you are going to need for your new place. After you’re all moved in, it’s up to you to master living on your own. 

Managing your finances and learning how to live on a budget is tough. Shopping for groceries, cooking, paying rent on time and cleaning are your responsibilities now. 

This new place will quickly become your home as you immerse yourself in the great city of Bloomington. Welcome to adulthood and living on your own!

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