3 College Shopping Hacks

By Amanda Cohen on September 1, 2019

Going back to school is super exciting, but there are a lot of things that you need to do in order to prepare for your best school year yet; particularly, in the shopping department, you probably have a long list of things you need to buy. However, if you aren’t the most organized person or if this is your first year going to college, you may not know what you need when you walk up and down the aisles of Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, Walmart, and so on. Don’t worry, as a college graduate and a current postgraduate student, I’ve mastered the back to college shopping list, or as I like to call it: college shopping 101. So, sit back, relax, and let me do the work for you; read on!

Space-Saving Items

Regardless if you’re living in a dorm room, a house, an apartment, or anywhere else, I can almost promise you that you will not have a ton of space for all of the items that you want to bring with you to school. You may think that you have plenty of bins and that should be enough; but where do you expect to fit all of these bins in your tiny room? One of the best ways to fit more bins and give yourself more hidden storage space is by putting risers under your bed. Risers don’t give you a full loft, but, depending on the height and type of risers you purchase, you can get anywhere from 1-2 feet of extra space for you to keep items under your bed. By doing this, you can purchase stackable bins and/or drawers that can hold your bulkier items (i.e. sweaters, sweatshirts, and sweatpants) so that you aren’t wasting any space. I have attached a couple options for bed lifts:

Image via. https://pixabay.com/photos/clothes-hangers-coat-hangers-582212/

Another great space-saver has to do with your closet. You should look into purchasing hangers that allow you to clip 2-5 extra items on one hanger so that items take up space vertically, but not horizontally along the hanger bar. Some people opt for a hanging space saver with 5-7 cube-shaped compartments, but I don’t think these are as effective organizationally and I don’t think they actually save that much space because that type of hanger usually takes up 4-6 inches of vertically hanging space. I have attached a few options of both types of space-saving closet tools:

Textbook Shopping

I cannot stress this enough: do not purchase your textbooks until after you look over your syllabi and/or until after the first class. Textbooks are EXTREMELY expensive and, oftentimes, professors will have your purchase a textbook that (1) is barely used or (2) that is used often, but they ask you to purchase the newest and most expensive version. Here are some tips for textbook shopping in college:

  • (1) Do not purchase textbooks at the school store; instead, go on websites like Amazon, Textbooks.com, Chegg, and so on to purchase/rent textbooks at a much more reasonable price.
  • (2) Do not purchase the most recent edition of a textbook unless your professor says it’s totally necessary. Usually, the most recent version is more expensive but only has a few minor changes. Purchase the second most recent version and just be aware that page numbers and chapters may not be entirely accurate with your class and/or they are in a different order. Don’t worry, the information will still be the same in all versions of the textbook.
  • (3) If it appears that you will only use a textbook one time, don’t purchase the book nor rent it. Instead, look to see if it is available at your university library and go photocopy the necessary pages if you are reading only a few chapters from the textbook.

Image via. https://pixabay.com/photos/books-education-school-literature-462579/

College Clothing Essentials

There are some obvious clothing items that you need (tops, jeans, undergarments, etc.); however, there may be some not as obvious items that you can’t think of that I can guarantee you will use once you get to school. Here are some items that you definitely need:

  • Tailgating gear: fun clothing boasting your school colors
  • An oversized college sweatshirt: perfect for those Fridays that you aren’t feeling class-ready, but have no choice but to go
  • Costume gear: there are tons of themed events in college (not to mention Halloween is closer than you think), so be sure to stock up on some costume clothing
  • Sneakers that you hate: you will need a pair of sneakers that you won’t care about getting dirty because trust me, they will get disgusting by week two of college; I usually opt for simple white Converse or Adidas
  • “Fracket:” a “frat-jacket” that you can wear to any location and, if you lose it or it gets dirty, you won’t be too upset because you can either wash it easily and/or it wasn’t super expensive

Image via. https://pixabay.com/photos/people-woman-black-and-white-2592299/

So, ladies and gentlemen, I will say one of two things to you: either (1) welcome to college or (2) welcome back. Go kill it whether it is your first year or your last; I hope this article helped you out to relieve some of that stress you’ve surrounded around packing! Good luck!

I am currently a junior at the University of Michigan.

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