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Must-haves for student apartments

Chances are you’ve already got your off-campus housing lined up by now, but as move-in day approaches, you need to do some serious shopping for everything you need to furnish and personalize your student apartment.

Aside from the obvious pieces of furniture (bed, desk, couch, table, etc.), here are some must-have items for student housing:


Storage, storage, storage!

If you’re moving into a student house or rental apartment with roommates, you will want to ensure that everyone has lots of storage. Get some fun plastic drawers, storage boxes and bins so that everyone has equal storage in the main living areas of the rental. You can also add some shelves and under-the-bed storage bins to your room to optimize your personal space.

Basic set of tools

When you live at home with your family or even in an on-campus dorm, many small repairs are taken care of. However, when you move into off-campus student housing you will be more responsible for assembling your own furniture and taking care of minor maintenance. Get a basic set of tools with screwdrivers, a hammer, a tape measure, pliers and the like so that you’re ready when you need to fix or take something apart. Obviously, the building manager will be responsible for major repairs, but you should be prepared for day-to-day issues.

Damage-free hooks

Unlike renting an apartment on a long-term lease, student housing usually covers the school year (less than one calendar year). When you’re going to live someplace for under a year, you probably don’t want to make any semi-permanent changes to space. Painting and putting nails in the walls aren’t worth it, as you will have to repaint and fill holes before moving out.

You can still have wall art to personalize your apartment, but hang it using damage-free hooks. This way you can still make your place feel like home, even when it’s temporary.

Task lighting

The reason you’re probably moving into a student house or apartment is because you’re a student. As a college or university student, you will have to do a lot of reading and studying. If you’re burning the midnight oil, prevent eye strain by having lamps on desks and tables. It’s also helpful when you live with other people who are on different schedules, as bright, overhead lights can be blinding for those trying to sleep.

Microwave-safe cookware and dishes

If you’re a rookie in the kitchen, get some basic cookware, dishes and cutlery to get you started. When you’re on a student budget there will be a lot of microwaving and eating leftovers in your future. Macaroni and cheese will be a regular on your menu!

Get some affordable microwave-safe cookware and dishes to work well with your student lifestyle.

Message boards and corkboards

Do you have roommates? Unless you’re in the same program and classes, you will likely have different schedules. Have a whiteboard in a central locale so that you can leave each other messages. You can also keep a list of chores for each roommate to make communal living easier.

Clothes drying rack

Save money by hanging clothes to dry on laundry days. Clothes drying racks fold up for easy storage when not in use and can hold a number of items. This is a great way to dry clothes when you don’t have a clothesline and don’t want to pay to use the dryer as often.

Cleaning supplies (not fun, but essential)

Just like you need tools for repairs, you will need cleaning supplies to keep your student apartment neat and tidy. If you have roommates, you can share the expense with them, but collectively you should have a floor cleaner, bathroom cleaner, glass cleaner, all-purpose cleaner and toilet bowl cleaner. You will also need brooms, mops, sponges, scrub brushes and other implements. Also, make sure you have garbage bags and recycling bins for waste removal.

This is just a taste of some of the items you will need for your student apartment. There will, of course, be a lot more things to buy — so start making lists and hitting the back-to-school sales!

If you don’t have a student apartment lined up yet, check  to find a last-minute rental near your school!