School & Office Supplies

Whether you are planning to live at school or commute, you will need basic office and school supplies. In this section, I have included some basic tips for determining what items you will need for school, purchasing options that has some ideas on where to find the best deals, and a checklist that includes some every day items, basic school supplies, and office equipment.

Before you spend any money, you might want to check with the school first for their recommendations and compare their list to ours to determine what you will need for each semester.

BASIC TIPS

Take an inventory of what you already have at home and put those items in a box or lay them out on the table so that you can easily see what supplies you already own.Print out our checklist (or make one of your own) with the supplies you need to purchase.

Decide what items you are going to purchase now and which will be purchased upon arrival at school. Set a timeline for what needs to be purchase and by what date so that you won’t end up running around at the last minute trying to buy everything.

If you are going away to college, it might be easier to purchase items like paper, pens, etc., once you are at school. It will help you to avoid the number of boxes you have to move or transport to school.

**If you decide to purchase the items at school, make sure there is a mass-market store like Wal-mart or Target nearby so that you won’t have to pay the high prices they charge at the student store at the college.

Purchasing a Calculator: You may want to wait until you get to class before you purchase a calculator — certain professors may require a specific model, and it would be unfortunate to spend money on a calculator you won’t be able to use. If you want to purchase something before you start school, you can check with the school, or once you get your schedule, check your professor’s webpage to see if the type of calculator is listed.

PURCHASING OPTIONS

The best tip I have for finding deals is to visit the website of the store(s) where you may want to shop and sign up for their email list. Many stores will notify when they are having a sale, and some may even include a coupon that you can use online or in the store.

Amazon.com has a wide range of school supplies (and just about everything else) – and your purchase may qualify for Free Super Saver Shipping. Buying online and shipping to school means that you won’t have to pack the items or move them to school.

eBags.com has an extensive selection of backpacks and messenger bags. eBags carries the top brands, like JanSport, Columbia, and The North Face, just to name a few. They also sell handbags, luggage, and travel essentials. Be sure to do a google search for coupons before placing your order.

Overstock.com carries everything from electronics to apparel — all at discount prices; You can find great deals on backpacks, iPods, and Laptops.

Mass-Market Stores like Wal-mart and Target should have all the basic school supplies you will need to purchase. You can also try OfficeMax or Staples; both offer online purchasing.

SCHOOL SUPPLIES CHECKLIST

Everyday Items

  • Backpack or Messenger Bag
  • Cell Phone
  • Umbrella
  • iPod or MP3 Player
  • Digital Recorder
  • Calculator

Basic School Supplies

  • Assignment Book/Day Planner
  • Stapler
  • Pens and Pencils
  • Pencil Sharpener
  • Highlighters
  • Markers
  • Tablets and/or Notebooks
  • Report Covers & Folders
  • Binders
  • Sheet Protectors
  • Document Covers
  • Labels
  • Note Cards
  • Post-it Notes
  • Paper Clips
  • Glue
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • Ruler

Office Equipment & Supplies

  • Desk and Chair (if needed)
  • Laptop or Desktop computer
  • Memory Stick
  • Printer
  • Ink/Toner
  • Printer Paper
  • Desk Lamp
  • Desk Organizer
  • Pencil/Pen Holder
  • Hanging Folders
  • File Folders
  • File Cabinet/Storage
  • Stamps/Envelopes
  • Padlock

Basic Kitchen Supplies for College

Whether you are moving into an apartment or staying at the dorm, you will need to purchase some supplies for the kitchen. This sections includes some basic tips for deciding what items you will need for your kitchen, purchasing options to help you find the best deals, and a checklist that you can tailor the list to fit your individual situation.

BASIC TIPS

Take an inventory of what you already have at home and put those items in a box or lay them out on the table so that you can easily see what supplies you already own.

Make a checklist with what you need to purchase for your dorm or apartment. Decide what items you are going to purchase now and which will be purchased upon arrival at school. Set a timeline for what needs to be purchase and by what date so that you won’t end up running around at the last minute trying to buy everything.

Before you buy anything, especially the high-ticket items, check with the dorm to get a list of prohibited items so that you don’t spend money on something only to find out that you can’t keep it in your room.

You may also want to check with your roommate(s) to compare lists and find out what they will be bringing with them to school. You don’t want to go out and spend money on a microwave if you roommate already has one. Although, before you decide that you are going to use their stuff, you want to make sure they don’t have a problem with sharing. If you know the person you are going to share a room with, it will be easy to coordinate who will be bring what to school.

If you are going to college out of state or a considerable distance from home, it might be easier to purchase the larger items like microwave, vacuum, etc., and the incidentals like paper towels, foil and cleaner, once you are at school. If you are getting a moving truck, it won’t be as much of an issue; however, if you are planning to fly or pay to have your boxes shipped to college, it can be expensive to ship larger items.

**If you decide to purchase the items at school, make sure there is a store nearby where you can purchase everything. You can check online for stores in the area, or get a list from the school.

The best tip I have for finding deals is to visit the website of the store(s) where you may want to shop and sign up for their email list. Many stores will notify when they are having a sale, and some may even include a coupon that you can use online or in the store.

PURCHASING OPTIONS

Amazon.com has a wide range of products for your dorm or apartment. They offer sell just about everything you would need to stock your kitchen. Buying online and shipping to school means that you won’t have to pack the items or transport them to school. Also, your purchase may qualify for Free Super Saver Shipping.

Department Stores carry brand-name kitchen electrics and housewares for your dorm or apartment. If you shop during a sale you can get a good bargain on brand-name appliances.

IKEA has a wide range of roducts for your kitchen — from cutting boards to dinnerware sets; all at amazing prices. You can also order from them online — you will have to check their website for shipping costs.

Mass-Market Stores like Wal-mart and Target carry a variety of electronics and housewares.

For comparison shopping, check prices at Costco, Best Buy, OfficeMax, and Staples. Also visit Linens N Things and Bed Bath & Beyond for housewares and kitchen electronics.

KITCHEN ESSENTIALS CHECKLIST

Here is a guideline for items you will need for your apartment or dorm. The checklist includes kitchen basics, cooking essentials, and kitchen electronics:

Kitchen Basics

  • Dinnerware Set
  • Glasses and Mugs
  • Flatware
  • Measuring Cups
  • Cooking Utensils
  • Kitchen Towels
  • Kitchen Storage Containers
  • Saran wrap/Foil
  • Paper Towels
  • Ziploc Bags
  • Dish Soap
  • Dish Sponge
  • All-purpose Cleaner
  • Garbage Can
  • Trash Bags

Cooking Essentials

  • Frying Pans
  • Sauce Pans (with lids)
  • Casserole Dish
  • Cookie Sheets
  • Baking Pans
  • Pot Holders
  • Fire Extinguisher

Kitchen Electronics

  • Hot Plate
  • Compact Refrigerator
  • Microwave
  • Toaster Oven
  • Coffee Maker
  • Electric Kettle
  • Hand Mixer
  • Can Opener

Laundry & Cleaning Supplies

Whether you are living in the dorm or in an apartment, you will need to do your laundry and perform basic cleaning duties. If you have all the supplies, it can make it and easier process. The checklist of the right side of the page has items for both apartment and dorm living. You can tailor the list to fit your individual situation.

The best tip I have for finding deals is to visit the website of the store(s) where you may want to shop and sign up for their email list. Many stores will notify when they are having a sale, and some may even include a coupon that you can use online or in the store.

BASIC TIPS

Take an inventory of what you already have at home and put those items in a box or lay them out on the table so that you can easily see what supplies you already own.

Make a checklist of what you need to purchase for your dorm or apartment and decide what items you are going to purchase now and which will be purchased upon arrival at school.

Set a timeline for what needs to be purchase and by what date so that you won’t end up running around at the last minute trying to buy everything.

Find out about where you will be doing your laundry — if you are living in the dorm, check with them for information about the laundry facilities and what supplies they recommend.

If you are moving into an apartment, you will either have a washer/dryer in the apartment, or you will have to use the laundry room in the building. Your situation will determine what types of supplies you will need to purchase.

If you are going to college out of state or a considerable distance from home, it might be easier to purchase the majority of items once you arrive at school. You should check online or with the school for a listing of the stores in the area.

PURCHASING OPTIONS

Amazon.com has a wide range of products ranging from groceries to household supplies like laundry detergent – and your purchase may qualify for Free Super Saver Shipping. Buying online and shipping to school means that you won’t have to pack the items and move them to school.

Mass-Market Stores: Wal-mart, Kmart, and Target should all carry a wide range of products for laundry and cleaning. You might also check with Linens N Things or Bed, Bath & Beyond for laundry baskets, irons, and ironing boards.

LAUNDRY SUPPLIES CHECKLIST

  • Laundry Basket or Bag
  • Laundry Detergent
  • Dryer Sheets
  • Stain Remover
  • Iron or Steamer
  • Ironing board
  • Hangers
  • Sewing Kit
  • Lint Brush
  • Rolls of Quarters
  • Shoe Polish

CLEANING SUPPLIES CHECKLIST

  • All Purpose Cleaner
  • Bucket
  • Mop
  • Sponges
  • Cleaning Cloths
  • Broom
  • Dust pan
  • Vacuum
  • Toilet Bowl Cleaner
  • Toilet Brush
  • Carrying Tote with Handle

Electronics for Back to School

Electronic items can be a big part of your budget, and being a college student, I am sure your funds are limited. I have included some basic tips on how to decide which items to purchase, purchasing options, and a checklist that includes some of the basic electronic equipment you may need for school.

BASIC TIPS

Take an inventory of what you already have at home and put those items in a box or lay them out on the table so that you can easily see what supplies you already own.

Make a checklist of all of the items you will need and decide what items you are going to purchase now and which will be purchased upon arrival at school. Set a timeline for what needs to be purchase and by what date so that you won’t end up running around at the last minute trying to buy everything.

Before you buy anything, especially the high-ticket items, check with the dorm to get a list of prohibited items so that you don’t spend money on something only to find out that you can’t keep it in your room.

You may also want to check with your roommate(s) to compare lists and find out what they will be bringing with them to school. You don’t want to go out and spend money on a microwave if you roommate already has one. Although, before you decide that you are going to use their stuff, you want to make sure they don’t have a problem with sharing. If you know the person you are going to share a room with, it will be easy to coordinate who will be bring what to school.

If you are going away to college, it might be easier to purchase the larger items like microwave, vacuum, etc., once you are at school. If you decide to purchase the items at school, make sure there is a store nearby where you can purchase everything. Check online for stores in the area, or get a list from the school.

The best tip I have for finding deals is to visit the website of the store(s) where you may want to shop and sign up for their email list. Many stores will notify when they are having a sale, and some may even include a coupon that you can use online or in the store.

PURCHASING OPTIONS

Amazon.com has a wide range of products for your dorm or apartment. They offer many of the top brands of Computers as well as Kitchen Essentials. Buying online and shipping to school means that you won’t have to pack the items or transport them to school. Also, your purchase may qualify for Free Super Saver Shipping.

Mass-Market Stores like Wal-mart and Target carry a variety of electronics and housewares.

For comparison shopping, check prices at Costco, Best Buy, OfficeMax, and Staples. Also visit Linens N Things and Bed Bath & Beyond for housewares and kitchen electronics.

Remember to check stores for sales and special offers on products for dorm rooms and back to school.

*Before going to the store, be sure to check the website for information about sales and discounts. Some stores will offer coupons on their website that you can print and take to the store or use when you purchase products online.

ELECTRONIC EQUIPMENT CHECKLIST

Computer Equipment/Supplies

  • Laptop or Desktop Computer
  • USB Flash Drive or Portable Hard Drive
  • Printer
  • Surge Protector

Everyday Items

  • Cell Phone
  • iPod or MP3 Player
  • Digital Recorder
  • Calculator
  • Alarm Clock / Clock Radio
  • Television
  • DVD Player
  • Digital Camera
  • Telephone Answering Machine
  • Extension Cords
  • Vacuum
  • Iron or Steamer

Kitchen Electronics

  • Microwave
  • Toaster Oven
  • Compact Refrigerator
  • Coffee Maker
  • Electric Kettle
  • Hot Plate

Dorm & Apartment Basics

Moving into a new apartment or dorm can be stressful, but not as stressful as getting there and realizing you don’t have the necessary supplies.

I have included a few basic tips on getting organized, ideas on where to shop for the items you need, and a checklist of the basic items you will need for your dorm or apartment.

BASIC TIPS

Take an inventory of the items you already have at home and put those items in a box or lay them out on the table so that you can easily see what you already own.

Make a checklist that has everything you think you will need to purchase for your dorm or apartment. Decide what items you are going to purchase now and which will be purchased upon arrival at school. Set a timeline for what needs to be purchase and by what date so that you won’t end up running around at the last minute trying to buy everything.

Before you buy anything, check with the dorm to get a list of prohibited items so that you don’t spend money on something only to find out that you can’t keep it in your room.

If you are going away to college, it might be easier to purchase the larger items (vacuums, televisions, etc.) and incidentals (soap, toothpaste, etc.) once you arrive at school **If you decide to purchase the items at school, make sure there is a store nearby where you can purchase everything. Check online for stores in the area, or get a list from the school.

PURCHASING OPTIONS

The best tip I have for finding deals is to visit the website of the store(s) where you may want to shop and sign up for their email list. Many stores will notify when they are having a sale, and some may even include a coupon that you can use online or in the store.

Amazon.com – has a wide range of products from which to choose – you can buy comforters and compact refrigerators all at the same time. Best of all, your order may qualify for Free Super Saver Shipping. Buying online and shipping to school means that you won’t have to pack the items or transport them to school.

IKEA – offers a wide range of products for your dorm or apartment — from posters to pillows, you can find a variety of products, all at amazing prices. You can also order from them online — you will have to check their website for shipping costs.

Overstock.com has great deals on everything from electronics to apparel — all at discount prices.

Department Stores carry a wide range of products ranging from sheets and pillows to digital cameras and vacuums.

Mass-Market Stores like Wal-mart and Target should have all of your personal care supplies at very reasonable prices. You can also compare prices on with the other retailers like Best Buy, Linens N Things, and Bed Bath & Beyond to find the best prices.

APARTMENT & DORM SUPPLIES CHECKLIST

General Items

  • Alarm Clock / Clock Radio
  • Lamps (bedside & desk lamps)
  • Waste Basket
  • Hangers
  • Storage Cubes
  • Bulletin Board & push pins
  • Posters

Linens

  • Mattress Pad
  • Comforter
  • Duvet Cover
  • Sheets and Pillow Cases
  • Pillows
  • Blankets
  • Towels: Bath, Hand, and Face

Electronics

  • Vacuum
  • Television
  • DVD Player
  • Hot Plate
  • Compact Refrigerator
  • Microwave
  • Audio Equipment
  • Digital Camera
  • Extension Cords
  • Surge Protector

Personal Care

  • Shower tote
  • Shampoo & Conditioner
  • Bath & Face soap
  • Toothbrush & Toothpaste
  • Travel containers
  • Dental Floss
  • Brush & Comb
  • Tweezers
  • Q-tips
  • Nail Clippers
  • Hair Dryer
  • Kleenex
  • Deodorant
  • Sunscreen
  • Hand Cream
  • Razor & Shaving Cream
  • Lint Brush
  • Sewing Kit item
  • First Aid kit

Back to School & College Essentials

If you are heading back to school or going for the first time, there are essential items that you will need while you are there. I have created a basic resource to help you.

Click on the heading below to find basic tips, purchasing ideas, and a checklist for supplies every student needs for school.

  • School & Office Supplies: Find a listing of school and office supplies every student needs for school. Includes everyday items, basic school supplies, and office equipment for a dorm or apartment.
  • College Wardrobe Essentials: Not sure what clothes you will need to pack for college? I have a guideline for the types of clothing you will need (i.e. casual, everyday, formal), a checklist with the specific clothing items you should take with you to college, and purchasing tips for finding the best deals.
  • Dorm & Apartment Supplies: The section includes some of the basic supplies you will need for your dorm or apartment, includes items like an alarm clock, lamps, linens, and general personal care items you will use whether you are living in a dorm room or renting and apartment.
  • Kitchen Essentials: Whether you are renting an apartment or staying in the dorm, you will need to eat – and possibly cook your own food. The checklist contains basic items you will need for your kitchen.
  • Laundry & Cleaning Supplies: This section includes basic items you will need to do laundry in a dorm or apartment along with products and supplies to help you keep your apartment or dorm clean.
  • Electronics for Back to School: Every student needs electronic equipment, including calculators, a computer, etc. This checklist contains general use items along with specific items needed for dorm or apartment living.

College Wardrobe Essentials: Purchasing Tips & Checklist

If you are planning to go to college and are not sure what wardrobe basics you will need to take with you – here are a few basic tips to help you decide what clothing you will need to purchase for college. Also, if you scroll down the page, I have created a checklist that lists specific items you may need.

Make a Checklist that includes the types of clothes you need to purchase (see my College Wardrobe Essentials Checklist below).

Take an inventory of what you already have at home and put those items aside.

Set a time line for what needs to be purchase and by what date so that you won’t end up running around at the last minute trying to buy everything.

Set a Laundry Schedule: It is a good ideas to determine how many of each item you want to take with you. If you plan on wearing jeans everyday, you don’t want to go to school with only 2 pairs. It is important to set a schedule on how often you will be doing laundry, this can help you decide how many of each item you will need to take to school.

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WHERE TO FIND THE BEST DEALS:

The best tip I have for finding deals is to visit the website of the store(s) where you may want to shop and sign up for their email list. Many stores will notify when they are having a sale, and some may even include a coupon that you can use online or in the store.

  • Outlet Malls: Many outlet malls offer incredible savings on clothes. For additional savings, sign up for the VIP or Preferred Shopper Program for your local outlet mall. You can get advanced notice for special sales and get access to special coupons to help you save more money.
  • Department Stores – carry all the popular brands of clothing for men and women. Also, many offer online shopping and special discounts through their websites. If you shop at the end of a season, you can find some amazing deals on clearance merchandise.
  • Gap or Old Navy – has more than just jeans, they have tailored blazers, button-down shirts, outerwear, and much more. You can find some good bargains on basic wardrobe items.
  • Overstock.com – offers discount prices on apparel, handbags, accessories, and much more. You can find great deals on designer-brand clothing.
  • Amazon.com – carries many of the popular designer brands of apparel, shoes, and accessories at discount prices. You can find amazing discounts for as much as 50%-70% Off.
  • Zappos.com or Endless.com – Find shoes and handbags – these online stores carry women and men’s athletic, dress, and casual shoes, as well as backpacks, duffel bags, and computer bags.

**Before buying anything online, it is always best to check the return policy. Some stores do not allow returns on clearance merchandise. See my article for How to Protect Yourself When Ordering Online.

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WARDROBE ESSENTIALS FOR COLLEGE (Checklist)

Wardrobe Basics

  • Jeans
  • Casual shirts (t-shirts)
  • Button-Down Shirts
  • Polo Shirts
  • Sweaters
  • Sweat shirts
  • Sweat pants
  • Pajamas
  • Underwear
  • Socks
  • Stockings (women)
  • Slippers/Flip Flops
  • Robe
  • Light-weight Jacket (trench coat)

Business/Formal Attire

  • Suit or Business Attire
  • Button-Down Shirt (men)
  • Blouses (women)
  • Tie (men)
  • Dress pants
  • Suit Jacket
  • Trench Coat

Shoes

  • Tennis Shoes
  • Casual walking shoes
  • Dress Shoes

See Also: College Wardrobe Essentials

College Wardrobe Essentials

It can be difficult to decide what wardrobe essentials you will need for college. If you are going to be moving and staying in a dorm, you don’t want to take your entire wardrobe with you, but you also don’t want to be in a position where you don’t have anything to wear.

When trying to decide what clothes to take with you to school, it is easier to break it down into categories of the types of clothes you will need and when. Here are some situations you might want to consider before buying wardrobe essentials for college (this information can apply to both men and women):

  • Attending Classes: you will most likely wear casual clothing, like jeans or a sweatsuit to class, except for special occasions, like giving a speech or lecture that may require more formal attire.
  • Business/Formal Attire: There may be certain occasions that you will need to dress up from what you would normally wear to class. If you have to give a speech, go to an interview, or decide to join a professional group, you may need to wear a suit or at least a nice pair of dress pants and blouse (or shirt for men) depending on the event. To make sure you are prepared for any event, you should have formal wear (business suit) and business casual attire (dress slacks and blouse/button-down shirt).
  • Clothes for Work: If you already have a job or decide to get one after school or on the weekends, you will need clothes for work. The type of job you have/get will determine what type of clothes you will need to purchase.
  • Weekends and After School: think about what you normally wear on the weekend or after school, what types of activities you will be participating.
  • Shoes: You may have all the clothes you need to wear for every occasion, but if you don’t have the right shoe, it can break your outfit. Be sure to take shoes (and socks/stocking) that match the clothing you are planning to wear. Nothing can ruin an outfit more than a pair of shoes that look out of place.

See also: College Wardrobe Essentials: Purchasing Tips & Checklist