Last weekend I took a camping trip with some of my college friends and had a rude awakening, and it wasn't just that storm clouds had followed us.
As we all sat around the campfire, snacking on extra-large, toasted marshmallows, someone asked if we were ready to start the new semester.

Immediately I thought, 'Oh no. That can't be right. It's only August....wait....'
Where had my summer gone?

As a kid I used to get really excited about going back to school. It meant I got to see all my friends every day, and of course, a new princess backpack. Now that I've been in college awhile, I still get excited to see all my friends, but those little princess backpacks don't hold nearly as much as they did when I was five.

Here's a fun fact for you, according to the National Retail Federation college students will spend about $45.8 billion on everything they are going to need for the year.

Do you know what area has the highest projected growth?

It's bedding and room decorations for all the dorm rooms. Turns out I'm not the only college student eager to re-decorate every year.

Now that I'm a junior at the University of Montana and have lived in the dorms for four semesters, I've discovered each time that I wasn't as prepared to move as I thought I was. Trust me, running to Target or Walmart on move-in day is the worst idea you will ever have.

Here are my top five things you will need, that you might forget to bring with you when you move into the dorms.

  • 1

    Bed Lifts

    Whether you decide to loft your bed, or buy nifty little lifts like this, raising your bed is something you should consider. There isn't a lot of storage space, being able to stash things like a fridge under your bed, or lofting it high enough to put a a few chairs underneath will make you feel like you have more space.

    Photo Courtesy of
  • 2

    Command Hooks

    These little puppies are awesome. You can hang up pictures, jewelry or whatever without having to worry about getting fined for putting holes in your walls.

    Photo Courtesy of
  • 3

    Power Strip

    Chances are you might have one or two outlets on your side of the room. That is not enough for all the electronics you'll be packing to college. Make sure you pick up a power strip, or maybe even two, to make your life a lot easier. Grab a pack of labeling dots and mark your plug-ins. It will save you from accidentally unplugging your computer when you mean to unplug your phone.

    Photo Courtesy of
  • 4

    Large Calendar

    No, I don't mean a little calendar with pictures of your favorite team on the top. I'm talking about a calendar that you can read from across the room. College is about being organized. Your professors aren't going to care that you forgot about an assignment and let you turn it in late. Think about getting a small planner that fits in your backpack, so you can write down when things are due as the professor says. It sounds dorky, I know, but your GPA and mother will thank you for it later.

    Photo Courtesy of
  • 5


    Considering I was on the sixth floor of Aber Hall, a fan should have been number one on my shopping list, but I forgot. Don't make the same mistake!

    Photo Courtesy of