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Dorm 101: The basics every freshman should know
Forget pricey sheets and matching throw rugs; it's all about comforts of home
It's essential to have a microwave in your dorm room, whether it's for late-night popcorn or morning coffee.

The bare bones

Want to keep the shopping list short? Here are some items deemed must-haves by students at Georgia Washington University.

1. Alarm clock
2. Last-minute cleaner, like a Magic Eraser or Febreeze
3. Posters or wall decor
4. Kitchen supplies, such as a few cups, plates and cutlery
5. Adjustable shelving
6. A multi-use tool, like a Swiss Army knife
7. Laundry detergent, a clothes hamper and a “stain stick.”
8. [Insert your favorite technological device here.] You know you can’t live without that Wii or iPod.
9. A lock box for important stuff like Social Security cards and passports
10. Bed elevators, because you can never get enough stuff under your bed


ATHENS - When it came time to decide on dorm-room decor for Andie Tuggle and Chelsey Cain, coordinating their styles was easy.

Although the girls grew up in separate cities — Tuggle, 18, is from Buford and Cain, 17, is from Commerce — their parents have been best friends since before they were born. Even their fathers were roommates at one point in their lives.

So, the girls simply called each other and came up with a design theme of black bedspreads and colored throw pillows.

“We used it for style,” said Tuggle, of their bedspread choices. But otherwise, their dorm room is more ingenious than overly designed.

“We got milk (crates) and we used zip ties and made shelves out of them,” said Tuggle. One black plastic crate holds the coffee pot, and the rest were useful for carrying items into the rooms.

Among freshmen moving into dorms at the University of Georgia this week, many said they focused on living essentials rather than decorator items when deciding what to bring. Many worked out with roommates who would bring what, and among pretty much everyone, there are certain items that must come standard with a dorm room these days.

Namely, a mini refrigerator, a microwave and a TV.

“She brought the TV and the fridge, I brought the microwave,” said Victoria Demello, 17, of Gastonia, N.C. She also noted one thing she couldn’t leave behind was her Scooby-doo pillow. “I never leave home without it.”

Fellow freshman Tony Tambornino, 17, of Dacula said it is not just about having the comforts of home crammed into a tiny room, but about convenience, too.

“Having our own is good,” he said. “It’s not a community type of thing.”

Resident Adviser Brandon Amey, 20, of Jonesboro, an R.A. in one of the freshman dorms at UGA, said he sees his room as an apartment, only miniaturized.

It’s easy to stack the microwave and the fridge, he said, and even a coffee pot if you like. Next to that you put the TV, and your bed is on the other side of the room, he explained.

Fellow R.A. Autumn Howard, 21, of Lawrenceville listed the essentials for any dorm room.

“Futon, microwave, fridge, TV, laptop,” she said. “And toiletries. But that’s on the other side of the room.”

Much of the decor students bring are along the lines of items scavenged from home, like Christmas lights or bedroom lamps, the R.A.s said, rather than store-bought decorations purchased specifically for the room.

Plus, there’s lots of pictures to put up.

“A lot of people bring pictures, especially from senior year,” Amey said.

“Then by sophomore year its in the garbage,” added R.A. Busola Olaseinde, 18, of Lawrenceville. “By then you’ve made all new friends. You don’t need those prom memories.”

0814Dorm checklist