Parents and teachers tend to focus on the education that happens in classrooms when preparing you for your first year of college--what classes to take; what major to choose. Yet sharing a small, crowded dorm with a complete stranger is a powerful life lesson in and of itself. With such limited space, you’ll need to be creative with your back-to-school shopping list. Fortunately, the advent of smart, connected devices can help you to live far more comfortably and efficiently in these minimalist spaces than students even a few years ago could dream of. With just a few essential gadgets, you’ll be able to transform your drab dorm room into a dynamic space for sleeping, studying and hanging out.
Let’s start at your desk, where you’ll be spending the vast majority of your dorm time. You’ll need to store a number of important devices on this modest surface, while leaving room for books, notepads and calculators. If you’re bringing a MacBook with you, you’re in luck: the Vertical Dock by Henge Docks allows you to turn your MacBook into a versatile home workstation enhanced with dual display capabilities, all without sacrificing the benefits of mobility that come with a laptop. Sleek in its design and simple to use, the Vertical Dock opens up essential space on a crowded desk while neatly managing the flow of cables in and out of your laptop. There’s no hassle of plugging and unplugging cords--simply slide your MacBook out of the dock and head to class.
To save even more prime desk space, considering investing in the Canon iP2820 compact printer. At $49.99, it’s cheaper than a graphing calculator and prints great images without any of the frills you’ll likely never use on a more expensive model. When the iP2820 is folded up, it’s not all that much larger than your laptop, leaving more room for you to use your desk as a workspace rather than as a storage unit.
While we’re on this space-saving kick, check out the Gravitas for iOS Devices by Henge Docks. This impressively sturdy dock for iPhones and iPads charges your device while keeping it safe from potential spills and easily within view--which is great for checking important text messages or skipping songs on a playlist while you study. The sheen silver exterior matches the Vertical Dock and your MacBook perfectly, creating a harmonious home office environment.
And since your dorm likely won’t come with a TV, you can kill two birds with one stone by purchasing the HP Pavilion LED Monitor. Easily connected to your docked laptop, the Pavilion is excellent for working on complex projects that require a larger screen, as well as streaming video services such as Hulu or Netflix. This monitor is the best bang for your buck, providing excellent video quality at an affordable price (only $99.99 on Amazon!).
Your desk is now fully decked out, but what about the other parts of your dorm? Honestly, there isn’t much. Most dorms don’t have built-in kitchens, which can be seriously inconvenient on mornings when you don’t have time to go to the dining hall but need a breakfast that isn’t microwaved instant oatmeal. It was probably with these instances in mind that Nostalgia Electrics designed the Retro 3-in-1 Breakfast Station, a versatile machine that triples as a coffee maker, toaster oven and skillet. At only 12”X19”, the Breakfast Station easily fits on any medium-sized surface. Your roommate will thank you for getting to wake up to the smell of eggs, sausage and coffee--as long as you don’t burn anything.
So far, you’ve built an effective and efficient new home for the next nine months. But for your mother’s sake, if she ever wants to come visit, don’t go the whole nine months without cleaning your dorm. Since you’re not going to have space for a big, clunky vacuum cleaner, getting a Robotic Vacuum is the way to go. Smart programming allows the Robotic Vacuum to navigate freely around corners and objects in your room, as well as determine the setting at which to clean your specific type of flooring. Sit back and relax after a long day of class while the Robot Vacuum does the dirty work.
Now just add on a few personal touches, and you’ve successfully prepared yourself for sharing a space smaller than the bedroom you just moved out of. The only unknown variable left is who you’ll be sharing that space with, and we wish you the best of luck on that.