20 Dorm Room Essentials to Buy at the Dollar Store
The cost of college continues to rise, leaving many students with little money left over to spend on necessities for their dorm rooms. Enter dollar stores, where shoppers can stock up on dorm essentials on the cheap. Here are 20 items on college packing lists that are available at Dollar General and Dollar Tree at bargain prices.
A versatile cleaning spray is such a useful product to keep in a dorm room that fellow residents may want to borrow it, so buy it on the cheap. Dollar Tree sells many off-brand options in large sizes (20 to 25 ounces) for $1 each, and Dollar General offers the same or similar brands and sizes, many at prices under $3. Bonus tip: Buy one spray bottle and then replenish it using 64-ounce refill bottles from Dollar Tree.
Not having a simple manual can opener can be frustrating for students who get hungry between meals, so arrive at the dorm prepared. Most dollar stores stock generic can openers for $1 to $3. Dollar General also offers a deluxe Trueliving can opener for $4.75.
In addition to studying, tailgating might be on a college student's agenda, so a cooler can be useful to have around. ama
is easy to store, holds up to 30 cans, and costs $10 at Dollar General. Dollar Tree offers insulated polyester cooler bags for $1 apiece.
Dorm rooms may not have kitchens for gourmet cooking, but many students bring microwaves and choose to store non-perishables, such as ramen and macaroni and cheese, for times when cafeteria fare seems wanting. With no sink for washing dishes, such feasts call for an ample supply of plasticware. Dollar General sells a 45-pack of Hefty Everyday Soak Proof plates for $2; 30 12-ounce foam bowls for $1; and 48 heavy-duty forks for $1. Assorted cutlery packs run $18 for 18 units of 48-count packets (that's a lot of utensils). Red party cups cost $2 for a pack of 26.
It's smart to keep a mini first-aid kit in a dorm room, and assembling your own is the best value. Dollar stores, in general, are excellent spots to find low prices on the necessary items: bandages, sterile tape, adhesive tape, cotton swabs, pain relievers, thermometers, anti-itch and anti-bacterial creams, and hydrogen peroxide (consider pouring from a bigger, value bottle into a cheap mini container as needed). Dollar stores tend to carry store brands that serve the same purpose as name brands. A $1 plastic storage box with lid from Dollar Tree could be perfect for storing these items.
In many dorms, it's common for residents to hang dry erase boards on the outside of doors so they can receive and leave messages. At Dollar Tree, 8.5-by-11-inch boards with a marker cost just $1.
Dryer sheets prevent static, soften fabric, and make clean laundry smell pleasant. Dollar General sells a store brand at $2.80 for 120 sheets, as well as the Gain brand at $2 for 34 dryer sheets and the Bounce brand at $4.50 for 40 sheets.
Many dorm rooms don't come with air conditioning and can get stuffy, so a fan can be vital to keeping the space cool and fresh. A classic 6-inch, three-blade oscillating table fan costs $10 at Dollar General.
College students usually use "shower shoes" in dorms when sharing bathroom space with other residents. Dollar Tree stocks women’s flip-flops for $1 a pair.
Bottles of hand sanitizer can be handy to have around a dorm room. An 8-ounce bottle of store-brand sanitizer costs just $1.50 at Dollar General. At Dollar Tree, pick up a 10-ounce pump bottle or buy a three-pack of scented travel-size bottles. Both are $1.
College laundry woes are legendary, but try to save on detergent, at least. Dollar General features an assortment of name-brand detergents at competitive prices (comparable to Walmart, in this case). A 16-count package of Tide Pods in spring meadow scent sells for $4.95, while a 40-ounce bottle of liquid Tide Original costs $5.75.
Wall posters are a hallmark of dorm rooms everywhere, featuring favorite bands, art, photography, and more. Adhesive strips won't damage the posters or the dormitory wall. An eight-count pack of 3M Command poster strips costs $1.75 at Dollar General.
Simple slippers come in handy when padding around on dormitory floors, and they're cheap at dollar stores. Pick up a pair of quilted cloth slip-ons at Dollar General for $6. Men’s moccasin-style slippers are $10.
One way to maximize the tiny space of a dorm room: Store belongings in plastic containers. Dollar Tree sells trendy designs that cost a buck apiece when buying by the case (typically 20). (Tip: Share with roommates.) At Dollar General, Ziploc Space Bags are $12 for three. These are medium to large bags that can be vacuum sealed to fit in tight spots, such as under the bed. Generic plastic kitchen containers for food storage are also a steal at dollar stores.