Well, it’s August. It’s like if Smonday were a month, and worse, it’s the time for the dark void that is college shopping. Everyone will tell you to buy different things, and you will buy these overpriced things and throw a third of them away.
Because you can’t afford to do that, we’ve put together a list of things you might actually use this year. They’ll keep your devices charged, they’ll keep you comfortable, fit, or fed; they’ll make your roommate like you and, best of all, they might make it look like you’ve got your life in order.
For plugging in
There are always more gadgets to plug in, so you definitely need a multi-outlet device of some sort. For USBs, try out the iClever BoostCube, $10.99, which is a little bulky but works well. There’s also a thousand different regular outlet strips, so why not make them colorful? You’ve got the Green Powercube, $12.44, the somehow more expensive Blue PowerCube, $14.40 and SmartSockets Premium Surge Protection Power Strip, $19.99.
For chilling out
A consistently awful thing about the first few weeks of school, no matter where you are, is that it’s always about a thousand degrees. And for often very silly reasons, many dorms still doesn’t have air conditioning, so you’ve got to go out and buy a cheap but effective little fan. Enter the Honeywell HT-908 Turbo Force Room Air Circulator, $24.99.
For OH MY GOD WHY IS IT SO COLD
And then, for many colleges, it gets inexplicably cold just a few weeks after you’re blaring that tiny fan. Do yourself a favor and buy the Honeywell HCE100R Heat Bud Ceramic Heater, $14.99. You think a sweater will be fine, whatever, and then you find out that space heaters change lives. If red isn’t your color, there are similar ones available in purple, black, white and blue, but they’re a little more expensive.
For WHY AM I STILL COLD
For those of you who are always cold, I feel you. But the good news is that the Sunbeam Fleece Heated Throw, Walnut, TSF8US-R470-33A00 is your answer. It has three adjustable settings and is made of 100% polyester fleece. It’ll be the best $26.95 you ever spent on a blanket.
For a dining hall reprieve
Dorm food is awful! And you have no time to cook anything. These are both very “duh” things about college. Sure, keep some stuff in a mini-fridge, but, seriously, if it doesn’t go in a microwave, who’s gonna cook it? You? Ha, very funny. Meanwhile, I’m going to spend about two minutes throwing stuff in this magical pot, write four more papers, and come back to what looks like a fancy home-cooked meal. Major upgrade.
For considerate roommates
Until colleges stop rooming late-night Netflix bingers with 8 a.m. class victims, there’s the Pyle Home PHPNC15 Folding Noise-Canceling Headphones, $46.03. Go ahead and blast that audio, you considerate night owl.
For considerate roommates with no money
Right, right, forgot you don’t have $50 to spend on headphones. These ECOOPRO 3.5mm Over Ear Stereo Headphones Headset Earphones, $12.88, are a great alternative for the college budget. And they’re colorful!
For cheap, mobile textbooks
While you might get killer biceps from carrying your Norton Anthology around everywhere, the Amazon Kindle, $79.99, is a better, often cheaper alternative. And, unlike rented books, you can also write notes and make marks in these. Just check th at your professors allow the e-books in class.
For hosting the dorm hall dance party
For all those nights you’ll be hanging out in each other’s dorms, for all the movie nights you’re planning, you need good speakers. Of course, you’re not the official DJ or anything they don’t have to be expensive for what you need. Try the AmazonBasics USB Powered Computer Speakers (A100), $13.99, e-joy Dancing Water Speaker, Dancing Water Speakers, $19.99 or Wireless Speaker, Womail FM Radio TF Card Mini Speaker MP3 Player Blue, $5.40 + $0.99 shipping.
For keeping healthy
The Garmin vvofit Fitness Band, $53.32 is a little pricey for this list, but the whole business about step counting for fitness is backed by science. It’s not for everyone, but if you’re the type who needs gadgets and quantified data to motivate your fitness goals, the Freshman 15 doesn’t stand a chance.
For looking like you have it together
“What kind of nerd brings a vacuum to college?” I scoffed when someone suggested this years ago. Amazing geniuses, that’s who. I bought a rug that year to spruce up the dorm and because feet are dirty, the room was quite a few shades darker by the end of the semester. Do not repeat those mistakes and buy this adorable tiny vacuum with an even more adorable name, the Dirt Devil Bagless Handheld Vacuum, $23.99. Crumbs and lint be gone.
For late-night study sessions
Add this to your “considerate roommate” must-haves. The Amir 4 LED Reading Light, $11.99, is bright enough to let you read in the dark but tiny enough that, placed correctly, won’t keep anyone up. And no, your phone’s flashlight is not the same thing this clips to your books and it just stays in one place, which is a beautiful thing.
For fancy meditation
Who has $69.00 to blow on the Now Kit Meditation Kit? Probably not you, nascent college student. But if you do, maybe try out this fancy foam seat created specifically with meditation in mind. It was fully funded on Kickstarter, so they’re at least worth a look.
For keeping out that weird smell
As the great Paris Geller once said, teenagers will buy anything if it comes in leopard print. A similar principle applies to this Aromatherapy Essential Oil Diffuser, $15.90, which turns six different colors while also making your room smell delightful. If you don’t think your room is going to start to smell, you’re definitely wrong. This is #adult reality.
For ‘your laptop,’ totally not eating in bed
I got one of these LapGear Student LapDesks, $14.99, because it was supposed to make my laptop more comfortable or something. Turns out these are just phenomenal mini tabletops so you don’t get crumbs on your bed. Apparently it also cools your laptop. Use as you will.
Most of all…
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