Home Tips & Advice


Your new college freshman can't wait to bolt from home and begin to enjoy independent dorm life. But in preparing for college move-in day, he or she probably hasn't given any thought to those many "extras" needed to make that spartan room more livable.

Before leaving for school, a trip to the local hardware store often is essential to stock up on some very important, yet often overlooked items. In addition to the computer, CD player and mini-fridge, try making room in the car for the following:

Test-Worthy Tools

  • A hammer and a box of nails or drywall anchors make hanging pictures and calendars on the walls easier. Double-sided tape or poster putty makes removal of posters from walls less damaging.
  • A flashlight and multiple packs of batteries come in handy if dorm electricity goes out. Extra batteries can also be used for all those extra electronics.
  • Standard or cordless screwdrivers make putting together furniture easier and help bookshelves and nightstands stay sturdy.
  • Extension cords and multi-outlet surge protectors are a must. Not only do they help expand room layout possibilities, but they also help protect valuable electronics, like computers.
  • A 25-foot extension phone cord allows the phone to be placed anywhere in the room.
  • Electrical wiring, extra cables and splitters are essential for multiple high-tech systems in a room like the stereo, TV, DVD player, computer and video game console.

Smart Storage

  • Shelf boards and brackets expand storage capabilities and make a small space look larger. Use them to hold books, picture frames and CDs.
  • Large plastic storage containers that fit discreetly underneath the bed are perfect for stowing away clothing and extra blankets.

A-Plus Appliances

  • Many hardware stores carry small coffee makers, toaster ovens and small microwaves for when hunger strikes during those late-night study sessions.
  • A small desktop or standing fan helps cool off a tiny dorm room.
  • For quick pickup of dry spills, a small cordless handvac that can be conveniently stored against the wall and out of sight does the dirty work.
  • A small reading lamp and extra light bulbs give eyes a break from overhead florescent dorm lighting. For a fun twist, pack some colored light bulbs.

Extra Credit

  • A long mirror visually makes a small room look bigger.
  • A dry erase board is great for hanging outside on a dorm room door so friends can leave messages. A corkboard also works as a place for posting photos of family and friends, class schedules and notes.
  • A stepstool makes it easier to reach high shelves in typically tiny dorm closets.

Happy Shopping!


If you have any questions or comments for Lou, feel free to e-mail him at Asklou@acehardware.com

© 2016 Ace Hardware Corporation. Ace Hardware Corporation and Ace Hardware Corporation logo are registered trademarks of Ace Hardware Corporation
HACKER SAFE certified sites prevent over 99% of hacker crime.

Add Item to To-Done List

To use this feature you must be signed-in to your account, please sign in now. If you do not have an account, please create an account to participate.

Ace Rewards

Ace Rewards is a free and rewarding membership program that lets you earn rewards with every purchase you make! Join now.