Starting Boarding School: 12 Things to Bring to the Dorm

Bring a few of the comforts of home--a throw rug, fire-retardant curtains (if not provided) and a blanket, for example--can make a boarding school dorm room feel more like home.

As we near the start of the school year, I came across this helpful blog post we did about what to bring to boarding school. I thought I’d update it for you and make it more relevant (you know, take out references to things like computers, iPods, and DVDs….).

The advice in here comes from boarding school professionals. It isn’t a complete list, just a few suggestions. If you’re joining us here at R-MA this fall, then you should already have received a full packing and planning list. Now, on to the recommendations (some of which are repeated from our own lists because students frequently forget them!):

  1. Headphones/Earbuds/etc. At some boarding schools, this is the only way that you will be allowed to listen to your music. At other boarding schools, even if external speakers are allowed, your roommate will be eternally grateful for your use of headphones!
  2. Command strips. Some boarding schools will require that you only use Command strips, or a similar product, to hang things on the walls, so you don’t damage them.  
  3. Sports equipment such as soccer ball, basketball, tennis racket, lacrosse stick, etc. Whatever you enjoy doing, bring the equipment so you can continue to enjoy that recreational activity at your boarding school!
  4. Your own comforter. It gives you a sense of “comfort” at night. (I copied that right from an e-mail sent to me…not my words!) Don’t forget other bedding—pillow and sheets especially. Some students prefer to bring a sleeping bag–they make up their bed the first day, then sleep on top of it in the sleeping bag, so that all they have to do in the morning is put the sleeping bag away and straighten up the bed a bit. 
  5. Cleaning supplies. You’ll need things like Windex, paper towels, a broom and dustpan or a Swiffer, and a dust cloth, Clorox wipes, among other things, to keep your room clean. Make sure you have them!
  6. Personal hygiene supplies. I think this is self-explanatory, but for those who might be a bit clueless…if you use it in the shower, before bed, or when getting ready in the morning, then you need it. 
  7. Plastic container to store food in. Ants and mice love food just as much as you do, right? So if you want to keep that supply of potato chips on-hand for snacking cravings, then you’d better keep it somewhere where they can’t smell it!
  8. Shower shoes, bathrobe, and a shower caddy. These are especially important if your boarding school has communal bathrooms. 
  9. Hangers. Make sure you have some with clips for skirts, ladies. Men and ladies, make sure you have strong ones that will hold a pair of folded pants nicely.
  10. Throw rug. This goes a long way towards making a dorm room feel cozier. It also makes it easier to get out of bed in the winter if your feet aren’t going to immediately hit the cold floor! 
  11. Alarm clock. You need this because you can’t have cell phone at night at R-MA. We have bells to wake you up, but a seven-second bell doesn’t always work if the pillow’s covering your head.
  12. And recommended by multiple people: bring a good attitude and a willingness to get along with others and succeed!

 Good luck at boarding school this year!

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