All the dorm room necessities for college students

Creighton sophomore pre-pharmacy major Britney Lau, 19, at front, moves her belongings into her McGloin Hall dorm room with the help of sophomore pre-medicine and biology major Courtney Ugale 18, at Creighton University in August 2013. Both Lau and Ugale were high school classmates from Honolulu.

Getting caught without the essentials in your college dorm room can be a huge pain. Whether you're returning to school for another year or arriving as a freshman, you need to make sure you have the right stuff.

Lucas Novotny, the resident director at Kenefick Hall, one of Creighton University's sophomore dorms, said he sees students who come underprepared make many trips to department stores. There are other students who come with far too much: a moving truck rolled into one of the freshman halls during this year's move-in.

Back to school!

The students are coming back to campuses all over the Midlands. Here's the schedule of the first day of classes at area colleges and universities.

AUG. 19: Iowa Western Community College

AUG. 20: Midland University

AUG. 21: Creighton University, College of St. Mary, Grace University

MONDAY: University of Nebraska-Lincoln, University of Nebraska at Omaha, University of Nebraska at Kearney, Doane College, Hastings College, Nebraska Wesleyan University, Concordia University, Iowa State University, University of Iowa

WEDNESDAY: Wayne State College

SEPT. 3: Metro Community College

SEPT. 23: Bellevue University

Shari Rosso, who is in charge of marketing and communications for housing at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, had some advice to offer students who are getting ready to move in. “Whatever you think you're going to bring, cut it in half,” Rosso said.

UNL, Creighton and other schools provide students with a list as a guideline of items they should (and should not) bring when school kicks off. Some of the must-haves are obvious: clothes, shampoo, notebooks and pens. Others are not, such as extra-long sheets.

Novotny advises against larger items such as full-sized couches. He said residents will try, but they often end up bringing the furniture all the way up to their rooms and then all the way back down again because they don't fit in the small dorm rooms.

There are some things that students should leave at home. Pets, aside from fish, generally cannot make the trip to college. Cortney Kelley, a student worker in the department of residential life at Creighton, said she saw residents with a pet pig during move-in. “I don't think they were trying to move it in,” Kelley said. “They brought it with them to try to get more time with the pig.”

Some college moves take students far from home. Kelley, a junior at Creighton, is originally from Michigan. She said she made her dorm room feel more like home by hanging up pictures of her friends and family as well as concert tickets and themed Christmas lights.

She blended memories from home with her new memories from school, all to make her tiny dorm room feel like home.

The Dorm Room Essentials

» Twin-size long sheets

» Blanket (for colder weather)

» Backpack

» Pillows

» Pillowcases

» Plates (one or two should suffice, assuming you have a meal plan)

» Silverware

» Drinking cups

» Clothes (pants, shorts, winter coat, T-shirts, pajamas, business casual wears)

» Bath robe or cover up

» Bath towels

» Shower caddy

» Flip-flops or shower shoes

» Toothbrush

» Toothpaste

» Deodorant

» Vitamins

» Razors

» Shampoo, conditioner and other styling products

» Tampons, sanitary napkins, etc.

» Shower curtain

» Toilet paper

» Bathroom cleaning products

» Other cleaning products -– an all-purpose cleaner will take care of most messes

» Trash bags

» Prescribed medications

» Laundry detergent

» Sewing kit

» Tool kit

» First-aid kit

» Flashlight

» Power strip

» Umbrella

» Pain medicines

» Rain boots

» Rain poncho

» Laundry hamper

» Message board for your dorm room door

» Alarm clock (if you don't use your cellphone to wake up)

» Chargers ( for computer, cellphone, tablet, etc.)

» Under-bed storage

» Posters and other dorm room decorations

» Photos of friends and family

» Stuffed animals, lucky objects or whatever is comforting

» Hanging storage to make more space in your closet

» School supplies: Notebooks, folders, pens, pencils, calculator, highlighters, ruler, erasers, scissors, index cards, stapler, paper clips, rubber bands, planner, tape, Post-It notes

» Important documents: Proof of health insurance, bank and credit cards, Social Security card, driver's license, birth certificate, permanent resident card

» Things to coordinate with your roommates: Television, VCR/DVD player, stereo, refrigerator, video game consoles and microwave, though some schools may provide some of these items.

Source: Creighton Department of Residence Life, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Housing and

Three packing tips:

 » Along with bath towels, don't forget hand towels and wash clothes — they come in handy in your room.

 » Show off your school spirit with college knickknacks. Don't have them yet? Hit the book store.

 » Shower shoes or flip-flops are crucial when you share a shower with other dirty students.

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