So, your son or daughter is heading off to college or university. You want to help them get started but are unsure what to get. The good news is there is no wrong gift. They’ll need just about everything to get started. Any gift you give them will be well appreciated. Nothing is too trivial when one starts on their own.
So, where exactly is the best place to start? That’s easy. Just remember the first time you went off to college or moved away on your own. What did you need? Everything, right?
Let’s start with the basics.
If they live on campus in a dormitory, they’ll need just about everything they use at home, starting with bedding: A pillow, mattress cover, easy-to-wash sheets, pillowcases, and blanket. For those who like to study while in bed, think about a sturdy study pillow they can lean back on while they read.
If they have space, he or she may enjoy a small throw rug to add that extra home feel to their dorm room. And to help keep the room tidy, think about a small portable vacuum cleaner.
Back in the day, an alarm clock/ alarm clock radio was a significant get. But with the advent of smartphones, that may not be necessary.
Even so, they can be a welcome backup if he or she forgot to charge their smartphone the night before or ran it down after texting all night. Don’t give them a reason to be late for class. Get them a portable alarm clock/ alarm clock radio.
OK, You’ve got the bedding taken care of; what’s next. Well, how about clothes hangers for their clothes and a storage box that can easily slip underneath their bed.
If the bed is too low, get them a set of adjustable bed risers they can slip into the bedposts to raise it to their desired height. A portable iron, ironing board, and/ steamer will have them looking their best when they go out.
When they go out, you want to make sure they are warm and dry. So before you drop them off, stop by your favorite clothing store and get them an all-purpose coat or jacket, preferably one with a liner, that will serve the majority of their needs. Depending on where they go to school, you may need to include a cap, scarf, gloves, and boots.
Now let’s turn to bathing. Again, start with the basics: A couple of large towels, hand towels, bath mat, and washcloths will get them started. To help keep their hands free, you could add on a shower caddy so they can carry all of their toiletries in one case.
A soft bathrobe will help soak up the water they missed with their towel as well as keep them warm on their way from the bathroom to their dorm room. And a comfortable pair of shower sandals will keep them from slipping.
No dorm room is complete without outfitting it with kitchen items for those late-night snacks or multiple cups of coffee needed to keep them going as they prepare for exams or writing papers.
But, too much is too much. Keep it simple. Start them off with a simple dish and cutlery set, including an unbreakable tumbler and coffee mug. These days, simple appliances include a single serving coffee maker, mini-fridge and a microwave oven or microwave combo, and a hot plate.
When it comes to cooking, you can start them off with a pot and a pan, microwavable dishes, and some food storage containers. Don’t forget the hand-held appliances like a can opener, bottle opener, whisk, spatula, and large soup spoon. To help them clean up after, present them with dish towels and sponges to wash and dry their utensils. Don’t forget about a sturdy garbage can.
What about study gear? Again, the world has changed since the days when you were in school. Today’s students are all about tech. Their arsenal includes laptop computers, a cooling tray for the laptop, an external hard drive and USB thumb drives, a portable printer, and an extension plug with a switch to serve as the hub for all those cables they will need to connect their myriad of devices.
To cut down on the clutter that will indeed accumulate on their small study desk, you could think about getting them some cloud space to store their papers online. This will ensure their work is never lost, as long as they remember to move it to the cloud.
One thing that hasn’t changed over the decades is the need for a good study lamp., strong enough to give them enough light to read and protect their eyes from unnecessary eye strain.
Aside from their laptop or desktop PC, they will undoubtedly come equipped with a range of portable devices, like their smartphones, tables, or other blue tooth devices.
All of them require the batteries in those devices to be changed several times during the day. So think about portable chargers they can drop into their backpack that will always be at the ready when the “low battery” message pops up on their screen.
College life is not all about work. There’s fun, too. Start them off with a portable blue tooth music speaker they can carry with them wherever they go. Help them add to their music collection with a subscription to a music service that will satisfy their musical tastes.
For the occasional gathering with friends, they might enjoy a subscription to one of many streaming services they can stream on their tablet or share with others with a portable projector for all can enjoy.
Simple transportation can be as simple as a bicycle or e-bike, which will allow them to move quickly on large campuses or for weekend bike rides with their friends.
You can equip them with a piece or two of luggage for those trips home, large enough, of course, to handle all of the dirty clothes they will be bringing home.
These are the basics any student will appreciate having as they transition into adulthood.