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Convenient Dorm Essentials to Save Money and Reduce Waste

College students juggle a full schedule of classes, job applications, and a booked social life. As the fall semester looms over their heads, the last thing they want to worry about is running out of essentials like paper towels, plastic bags, and utensils. Opting for reusable essentials reduces stress, saves valuable space, and us be a bit greener.

If you’re a student preparing for another school year or a parent helping your student move for the umpteenth time, these reusable items can save you money and much-needed trunk space.

A young woman holds a book on her way to class. Image: Rodnae Productions

Stasher Bag Bundle

Image: Brightly

Retail price: $36

These reusable silicone bags come in different sizes, but they are also dishwasher safe, freezer safe, and you can boil them. They are perfect for packing snacks, lunch, and even school supplies. 

Reusable Shopping Bags

Image: Amazon

Retail price: $15.99

Lending your young one some reusable shopping or freezer bags for their weekly grocery endeavors could save them a few cents every shopping trip. Or, gift them a foldable 5-pack from Amazon that comes in different patterns. 

Drying Rack

Image: Bed Bath and Beyond

Retail price: $30

Every smart student (or smart parent) saver knows to include a drying rack in their dorm packing list. By air drying some of your clothing items with a drying rack, your clothes will last longer too. Pro tip: Reading the labels on your clothes to see how they should be washed can save you time and reduce water and electricity.

Reusable Utensils

Image: Designed by Claire on Etsy

Retail price: $16

Reusable utensils may be a no-brainer for many college students, but reusable straws are a game-changer. This travel kit from Etsy comes with eco-friendly stainless steel utensils, a reusable straw, and straw cleaner. Or you could skip the hassle and bring a set of utensils from home and put them in a small pencil case.

Blueland Clean Essentials

Image: Blueland Clean Essentials

Blueland Clean Essentials makes reducing plastic easy with their wide range of cleaning products. Simply buy their bottles once and pay $2 (or less) per refill. Subscribe to receive refills as often as you’d like. This clean essentials kit comes with a multi-surface cleaner, hand soap, bathroom cleaner, and glass and mirror cleaner. Their lightweight refill tablets hardly take up space, even in the smallest dorm rooms. While all of their formulas are plant-based, they are equally as effective as chemical cleaners.

Organic Bedding

Image: Pixel-shot

Retail Price: Varies

Dorm room beds usually come in strange dimensions like Twin or Twin XL, making it hard to use the sheets or mattress toppers after graduating. One tip is to save your bedding for any future college-bound family members. Purchasing organic cotton or bamboo sheets will turn any dorm into a luxurious sanctuary. Organic, eco-friendly materials will ensure durable bedding, temperature control, and reduced moisture.

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