Packing college-dorm essentials
photo by phoosh
DEAR SARA: My baby is off to college soon. She will be living in the dorm about 75 miles away from home. We need to start getting together all the little essentials she will need. It has been a while (quite a while, actually) since I lived in a dorm. Can you help me come up with some items we might have missed? We know she needs long sheets, towels and laundry stuff. What else? — C.G., California
DEAR C.G.: It depends on the dorm and student, but here are some items that can be helpful.
Food-related: plastic bowl, cup, mug, utensils and can opener, snacks, storage bags or containers.
Housewares: lamp, alarm clock, trash can, storage bin such as a plastic milk crate or tote, fan, clothesline or drying rack, mini tool kit, bedding, computer, surge protector, mini fridge, hot pot, microwave, toaster oven.
Cleaning and organizing: laundry basket and soap, hangers, stain remover, quarters, all-purpose cleaner, foot locker with lock, microfiber cloth, wrinkle release and air freshener. You can get her a gift card for a local discount department store, too.
Personal care: over-the-counter medicine, toiletries, brush, clippers, school supplies, wipes, hand sanitizer, facial and toilet tissue, first-aid kit.
Additional clothing: plenty of underwear and socks, flip-flops, robe, umbrella or raincoat and boots.
DEAR SARA: What’s nonperishable and goes with Ramen noodles? I feel there should be a punch line, but there isn’t. My friend in Afghanistan is begging for Ramen noodles, and I’ll be sending him a care package. I’d like to include some things to flesh out his Ramen meals a little bit. He could pour these on top. Can you think of anything I could buy, canned or dry, that could turn Ramen noodles into a real meal and travel well? He’s stationary on base and not traveling, but storage is limited. — Margaret L., New England
DEAR MARGARET: You can send food such as hot or soy sauce or canned (pop-top) chili, chicken or tuna pouches, mushrooms, tomatoes and various other canned vegetables. Don’t send prohibited items such as pork products or foods or drinks that contain alcohol.
DEAR SARA: Over an extended period of time, I have accumulated a significant number of small soap chips. Are there any suggestions or recipes to combine these chips into a bigger piece of soap? Thanks for any help. — Bill H., e-mail
DEAR BILL: Grate the soap as much as possible. Weigh the grated soap. Use 12 ounces of water for every pound of soap. Place the grated soap and three-quarters of the water in a double boiler (or a bowl placed in a saucepan half full of water) over medium heat, and stir until all the soap is wet. Add the remaining water, and stir again. Cover the pot, and leave it to simmer. The melting process can take up to one hour, and the soap should be stirred or whisked intermittently until all lumps have dissolved. When the soap has reached a smooth, creamy consistency, remove it from the heat. Continue to stir until it begins to cool, and then pour it into a greased (PAM is fine) mold made of plastic, glass or stainless steel. Leave to set.
What dorm essentials would you give to a college student?
What do you do with soap slivers?