As crazy as it sounds, a new school year is just around the corner. How did that happen? I haven’t even started my New Years resolutions yet! But there’s no getting around it, September will be here before you know it, so if you’re heading off to university this fall, now is the time to start collecting everything you need to make your dorm as comfortable as possible–including these essential dorm room appliances.
Coffee and university go together like peanut butter and jelly, like Bert and Ernie, like celebrities and divorce! Needless to say, a coffee maker is a much-needed appliance in any dorm room. First and foremost, in the interest of safety, make sure you choose a model that comes with an automatic shut-off feature. That way there’s no risk of it being left on when you rush to class or unexpectedly fall asleep while you are writing a term paper in the wee hours. As for what type to go with, I recommend a model that serves double duty like Hamilton Beach’s 2-Way Brewer.
With its dual mode, you can choose to brew a full pot of coffee from grounds for those late night study sessions, or just pop in a K-cup to brew a fresh cup right into your to-go mug before you head out the door for class.
Even if you are a part of your dorm’s meal plan, sometimes you just aren’t going to want to (or be able to) go to the cafeteria to eat three meals a day. That’s where a mini fridge comes in super handy, like this sleek stainless steel Bar Fridge from GE. With its three shelves and convenient can dispenser, it has ample room for snacks like yogurts, fruit, veggies, leftovers, and beer … non-alcoholic of course! It also has a built-in mini freezer so you can keep a stock of Pop Tarts and mini pizzas on hand for those days when the thought of leaving your computer is just crazy talk, which will happen; I guarantee it!
If your school allows microwaves in dorm rooms, get one! Sure, they take up a bit of space, but if you also get a mini fridge, your microwave can sit right on top of it leaving the rest of your surfaces available for their intend uses, like studying or putting on makeup. With a microwave, like this 1.1 cubic foot guy from LG, you can pop popcorn, reheat leftovers, heat up old coffee, melt cheese on bread (yum), and “cook” an endless assortment of frozen dinners. As someone who didn’t live in residence but spent a lot of time visiting friends who did, I can vouch for the fact that a microwave is a much loved addition in any dorm room.
If you’re keeping Pop Tarts in your mini freezer, you need something to toast them up to delicious perfection, like a toaster! In fact, you can use a toaster for things like toast too … who knew! Since space will be an issue in your dorm room–sorry, it’s inevitable–forego a four slice toaster and go with a two slicer that will take up minimal space, like this one from Hamilton Beach. Its extra wide slots accommodate most types of bread, and it includes a dedicated bagel setting, so no matter what you’re looking to toast up, it’s got you covered. Plus, it’s defrost setting means that you don’t need to worry about defrosting your bread the night before you think you might want to eat it! Just pop it in frozen, and it will do the work for you.
If you’re absolutely convinced that you need a four-slice toaster, opt for something streamlined like this Long Slot 4-Slice Toaster from Breville. It’s longer than it is wide, so storage will be a bit easier.
When you’re on the go all the time, it can be difficult to consistently eat well-balanced meals. But with a sandwich maker, doing just that is as easy as tossing some ham, cheese, lettuce, and tomato between two slices of bread and toasting it up to gooey perfection in a sandwich maker like the Total Chef 4-in-1 Grill.
It’s really easy to clean, so you don’t need to tote it to the communal kitchen to scrub it down every time you make a sandwich–just a quick wipe, and you’re golden. It also works as a waffle maker, grill and griddle, so if you decided you want to grill a chicken breast one night, or whip up some waffles after a late night out, it’s got you covered. Even better? It stands on end for easy storage, so will take up minimal space in your dorm room.
In the online sleuthing that I did prior to writing this post, I found that there are very few schools that allow toaster ovens, BUT, if yours does, it a perfect dorm room appliance since it acts as a toaster, oven, microwave, and sandwich maker all in one. True, it can’t pop popcorn, but it can reheat leftovers, toast bread, cook frozen food, and melt cheese for the perfect sandwich. This Toaster Oven from Hamilton Beach is designed to cook up to 33% faster than a traditional oven, so while you likely won’t be able to bust out a Thanksgiving dinner with it, you can certainly whip up a 12” pizza, some potpies, or even a whole chicken.
When you spill your cereal, have a roommate that enjoys clipping his or her nails on their bed, or simply just like to keep things tidy, you’ll appreciate having a hand-held vacuum in your dorm room. The best part is that they don’t take up a lot of space. In fact, you can likely store one under your bed, and just bring it out when you need to clean things up.
Or, in the case of the Kalorik Artisan Handheld Vacuum, keep it in the corner–your friends might even think it’s a sculpture. Ok, maybe not, but it’s pretty cute compared to other vacuums out there. It comes in a variety of colours, and has built-in hidden storage for all the attachments you need to keep your space spic and span.
Yes, I am aware that a power bar is not an appliance, but if you’re planning on plugging in multiple appliances and other electronic devices like a laptop, smartphone charger and alarm clock, you should get yourself a power bar because you’ll be lucky if you have more than two outlets in your dorm room.
Before you venture out and purchase everything on your wish list, it’s a good idea to first check your school’s website to see if they have a list of items that are and aren’t permitted in dorm rooms. Not all schools are the same, so while one may allow toaster ovens and space heaters, another may not. Also, if you’ll be sharing your dorm with a roommate, contact them before the start of the school year to see what appliances they plan on bringing with them, otherwise you may end up with two mini-fridges in a very cramped space.
*Main image courtesy of Arkansas Next