If your teen is heading off to college or university this fall and living on campus you’re probably starting to sort out what living essentials are needed. There are the obvious…laptops, bedding, desk lights, towels, disinfectant wipes.  But what else does your kid need?

As our family goes through this a second time around, we have a useful list of items that you may not have considered and now is the time to start gathering. We also recognize that as we’re still facing supply chain catch up globally. Certain items will require more time to be delivered. Particularly tech. Order your laptops ASAP, folks! (and watch for University/College student offers).

So, I tapped into my recent university graduate and other students to find out what they thought was most useful that students/parents should consider grabbing now…

Tech: If you’re planning to use an existing laptop, then now is the time to clean up the hard drives and see if any additional upgrades are needed.  Printers can be shared amongst roommates to help save space and unnecessary costs. Most assignments are submitted online anyway. Also, if your kid has online courses in place, two monitors are handy — one to watch the the lecture and another for taking notes.

Noise Cancelling Headphones or Apple AirPods Pro:  handy for those times of studying in room while the roomies are partying it up or just being themselves. lol But seriously, can’t live without when you’re in a dorm to help concentrate. The Apple AirPods Pro in-ear headphones has Active Noise Cancellation adapt to the shape of the ear for a comfortable fit while blocking out the rest of the world so you can focus on what needs to be done. Distractions are real!

First Aid Kit & Meds: Colds, flus, and covid variants are hanging around so you’ll want to have some over-the-counter meds handy. Also, be sure to have prescriptions renewed. Grab a full First-Aid Kit at your local pharmacy or other retailer like Staples.ca  for those times when stuff just happens. Bandages, Polysporin, mini scissors, tweezers, gauze, Tylenol/Advil, Benadryl, rubber gloves, wipes all come in handy in a pinch.  Be sure to find out where the on campus medical walk-in clinic is located ahead of time.

In-room fridge: Depending on your dorm situation, a mini-fridge can come in very handy – but check out the situation first. No rush to get this immediately. The Fridgedaire 1.6 cubic feet fridge is CFC free and has a built in accurate adjustable thermostat so you can keep your food and drinks at the perfect temperature. Within the fridge there is a freezer compartment. The sides of the door sport a very convenient 2 litre bottle holder. With a space saving flush back design and a clever reversible door that allows you to open the fridge to the right or the left, you can safely and conveniently place this fridge in any spot!

Water Bottles and Insulated Tumblers: For warm and cold beverages on the go for those late night study periods or in lecture halls. We had a few ready to go. YETI line is sturdy, keeps up with campus life and looks great too. We like these because they’re easy to clean too! We spotted a few at Sport Chek. (Updated note: they are now partnering with Door Dash for any last minute shopping of orders up to $200 before 2 pm for same day delivery for in-stock items!)

Rice Cooker: For a convenient way to have rice handy this affordable Black and Decker Personal Size 3-cup Rice Cooker is the ideal size for students. With just a touch of a button, students can have perfectly fluffy rice in about 20 minutes without worry. Press the button and that’s it! Different colour light indicates when it’s ready to eat. 3 cups of cooked rice is ready! The rice cooker will also automatically switch to keep warm when rice is cooked. The cooking vessel is also non-stick for easy cooking.  I’ll have a few quick and easy rice recipes coming up soon!

Smoothie Blender: For those times in between meals or when you’re in a rush. It’s easy to quickly make a healthy smoothie to grab and head off to the lecture hall. This Hamilton Beach Personal Creations Blend Blender includes a travel lid so there’s no extra items to clean. It’s also dishwasher safe!

Coffee Makers: Instead of line ups and costs that can add up with coffee lovers, the Keurig K-Express Essentials Single Serve Coffee Maker fits well into dorm life. This have-it-all coffee maker is a great way to experience  coffee made with the push of a button convenience – at a budget friendly price. Enjoy a delicious cup of hot, freshly brewed coffee in minutes – with no prep and no mess. The 36 oz reservoir means you can make cup after cup without refilling, and back-to-back brewing means you don’t have to wait for your coffee maker to reheat before brewing a second cup. Plus, you can choose your favorites from the hundreds of coffee brands and flavors available in K-Cup pods, including tea or hot cocoa.

Another affordable, simplest and most enjoyable ways to make your own cup of coffee is with the Melitta Single Serve Pour Over. It doesn’t require pods or machinery that needs to be plugged in. Instead, it’s an elegant porcelain vessel that sits over your mug. Add a eco-friendly bamboo paper filter then grounded coffee and then slowly pour boiled water over top the grounds for a perfect brew. Cost effective and easy to clean (rinse with water and let dry). For coffee, we’ve found President’s Choice Costa Rica (pre-ground) a wonderful brew!  It’s also kept in sustainable and eco-friendly packaging.Kettle: it’s often overlooked but it comes in handy! This Hamilton Beach Stainless Steel Electric Kettle option heats water faster than in a microwave and safer than on a stovetop with just a push of a button. Its powerful rapid-boil system provides heat within minutes, so you’ll have boiling water ready for everything from tea to instant noodle soup. It also has an automatic shut off with boil dry protection to keep the kettle from scorching.


Air Purifier: Dorm rooms can be stuffy or well, smelly. This Dyson Pure Cool Me BP 01 is designed to be a personal purifier that’s engineered to improve the air quality in a small space. It cools when needed. The machine has a sealed filter combined with an active carbon and glass HEPA layer to help capture gases, pollens, allergens, mould and bacteria and 99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 microns. The user can adjust the angle ofthe airflow easily and easy to clean. Timer can be set to turn off. 

We were also invited to Staples for the launch of their Let’s Find Out: Canada’s Official Back to School Guide equipping parents, teachers and students (of all grades) with everything they need to make Back to School simply amazing in the coming months! Link here to learn more. Also, stay tuned for our next BTS post where Libby will concentrate on tweens and teens heading into High School.