Summer feels like it has really just begun but as a parent of a university student now heading into second year, we are getting organized NOW. After experiencing the first year with the kid and the shopping list we’ve learned a few things that we will continue to build on as we move towards another exciting new school year.

Through recommendations by several families last year, we did most of the residence (dorm room) shopping through Bed, Bath & Beyond. (Disclaimer: the company had no idea that I had written about our experience until after it was published.) Yes, you could shop online – very handy with checklists that I could manage with my kid and other families members that wanted to pitch in. I also learned that this company will deliver to the residence or offer to hold all items at their nearest location to the university or college. But what really was impressive was the ability to see what was already provided by individual residence in each University. This is where we discovered that the bed lengths in our son’s university res were actually longer than average.

After going through year one, there were items that were suggested on the list that we initially thought weren’t really necessary, or we had forgotten about, only to find out (after the party weeks were over)that we should have gotten them in the first place. No worries, we placed several additional order to be shipped to him.

Here are 10 essential items we would definitely add to the “most often forgotten about” list…

Door hooks, Poster Hooks or Sticky Tak: moving into unfamilar space can be overwhelming. Once your kid has all the necessities, she’ll want to give it a personal touch. No nails in the walls so removable hooks and sticky tak will help put up posters, photos, and wipe boards. A door hook will help keep coats or backpacks from living on the floor.

We love this Umbra photo and keepsake collage holder!

Collapsable Laundry Tote: A few days or week’s worth of laundry needs to get to and from the communal laundry room efficiently.

Clothes Drying Rack: Not everything will go into the heavy duty clothes dryer – that favourite lucky study sweater? Yeah, we don’t want it to shrink either. Find a collapsable one that can be put away when not in use.

Food Storage Containers: For the bulk barn runs, leftovers, and opened chip and candy bags. Food stays fresher longer and keeps out possible unwanted critters.

Microwaveable bowls: Microwaves are perfect for reheating leftovers but kids don’t always know what can be safely used. Start them off with

Swiffer Wet: So, you think there’s a cleaning person coming in to help with the sticky floors all the time? Think again. But we’ve found the Swiffer Wet system fast and affordable to keep the floors clean from spills and such.

Personal Mini Fridge: Yes, we all start off being civil with which corner of the fridge is ours but then we have overflow and want quick access convenient for those late night studying sessions. Also, great for daily meds that need to stay cool and within arms reach.

Gormia fits up to 6 cans and a shelf can be removed for taller items.

Lockable Mini Safe: For those important things keep them in one place and locked away out of sight.

Kettle: for that late-night cup of soothing sleepy chamomile tea or mint tea to aid with digestion and for those “in-a-pinch” instant noodles or oatmeal snacks.

Kate Spade

Air freshener: Let’s be real, do dorms ever really smell fresh? Especially if you have to share a bathroom with others, have your room close to the bathroom, or kitchen.

Where else do we love to shop? is great and so is Staples Canada for so many great essentials. Good to comparison shop if you have time time now to get some of the items checked off your back to school list.