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    7 Creative Gift Set Ideas For Incoming Freshmen Living In Dorms

    May 5, 2018 Amanda Cross 8 min read
    Note: This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure for more details. Thanks for supporting the brands that make The Happy Arkansan possible!

    Happy Saturday lovelies!

    I know that I said I would likely only be posting on Tuesday/Thursday for the foreseeable future, but I love surprising y'all with some interesting post ideas. So many people are graduating high school and college this week, so I figured I would give you a gift guide for any incoming freshman you know who will be living in dorms.

    I want to do other gift guides throughout the summer so you can give your friends and family the perfect going away gift!

    I have seven themes listed below. Feel free to buy them as sets, or just get individual pieces. I am sharing a ton of ideas below, and I hope you like these. Let me know in the comments below which idea is your favorite!

    *This post contains affiliate links, y'all!

     7 Creative Gift Set Ideas For Incoming Freshmen Living In Dorms | Do you have any friends or family members who will be staying in a dorm soon? Check out my gift set guide so you can add some joy and practicality to their first year living the dorm life. #GiftGuide #GiftsForCollegeStudents #DormGiftIdeas #DormGiftGuide

    1. The Laundry Starter Kit

    Hear me out. Laundry is expensive AF, and not all dorms have free laundry. I was so fortunate my freshman year that my dorm didn't make us pay for laundry, but your incoming freshman may not be as lucky. Seeing as how NO ONE has cash on them, get them a:

    • Jar full of quarters
    • Tide Pods (or another laundry detergent)
    • Dryer sheets
    • Laundry basket with handles
    • Tide To Go Pen (because sometimes, you just need some easy stain removal, y'all)

    You can get as creative as you want with this starter kit. Just make sure that you are wary of the space that college students have in their dorm room. Don't go too overboard!

    Here is some inspiration for the Laundry Starter Kit Set:

    2. The Drown Out The Dorm Life Set

    What I learned while living in the dorms: dorm life is loud AF and a tad bit smelly. I decided to create this set so your incoming freshman can drown out dorm life and act as though they are living at home, even if they aren't. In this set you should get them a:

    • Pair of headphones
    • Sleeping mask
    • White noise machine
    • Small dehumidifier
    • Fan
    • Essential oil diffuser
    • Essential oil starter kit

    All in all, you just want to make dorm living as comfortable for them as possible through the use of items that make them feel at home.

    Here is some inspiration for the Drown Out The Dorm Life Set:

    3. The I need Coffee, Or I'll Die Set

    Coffee on any college campus is expensive. Most college campuses have Starbucks or some other large coffee chains and daily visits can add up. When I was in college/graduate school, I always went to Starbucks or Einstein Bros Bagels for my coffee fix, and I don't even want to look at what a bill for all that would look like! Here are some ideas to help your college student out. Get them a:

    • Keurig K15 Brewer
    • Good set of starter K-Cups
    • Reusable KCup Pod
    • Cute coffee mug (or six)
    • Creamer/sugar set

    This set will help them drink more coffee at home. They may still go out for those specialty coffees they can't brew in their dorm. Overall, though, they will be happy with what they can save when they don't have to go to Starbucks for everything.

    Here is some inspiration for the I Need Coffee Or I'll Die Set:

    4. The Dorm Room Makeover Set

    My favorite part of the dorm room process was deciding what to bring to decorate it. If the incoming freshman in your life is really picky, you may want to skip this set and just them a gift card to a place like Pottery Barn. If they are less picky, you know their style, or at least their color palette you could consider getting them stuff like:

    • Wall Tapestries
    • Canvas Paintings
    • Throw Pillows
    • Curtains
    • Posters
    • Loctite Fun-Tak Mounting Putty (sounds boring, hella helpful for adding decor to dorm walls without damage)
    • String Lights
    • Felt Letter Board

    All these excellent decor pieces combined will give them a Tumblr/Pinterest dorm room for sure! Make sure everything matches, though!

    Here is some inspiration for the Dorm Room Makeover Set:

    5. The Get Your Academic Shit together Set

    Your incoming freshman will likely spend a ton of time burning the midnight oil at their desk. Get them some items to help them make their desk feel more comfortable and easy to use such as a:

    • Laptop cooling pad
    • Desk organizers
    • Notebooks
    • Pencils, pens, markers, etc
    • Planner (We love Erin Condren in these happy parts)
    • Seat cushions
    • Ergonomic keyboards/mouse pads

    Your incoming freshman will likely already have a desk and chair on campus, but they might not be the most comfortable. Purchase some extra goodies to help them feel better while studying.

    Here is some inspiration for the Get Your Academic Shit Together Set:

    6. The I Don't Want To Use the Dorm Bathroom Set

    Dorm bathrooms are kinda icky AF. Your incoming freshman needs to be prepared for dorm life, and I hope that this set of products will help them be prepared for the shared dorm bathroom life. It's really not that bad, I promise, as long as your dorm-dwelling freshman has some essentials like a:

    • Bathrobe
    • Shower caddy
    • Dorm shoes aka flip flops aka flippity flops (You can likely get these cheaper at Old Navy or Walmart, but adding some links to Amazon in case you want to get them there.)
    • Soap/Body Wash
    • Shaving supplies
    • Towel Set

    Dorm bathroom life is so much better when you have the supplies to survive it. If your freshman doesn't share a bathroom with an entire floor, make sure they have some bathroom cleaning supplies. They don't want to be the suitemate who never cleans up!

    Here is some inspiration for the I Don't Want To Use The Dorm Bathroom set:

    7. The What Is Cooking And How Do I Do It Set

    Sometimes you won't feel like going to the cafeteria or going out to eat. For the times your incoming freshmen just wants to stay in, get them a few items to keep around their dorm for easy cooking such as a:

    • Mini-fridge (if they can, rent this from campus or share this cost with their roommate)
    • Tupperware set
    • Set of cookware (if they have room for it, otherwise, get individual pieces like a skillet and a pot)
    • Plastic dish set (don't think these are automatically microwave safe, not all plastic dishes are!)
    • Metal cutlery (don't go plastic on cutlery)
    • Kitchen utensils

    To finish out this set add some ramen noodles, pasta, mug cakes (did you know Duncan Hines sells mug cake mix?!), and other goodies for the perfect gift set. You could also add a gift card to Walmart or another grocery store as well.

    Here is some inspiration for the What Is Cooking And How Do I Do It set:


    Dorm life can be fun again with all the products I showed you today! These gifts may not make your incoming freshman squeal like money or a new car, BUT they are super practical.

    One of the best gifts I ever received when I was headed to college was a laundry basket and a bunch of supplies I could use in my dorm! At the time when I was getting gifts I was most excited about the monetary ones, but over time I realized I needed all the stuff I got in that basket.

    You should strive to get your incoming freshman gifts that keep on giving. A lot of those gifts I got my freshman year followed me all throughout college. So, choose gifts wisely and make them practical, y'all.

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    1 Comment

  • Austen Tosone May 6, 2018 at 10:15 pm

    I love this post idea! I wish I’d had a diffuser when I was a freshman, the whole dorm had such a weird smell to it.

  • Leave a Reply

    About Amanda

    Hey Y’all!
    My name is Amanda Cross, and I am the blogger behind The Happy Arkansan. I am a blogger, freelance writer, and podcaster. When I am not creating content for any of my content online, I can usually be found baking, watching YouTube, or napping. I love helping millennials and young adults navigate the mess that is adult life. Keep reading for my thoughts and experiences.

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