Dorm Survival 101: A Back-To-School Special

August 6, 2023 by Kenmore

The back-to-school season is upon us, and for some kids that means off-to-campus for the very first time.

The first year away from home is bound to be filled with new and exciting experiences, but there’s no reason your young scholar can’t bring a little bit of home with them. Healthy foods and freshly washed (and unshrunk!) clothes can still be enjoyed, even with dorm living.

Pass these tips along to your new college kids to make sure they’re prepared when they leave the nest.

Bring the Essentials

While being away from home for weeks and months can seem a bit overwhelming at times, there’s no reason to overpack – dorm room space is going to be pretty limited. But you’ll definitely need to remember to bring the bare necessities:

Bedding (with at least 2 sets of sheets)

Waste basket

Desk lamp

At least one cheesy wall poster

A few cups and plates

Towels and shower shoes

Hangers and closet storage

Air purifier

And don’t forget to bring a toaster and coffee maker!

Foods to Keep in the Dorm

It’s a fact: kids are going to snack. And if they’re living unsupervised for the first time in their lives, they will tend to snack on whatever they want, whenever they want. Suddenly adding a few unwanted pounds is not an uncommon experience. Ever heard of the “freshman 15”? The struggle is real.

But staying healthy in the dorm doesn’t have to be a struggle. Keep these handy snacks and ingredients around for a quick energy boost or a better way to fill up between meals.

Dry storage: Raw almonds, canned tuna, bananas, oranges, apples, dried fruit, trail mix, canned fruits (with water, not syrup), protein bars, popcorn, canned soup or chili, oats, cereal, rice or quinoa, nut butter, and crackers.

Seasonings: Salt, black pepper, stevia, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, hot sauce, soy sauce, and popcorn seasoning.

For the fridge: Hummus, carrots, shredded rotisserie chicken, yogurt, avocados, steamer bags of frozen veggies, applesauce, string cheese or mini cheese wheels, and lunch meats.

Pro tip: We offer an assortment of compact refrigerators that are just right for small dorm-room spaces and studio apartments.

Simple Laundry Tips

You never realize how much you took clean, fresh clothes for granted until the day you have to do a load of your own. No need to worry about shrunken shirts, stains on your favorite pants or turning those white socks pink. Our simple laundry tips are easy enough for everyone to follow.

First things first: they’ll need a laundry basket that’s easy to carry around, detergent, fabric softener and/or dryer sheets, and a mesh wash bag for delicates. Throw in an iron and ironing board if they’re ambitious (or just want to make mom proud).

Pick a good time to do laundry, preferably when there are no waiting lines for machines. Nighttime is usually best, since most people will have tried to get their laundry done during the morning or afternoon. Most importantly, stay by your clothes! Bring a book, computer or even homework and enjoy some quiet time while you wait. Sticking around ensures no one can take clothes out before they’re done or “borrow” a favorite shirt.

We don’t know who needs to hear this, but please separate clothes into whites, colors and darks to keep them looking their best. Nobody wants those new white pants coming out light pink.

Choose the right water temperature: hot for whites, linens and towels; cold for anything you don’t want to shrink or fade; warm for just about everything else. If you’re not sure about what to use for the dryer, just stick with the Normal setting.

Wash your clothes inside out to prevent any fabric damage and to get a good thorough clean. This will also protect any embellishments on your clothes.

And here’s a tip for Mom and Dad… Junior is still going to come home with an epic load of dirty laundry to wash from time to time. If you’d like to upgrade your home laundry center with a higher capacity top-load washer, we’ve got you covered.


The Kenmore brand represents 100 years of trusted performance, backed by exclusive features and innovations that no other brand can bring to the table. We’re always evolving to ensure day-to-day tasks are taken care of with faster cooking, better cleaning and more living throughout the home.