Whether you are planning that first dorm or apartment, or you're a junior or senior who wants to change things up a bit from previous years, here are a few tips:
Do your homework. It is exciting to shop for the dorm or new apartment, but if you're living in student housing, check the school's website to get the floor plan, what is furnished, and - importantly - the list of things prohibited in student housing. Checking in with your roommate to plan who will bring what can also save time and money.
Sleep tight. That dorm bed has probably been around awhile, so you'll want to layer linens to make it cozy and comfy. A memory foam mattress topper will give you a comfy and supportive foundation, and a mattress protector that completely encases the mattress is great for people with allergies. Top it all off with a comforter set or bed-in-a-bag that expresses your personal style and sets the tone for the overall room decor.
Multi-task. Space is limited, so bring things that can do double- or triple-duty for you. If your bed can be lofted, these bed lifts create tons of extra storage space underneath - and the extra power and USB outlets on them come in handy with all of the gadgets that have to be charged. Storage cubes provide storage and decorative accents, and also serve as seating or footstools. Desk and floor lamps with USB outlets provide needed light and charging space, and over-the-door or hanging closet organizers can corral everything from shoes and sweaters to school supplies and snacks.
Travel light. When I headed to college for my freshman year, there was barely room for me in my parent's van after we packed in all of my stuff. I wish I could have had a program like Bed Bath & Beyond's "Pack & Hold" program. You do your shopping at a store close to home, but they then package everything for you to pick up at the store closest to college! No packing, shipping, or schlepping.
Get expert advice. Bed Bath & Beyond is offering free in-store events in July, where you can shop with an expert, learn how to organize your room, and get access to special offers. Check the this schedule to find an event near you.