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Life at East: The science of college shopping

Published: Wednesday, July 23, 2014 10:53 p.m. CDT

Now that we’re well into July, the college sales are starting to heat up. Not to brag or anything, but I’m pretty much an expert in this category. I’ve been ready since June, but the stores have only just caught up to my preparedness.

When it comes to college shopping, there are a few staple stores where one should stick to. Bed Bath and Beyond has a wide selection of a lot of basic stuff. IKEA is the place to get cool and cheap stuff that you’ll want to use even after graduation. Of course, Target is the go-to place for anything (and everything) cute. They have all the things that you didn’t know you needed, but probably cannot possibly live without. 

While everyone knows all the basics they need, we Ackermans have whittled the shopping process down to a science, including some speciality items that I’m planning to take with me. Milk crates are cute, cheap, stackable (to compensate for the inevitable lack of storage), and perfect for carrying everything in and out of the dorms. Plus, they can be used as garbage/recycling cans or laundry baskets on the fly. They’re perfect and one of the most useful things on my list. Another item I’m taking – thanks to my oldest sister – is painter’s tape. I’ll be able to tape posters to walls/doors and hold together broken things – and take it off whenever I want – without even a mark left as evidence. 

I’m also taking some things that I already have with me, like some books and pillows, and most of my school supplies. It’s amazing what kind of useful stuff I can find when I look through the depths of my room. I keep reminding myself that I will also have many of my fabulous pairs of shoes along for the ride. 

It’s tempting to buy everything in sight, but I know when I get to campus in the fall, I’ll realize just how small my dorm really is. In the past, my sisters took everything they had set aside, and my parents usually brought back a few things. Over visits back home, I know I’ll be able to bring back things that didn’t work and take more of what was useful. I certainly won’t be stranded on campus with that clothes steamer that I’ve never used. 

I know that in the end, my college experience won’t be made up of material things, but rather the things that aren’t neatly shelved in any Target. I do think it’s nice to know that that very first day, which will be both scary and exciting, I can at least be friends with my backpack and closet organizer. Over my years in college, I’ll enjoy countless new experiences and all the new stuff that comes along with them. Who knows, maybe some of them won’t involve milk crates. 

• Brigid Ackerman is a recent graduate of St. Charles East High School. She enjoys playing the trumpet, eating bread and writing this column, which now runs every Thursday. Contact her at editorial@kcchronicle.com.

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