Evergreen’s declassified housing survival guide

Out with the old and in with the new; the basics you’ll need when moving in to starter home


Coming to college can be extremely stressful for students, or extremely fun. More often than not, teenagers are excited to move out of their parents’ house into a new community full of  new opportunities, experiences and people.

However, not all college students realize that costs of living can get expensive extremely quickly. With this in mind, here are some necessity items that first-year students MUST have, along with some places you can find them:

Mattress Foam Topper

I write this from experience: you are going to want to make your bed the comfiest thing in the world because you will spend so much time on it. Make sure you buy a mattress topper that fits the size requirements of your residence hall. You can check WSU’s website for more information on size requirements.

Comfy Foam Mattress Topper: $14.99 at Target

Authentic Comfort 2-Inch Orthopedic 5-Zone Foam Mattress Topper, Twin, $22.00 at Walmart

Fitted Mattress Cover

This bad boy will protect you and your mattress from all the gross things other people might have done/experienced on your bed. With the bed zipped in this cover, it protects you from germs, bed bugs, spiders and other horrifying, creepy things you can think of. Again, similar to the mattress foam topper: make sure you check online guidelines for the correct size.

Waterproof Fitted Mattress Protector $13.50 at Target

MainStays NexGen Waterproof Zippered Mattress Protector: $10.00 at Walmart


Okay. Listen up. These sheets better be soft, and extremely durable. You may wish to buy two sets if you wash your sheets a lot, like I do, so you can have a fresh set on hand when you’re feeling grimy in bed. Soft sheets are a must because who wants to sleep in sheets that are rough against your skin? I promise you it’s worth it.

Microfiber All Season Wrinkle-Free Sheet Set: $22.99 at Target

NC Home Fashions Beauty In Basic Solid Color Sheet Set: $10.00 at Walmart

Twin-sized Comforter and Duvet Cover

Again, bed size may differ, but having a comforter AND a duvet will be a lifesaver. The comforter should be lightweight, but warm, and a duvet will protect your comforter from all the dirt and spills that will inevitably happen on your bed. Plus, you can just take it off and throw it in the washer, and it’s smaller than a comforter, so you can do more than one load! Make sure you buy a cute, trendy pattern that you’ll love.

Micro Texture Duvet Cover Set $50.99 at Target

AmazonBasics Light-Weight Microfiber Duvet Cover Set: $18.99 at Amazon

Collapsible/Foldable Bins 

Extra storage when sharing a room with another individual can be extremely useful. You’ll probably bring more things than you need, so having the extra space under your bed or above your closet, or even in your closet, can be a lifesaver. I recommend just the bins, and not a cube, because you can fold and move the bins easily – a cube is a little harder to do that with. If you feel the need to purchase a cube later down the road, there’s a link to both below.

Fabric Cube Storage Bin: $5.00 at Target

6 Pack SimpleHouseware Foldable Cube Storage Bins: $16.85 at Amazon

Shower Caddy

Please, please, please buy one of these so you don’t have to carry endless bottles in your arms to the shower. With a multi-pouch caddy, you can store shampoo, conditioner, baby oil, shaving cream, soap, razors, a loofah and a washcloth all in one place. It is the best thing in the world. I recommend having a place to hang it up so everything can dry, and you don’t have a sopping wet spot in your room.

Mesh Shower Caddy: $8.00 at Target

Attmu Mesh Caddy: $8.99 at Amazon

Shower Shoes 

Avoiding foot fungus and gross germs is a MUST. There are all kinds of things that could be found in the shower/on the floor walking from the shower room to your room. Please invest in some cheap, but cute, flip flops. I was definitely the girl who had crocs in the shower. I splashed some dye on them and made them colorful. Have fun with these; they’re a must-have!

Women’s Brynn Flip Flop Sandals: $4.99 at Target

Classic Flip Flops for Women: $2.50 at Old Navy


Investing in some cheap, but fluffy towels, is crucial. Pick your favorite color, or a color that goes with your room scheme, and coordinate that way. You could even choose your shower shoes to match your towel! There are endless ways to spice up your shower life. 

Everyday Solid Bath Towels: $3.99 at Target

AmazonBasics 6-Piece Fade-Resistant Bath Towel Set: $19.99 at Amazon


This goes out to all of my ladies – PLEASE make sure that you have a robe. I promise you that you will not want to take clothes into the shower room, plus remove the ones you have on, and find a dry spot for it all. It’s so easy to slip off the robe and jump into the shower, and throw it back on when you’re done. 

*Also, please remember to wash it every once and awhile, along with your towels. 

Women’s Beautifully Soft Robe: $27.99 at Target

MAXMODA Women Kimono Robe: $28.99 at Amazon

Collapsible Laundry Bin/Basket 

In order to do laundry in a residence hall, you have to carry dirty clothes down the hall to the washer and dryer. It’s definitely a pain, but it can be easy when you have a collapsible laundry basket. Not only does it provide storage when you move, but it can be conformed to any smaller space in your closet, if you need room.

Pop-Up Laundry Hamper: $7.99 at Target

Mesh Pop-Up Laundry Hamper: $6.99 at Amazon


Investing in some hangers is a must. You will need to fold and store some clothes, but having shirts and other crucial items hanging for easy access on a busy school morning is helpful. Plus you can hang things to dry after your laundry days.

18-Pack of Hangers: $2.00 at Target

Better Homes & Gardens Rubberized Non-Slip Hangers: $4.88 at Walmart

An Extension Cord 

Between laptop chargers, phone chargers, possible lamps and other necessities, multiple outlets are a must. There are only so many in your room. Try to have at least two of these bad boys, so you have multiple options for outlets when the time inevitably comes that you need more.

Woods 6’ Extension Cord: $6.00 at Target

Power Strip AHRISE Extension Cord: $14.97 at Amazon

Command Hooks 

Okay. These things are lifesavers. You can use these to hang decor, full-length mirrors, lights, tapestries, and more across your half of the room. They can hold cords in place along a desk, or hold up a white board so you can write yourself or your roommate notes. They are all around extremely handy. Buying some in multiple sizes for a variety of purposes is the best way to go.

Walmart or Target should have these available in multiple sizes.

Mini Fridge 

You’re inevitably going to be hungry when a dining hall is closed. So, the simplest solution to this is to have a fridge stocked with small snack items, like cheese and crackers, applesauce, granola bars, fruit, trail mix and jerky.

Sunbeam 1.7 Cubic Feet Mini Refrigerator: $89.99 at Target

Black + Decker Compact Refrigerator Mini Fridge: $122.47 at Amazon

Clorox Wipes

These are so useful to have to quickly wipe down surfaces you use all the time when flu season comes around. Need to clean a sticky spot off of your desk? Clorox wipe. Need to wipe down surfaces because your roommate has a cold? Pull out those Clorox wipes. They’re great for literally anything.

Walmart or Target should have this product available.

Items from Home 

Picture collages, blankets, stuffed animal or two; all of the things that you think you can leave at home should come with you. It will help when you’re homesick, and just need a little slice of “home”. Parents can send you care packages, but it takes a while to get there. This way, you can bring some of your identity with you while you’re attempting to recreate yourself miles from home.