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The Ultimate Off-Campus Student Housing Needs List

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Before moving into off-campus student housing, there are a few things you do need to bring with you.

However, there are many items you don’t need to bring when moving off-campus.

Today, from experienced students, I’ve put this off-campus student housing needs list.

The Ultimate Off-Campus Student Housing Needs List
Off-campus Student Housing Tips From An Experienced Student

Mistake One: Student Housing Is Bringing Too Much Stuff

If you’re moving into student housing come September, you might want to prepare for dorm or apartment life with or without roommates.

Related: How should student roommates share the grocery bill?

I’m already getting emails from students asking for advice about moving into their first apartment to attend University or College.

I thought student housing would be an excellent topic to discuss before students rush out and spend money on things they don’t need.

When we are younger, we have a preconceived notion about living on our own because we typically associate living at home with being the same but on a smaller scale.

It is and isn’t, so you don’t need to hire a moving truck unless you plan to stick around for a long time.

When students start returning to town, typically, we see trucks and U-haul trailers filled with stuff for students living off campus.

Most first-year students stay on campus because student residence is a great place to meet people.

It’s also a security blanket for many who have meal cards and eat at the University and college.

Other students with older siblings at the same school or a few friends may opt to rent a house or three-bedroom apartment and split the costs.

A typical student house is partly furnished, whether it be the landlord or previous students leaving stuff behind.

Even if you plan to rent a room in a house, you may find that your student accommodation for the year comes with a furnished room and all the extras you can shake a stick at.

Pack only personal belongings and clothes, and you’re set.

Unfortunately, the above doesn’t go smoothly due to over-packing and believing that we can’t survive without something.

I remember when I was off to University, everyone was giving me advice about what I’d need and although I took their tips, there were many I could have done without.

Minimalist Student Quarters For Student Housing

student housing dorms in Ontario Canada
Student Housing

You don’t need to bring EVERYTHING! You will be going home to visit, so keep your bed at home unless you plan on sleeping on the floor.

I am a minimalist student kind of guy, and Mrs. CBB is a “What if the girl,” which means she can think up any scenario and attach a “what if” designation to it.

One of the biggest mistakes Mrs. CBB made when she moved into her first apartment in Hamilton, Ontario, to go to school was bringing too much stuff.

No word of a lie; she had her father bring a massive, solid wood bedroom set with two side tables and a gigantic full-length dresser and mirror.

That was one of the worst decisions she said she had made, especially when she realized that her apartment was on the top of a house.

Not only that, but she didn’t need it and could have gone with a single bed or comfy futon.

Back then, computers were not in homes like today, and there was no such thing as cell phones with wi-fi.

Think big, chunky car phone that sits in between the console.

It was difficult to research what she needed to bring when it came to student housing, so she kept the mindset that she was moving into her first apartment for good.

It’s never good when you move away from school, at least for most students.

Let her experience teach you that student housing doesn’t have to be posh and decorated like you’re hanging out with your parents.

It just needs to be functional with all the right stuff.

Moving away can be overwhelming (been there, done that), so don’t get caught up in the “on my own” for good ideation.

Most students will move back home after graduating, especially if they are still looking for a job.

Cost of living, consumer debt and student debt are two other reasons graduating students move home.

If a student is fortunate to find a career in their hometown, paying down student loans and other debts along with rent to their parents is often the cheapest route.

Ultimate Off-Campus Student Housing Needs List

Today I’ve put together what I believe is the ultimate list of off-campus student housing needs.

The “KISS” theory of Keep it Simple Silly should apply. 

I read an article recently about what students need to bring along with them when going to University, and I honestly thought they were moving house.

Don’t make this mistake.

The last thing you want to do before moving away for College or University is bringing some stuff you won’t use during your school year.


It’s a waste of time and energy, and you’ll have to either sell it or lug it back home once you’re done, in between semesters or during the summer holidays.

This is another reason you see students subletting their apartments.

It keeps them on good terms with the landlords, and they can keep their stuff in the apartment instead of bringing it home.

This list below is not exhaustive but an ultimate list of the basics you need to bring as opposed to what you can buy once you’ve moved into your student housing rental.

You can also print The Ultimate Off-Campus Student Housing Needs List from the Free Downloads Tools page along with a Free Budget Download.

Before moving to your student housing accommodations, ask the landlord what furniture is in the rental.

If you plan to live with other students, you should all plan to meet or Zoom each other to chat about furniture and other household items that you can bring.

Although you don’t always have to buy new, keep looking at second-hand shops or garage sales throughout the summer.

If you’re lucky, you might even score free stuff from your parents.

The last thing you want to do before moving away for College or University is to bring a bunch of stuff you won’t use during your school year.


It’s a waste of time and energy, and you’ll have to either sell it or lug it back home once you’re done or in

This list is not exhaustive but an ultimate list of the basics you may need to bring, such as your personal needs.

You may find something, not on the list; however, please comment on the blog post, and I’ll add it.

Pick and choose wisely so you don’t get too much crap.

Student Housing Bedroom

minimalist student dorm room
  • Futon if the landlord supplies no bed. Keep bed bugs in mind when moving into a furnished space.
  • Side table and lamp
  • Outlet extension cord
  • Small table/desk for studying with a comfy chair
  • Cozy Rug if hardwood or laminate flooring
  • Blackout curtains (if you are a light sleeper) along with earplugs
  • Bedding, Blankets, Pillow and comforter
  • Two sets of sheets, including pillow cases, fitted and top sheets
  • Personal items – neck rest, medical pillow, Special shoes, Alarm clock

Student Housing Furniture and Décor

  • You don’t need to decorate student housing unless you need that touch of home. Buying a few second-hand bits once you arrive will suffice whether you add a photo to the wall, candle stick holders, plants etc.
  • Sofa, Love seat and lounge chair (or a mix of)
  • Television and other electronic gadgets
  • Television and computer screen cleaner
  • Curtains and Rug (if needed)
  • Lamps and side tables
  • Coffee table, Kitchen table

Clothing, Outerwear and Accessories

  • Keep in mind the seasons you will be attending school and pack appropriately.
  • Boots, Casual shoes, Running Shoes, Slippers
  • Winter, Fall, Spring Jacket, House Coat
  • Umbrella
  • Raincoat
  • Hats, Mitts, Scarves
  • Running shoes
  • Dress shoes
  • Pyjamas, Boxers and other intimate wear
  • Socks
  • Hangers
  • Lint Roller
  • Iron/Ironing Board (if needed)

Student Housing Kitchen Supplies

kitchen eating utensils dorm life
  • Two pots, large and medium, with lids
  • Strainer
  • Cheese grater
  • Forks, Knives, Spoons and knives for meal prep
  • Measuring cups
  • Bowls, plates
  • Mugs, glasses
  • Coffee pot and kettle
  • Cooking Utensils (Dollar Store)
  • Tea Towels, Dish rack and Dish scrubber
  • Cake pan, muffin pan, loaf pan, baking sheet
  • Hand Mixer, Hand blender, blender
  • Cutting Boards 3 (dry, meat and fish, vegetables)
  • Aluminum foil, cling wrap, baggies, paper bags, grocery bags
  • Plastic or glass storage containers ( I have a great post on the blog about containers)
  • Milk Jug (if needed)
  • Juice Jug (if required)
  • Can Opener
  • Toaster
  • Rice Cooker
  • Coffee Filters (if needed)

Student Housing Pantry Supplies

kitchen utentils for dorm life students
  • Stocking your panty can happen once you arrive at student housing.
  • Set time aside to discuss how to plan food and pantry staples for the kitchen with your roommates.
  • I also have a Student Pantry List that you can review for more insight on the blog.
  • Most students buy their groceries but split on kitchen essentials such as condiments, cleaning supplies and Kitchenware.

Related: The Ultimate Student Pantry List

Cleaning Supplies

  • Broom and Mop
  • Dish Cloths and Tea Towels
  • Dish Soap
  • Hand sanitizer
  • All-Purpose Cleaner, Vinegar and Spray bottles
  • Dishwasher solution
  • Vacuum
  • Garbage bags or bin bags

Student Housing Bathroom

bathroom care dorm life students

If it is easier to go shopping for personal items, do it when you arrive by going to the appropriate stores.

  • Bath towel, Hand Towel, Face Towel, Washcloth
  • Toilet Paper, Paper towels, tissue
  • Personal Care items ex: make-up, cologne, perfume, mouthwash, hair gel, hygiene products
  • Rug
  • Toilet plunger
  • Toilet brush
  • Cleaning supplies *see list
  • First-Aid kit

Student Housing Laundry

laundry student housing
  • Laundry Basket
  • Laundry Soap and Fabric Softener
  • Hangers
  • Drying Rack (if needed)
  • Stain remover
  • A small bottle of bleach
  • Bucket of small coins for laundromat if no laundry facilities are available

School Supplies

  • Laptop, Desktop, Smart Phone, All chargers
  • Pencil Case filled with pens, eraser, pencils, highlighter, calculator etc.
  • Binders
  • Reading light
  • Text Books
  • Dry Erase Board or Calendar

A quick visit to the Dollar Store, Walmart or Staples may yield great deals.

Also, pop into the second-hand shop first as there are always tonnes of student supplies for cheap, especially if you want to kit your desk area.


  • You can’t purchase personal care items at the grocery store, or they are far too expensive to re-buy.
  • If you need your hair straightener, bring one instead of buying another when you move.
  • Glasses, Sunglasses and any other medical devices
  • Medications and Doctor information
  • Fit Bit, Movies, Books, Hobby items, Sports equipment or accessories
  • Bike or other means of transportation, which may include a spare key
  • Identification and other essential documents
  • Rental agreement and Tenants Insurance
  • Vehicle Insurance
  • Banking and Loan information

Financial Budget For All Students

Miscellaneous for Student Housing

  • Telephone for a phone line in the bedroom
  • Mirror for your wall
  • Vehicle necessities include lock-deicer, winter tires, first aid kit, oil, spare tire, jack, and washer fluid.
  • Drink coasters
  • Special batteries
  • Light-bulbs
  • Owner’s manuals for everything or links to find them online
  • Tool kit
  • Flashlight
  • Bug Spray
  • Lighter
  • Air Freshener
  • Shovel

Thanks for visiting, and don’t forget to subscribe to the blog for lots of great tips throughout your school year(s).

Avoid bringing a bedroom set if you can and opt for furnished student housing, or purchase a futon or cheap bed from Kijiji when you arrive at your new apartment.

Most people will deliver for a small fee in town if you don’t own a truck.

Overall, be mindful of what you plan to bring when renting student housing alone, with friends or with another family as a room rental.

The best part is that you can sell what you don’t need before you move or see if the landlord wants to keep it for the next student.

Here’s that download link again for The Ultimate Off-Campus Student Housing Needs List.

Discussion Question: What else should this Ultimate Off-Campus Student Housing Needs List be added?

Share your comments below and any experiences you may have had while renting your student housing accommodations for school.

The Saturday Weekend Review

If you follow me on Facebook, you know that I’ve been out-of-town training for my new full-time job.

It might sound odd since I’ve worked for the organization for about four years, but I was amazed at how different it was to be a full-time employee rather than on contract.

The home-front potty training is going well, but we removed the small potty as he hates using it.

We’ve had three potties, and he’s turned his nose to them.

I agree with some parents who say why to add another step in the process and just do it on the toilet.

Now, he uses the toilet at home for number one and has no diaper for most of the day.

Number 2

Crab Apples have been going like hotcakes as friends and neighbours have been by to scoop them up.

I’m thinking about giving the rhubarb a haircut this weekend as it’s large and ready to be picked.

I will also donate the ruhbarb to our neighbour, who loves to dip it in sugar.

How was your week?


CBB Published Posts


If you have a question, you would like to ask me, fill out the Contact Mr.CBB form on the blog home page, and I’ll do my best to reply to each question.

If you would like to share a story via a Fan Question, please ensure that there are a minimum of 500 words and lots of details.

Contact me for more info at, or you can find me on Twitter (@Canadianbudgetb), Facebook, Tumblr, and Flipboard.

Top Post This Week: How Much Should My Grocery Budget Be?

Top Finance Weekly Read

This week, one of my favourite reads was a contribution post at Side Hustle Nation about how this guy started reselling shoes making $10,000 a month.

He details in this post how he started his venture, where he buys his shoes, popular shoes that sell for big bucks and why you should think of the 10x rule when purchasing and reselling.

Essentially it means why go small when you can go big? He also quit his job and flips shoes full-time now.

Enjoy the read.

Making A Difference (MAD)

Welcome to 2017 Making A Difference series! Join the networking movement of Personal Finance Bloggers around the world.

If you are a personal finance blogger and would like your blog to be featured, simply drop me an email. I’m currently booking September/October 2017-Limited spots.

milliondollarjourney logo

Hello CBB readers!

It’s always fun writing for a new audience, especially those in alignment with my core beliefs of building wealth through saving and investing. I’m FT, the founder, blogger and editor of (MDJ).

MDJ started in 2006 (yes 2006!) as a hobby project to help me stay accountable towards my financial goals.

At the time, we (my spouse and I) were only a few years out of University, 27 years old, with major debt, but still with a respectable net worth of $200,000.

We set a big financial goal of being millionaires by the age of 35 and used the blog to post monthly updates on our progress.

While we’ve written about and used a number of strategies to build wealth, the largest factor by far was our ability to live below our means and save money.

The ability to have excess cash flow every month allowed us to pay off our student debt ($50k+), car loans, and even our mortgage (paid off in 3 years).

Although I started investing at a young age, it really became the forefront of wealth building when our debt servicing cash all flowed into investments.
Even with 2 young children, we still maintained our goals and managed to hit the big million dollar milestone by June 2014, a few months ahead of schedule.

Since hitting the million dollar mark, our financial goals have changed focus to financial independence.

What does that mean? We are building our passive income sources, mostly through dividend income, to the point that they can pay for our recurring expenses.

At that point, we’ll have a lot more choice on what to do with our time.

The goal is for this to happen in the next couple of years with quarterly updates along the way.

Although MDJ started off as a financial diary, the real goal is to help and inspire as many people as possible in improving their finances.

We have articles that range from the best free credit cards in Canada, to saving strategies, to step by step instructions on how to build a portfolio.

I hope to see you around the blog!

Fan Brag of the Week

Jen Peacock is back with her Garage Sale Finds 2017 and boy, does she have a nice haul this week.

Send me your brag to Whether posted on CBB or not, every brag gets an entry into a yearly draw for gift cards or cash!!! It’s that easy.

jens garage sale deals 2017 june

Hey Everyone,

I picked up quite a few great deals at garage sales this weekend.

  • I spent a little more than usual today but got some excellent deals.
  • Boys’ bike and Cars fold sleeping cot (in the red bag) $20 (they were asking $15 for the bike and $10 for the cot)
  • Stop sign $.50 (were asking $1)
  • Brand new dog toy (for a friend) $2 (we were asking $5)
  • White yarn $.50 (we were asking $1)
  • Wooden train Free!
  • Four bag clips, sponge, toy phone, various yarn and ribbon $2.25
  • Playing school set $1 (we were asking $3)
  • Sand toys/buckets $1
  • Outdoor side table $3 (we were asking $5)

Total spent $30.25 (I just have to add that a coworker was going out to get his son a brand new bike this weekend – the same age as my son – and he will pay triple or more what I spent on everything today!

CBB Words of Wisdom

don't put so much pressure on yourself to be correct when the answers are right in front of you meme

Top Recipe Pick

chicken ranch wraps
Chicken Ranch Wrap

Layla over at Gimme Delicious has a simple Chicken Ranch Wrap that is perfect for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

The best part about wraps such as this one is that they are portable, which means you can eat them on the run.

I love the crispy frying technique, which we’ve done many times with any wraps we’ve made.

DIY Weekly


I’m a bit of a gardening nerd when I have the time, but I still like to have plants around the house when I don’t.

We have three on the go on the upper level of our house.

When I saw this $10 DIY Succulent Frame Whitney and Ashley share on their website at Shanty 2 Chic, I thought this was the perfect wall art for any space.

They also include a video which I find helpful for DIY projects. The best part is that a succulent doesn’t need much attention.

Search Term Giggles

kermit the frog
Google Search Terms for Canadian Budget Binder

Always begin and end your day with a SMILE!- Mr.CBB

Every week I get tens of thousands of people visiting Canadian Budget Binder because they did a search online and found my blog.

Most times funny, Sometimes serious.

  • Hot to make money– Haha, try again.
  • How to make real money in Canada?– as opposed to what? Fake money?
  • How much money should I spend?– I have no idea how you plan to get an accurate figure on whatever you are looking to spend money on.
  • Rich people don’t care– I bet many rich people tend, but it depends on what you are referring to.

That’s all the fun for this week; thanks for dropping by, and we’ll see you again next Saturday.


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