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The Ultimate Off-Campus Student Housing Needs List

The Ultimate Off-Campus Student Housing Needs List


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

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 really don’t need.

When we are younger we have a preconceived notion about what living on our own is like because we typically associate living at home to be the same but on a smaller scale.

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

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

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

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

Other students who may have older siblings at the same school or a few friends may opt to rent a house or 3 bedroom apartment and split the costs.

A typical student house where live 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 smooth due to over-packing and a belief 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

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

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

This can be scary.

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

No word of a lie she had her father bring a massive, solid wood bedroom set with 2 side tables and a massive 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-level of a house.

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

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

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

That being said it was not easy 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 for good when you move away for 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 at 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 theory because most students move back home after graduating especially if they are still looking for a job.

Cost of living and 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 for 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 drag a bunch of stuff you won’t use during your school year.


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

This is another reason you see students subletting their apartments.

It keeps them in 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 that 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, if any furniture is in the bedroom or around the house.

This will give you a better understanding of your needs.

If you plan to live with other students you should all plan to meet or Skype each other to chat about furniture and other household items that you can bring or purchase 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 drag a bunch of stuff you won’t use during your school year.


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

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

You may find something is not on the list and that’s fine please leave a comment on the blog post and I’ll add it.

Pick and choose wisely so you don’t end up with too much crap.

Student Housing Bedroom

minimalist student dorm room

  • Futon if no bed is supplied by landlord. 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
  • 2 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 really 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 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

  • This is one area that can get hefty for no reason. 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
  • Rain coat
  • Hats, Mitts, Scarves
  • Running shoes
  • Dress shoes
  • Pajamas, Boxers and other intimate wear
  • Socks
  • Hangers
  • Lint Roller
  • Iron/Ironing Board (if needed)

Student Housing Kitchen Supplies

kitchen eating utensils dorm life

  • 2 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 needed)
  • 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 to your stu
  • dent housing and discuss with your roommates (if any) how you all plan to purchase food and pantry staples for the kitchen.
  • I also have a Student Pantry List that you can review for more insight on the blog.
  • Most students buy their own 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 for you to go shopping for personal items do it when you arrive by going to the appropriate stores.

  • Bath towel, Hand Towel, Face Towel, Wash cloth
  • Toilet Paper, Paper towel, 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
  • 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 you some 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.


  • Personal care items that you can’t purchase at the grocery store or is far too expensive to re-buy.
  • This means if you need your hair straightener bring it as opposed to buying another when you move in.
  • 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 important documents
  • Rental agreement and Tenants Insurance
  • Vehicle Insurance
  • Banking and Loan information

Financial Budget For All Students

  • You can download our budget spreadsheet for free or print a simple budget free at CBB.
  • If using envelopes for cash purchases works for you then bring along your jars or envelopes labelled and ready to go.

Miscellaneous for Student Housing

  • Telephone for phone line in bedroom
  • Mirror for your wall
  • Vehicle necessities such as lock-deicer, winter tires, first aid kit,oil, spare tire, jack, 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 student housing that is furnished or purchase a futon or cheap bed from Kijiji when you arrive to 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 you rent student housing either 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 The Ultimate Off-Campus Student Housing Needs List.

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

Share your comments below and any experiences you may have had while renting your own 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 4 years now but I was amazed how different it was to be a full-time employee rather than on contract.

Post coming up soon!!!

On the home-front potty training is going well but we got rid of the small potty as he hates using it. We’ve had 3 potties and he’s turned his nose up at them all.

I agree with some parents who say why add another step in the process and just do it on toilet. Now, he uses the toilet at home for number 1 and no diaper on for most of the day.

Number 2 is still an issue though…. all in good time.

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 well and donating it to my neighbour once again who just loves it but keeping a bit back to make sugar-free ruhbarb…strawberry ice-cream.

That’s my week…. and then some.

How was your week?


CBB Published Posts

LOW CARB KETO SNACK CRISPY BACON FRIED LUPINI BEANS.png P3If you have a question that 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 is minimum 500 words and lots of details…we love details!

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

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

Top Finance Weekly Read

One of my favourite reads this week 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 buying 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) 2017

Welcome to the 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 every brag whether posted on CBB or not gets an entry into a yearly draw for gift cards or cash!!! It’s that easy.

jens garage sale deals 2017 june

Hey Everyone,

Yay, I got in a great day of garage sale deals today!
  • Spent a little more than usual today but got some good deals.
  • Boys bike and Cars fold up sleeping cot (in 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 (were asking $5)
  • White yarn $.50 (were asking $1)
  • Wooden train Free!
  • 4 bag clips, sponge, toy phone, various yarn and ribbon $2.25
  • Playing school set $1 (were asking $3)
  • Sand toys/buckets $1
  • Outdoor side table $3 (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 – 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 Chef Recipe Pick

chicken ranch wraps

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.

Today life gets busy and not everyone has a chance to sit at home to eat but it’s important that they do eat.

Check it out… I love the crispy frying technique which we’ve done many times.

DIY Weekly


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

Right now we have 3 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 at all.

Search Term Giggles

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

Every week I get tens of thousands of people visit 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– Oh I bet many rich people care but it depends about what you are referring to.

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


Don’t forget to Follow me on Social Media and Subscribe to the blog.

Hey…if you see any mistakes let me know. I’m not an editor just a guy who likes to write and yes I make mistakes.













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  1. You made a great point about making sure you research what to bring and be as minimal as possible. My husband and I are looking for a student apartment rental that can help our son as he prepares for his first semester at college next month. We will keep these tips in mind as we search for a professional that can help us best.

  2. That’s a good idea to make sure that you could have all the dishes necessary to cook. I would think that would let you cook food and not have to eat out all the time. I’ll have to consider getting a bunch of pots and pans for my son when he moves out for college.

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