You or your child is leaving for college, my heart aches for you parents but also for the planet. Getting ready for college life often means a long list of things to buy, things that you don't intend to keep your entire life and sometimes disposables seem to be the easiest option. What if the best option was to buy only what you need and find some second-hand gems that will save you money?
You don't need everything on the list!
Let's start with the most important, you don't have to buy everything on the list and you don't need to buy new! Your (or your child's) dorm room life might be temporary, that doesn't mean that what you need in it has to be too! It will actually save you a lot of money to use what you have and buy second-hand.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Will I really use this?
- Do I already have one at home?
- Does my roomate(s) already have one? Can we share it?
- Can I wait a few days/weeks and see if I really need that item?
Also keep in mind that a clutter free room often means a clutter free mind which will help you concentrate and reduce stress.
Use what you have and shop secondhand
Once the list of things you need is ready, the first thing to do is to check what you already have and the items you can get from family and friends. Your siblings or cousins who already went to college might have things to pass down. If not, coordinate with your roommates and see what you can share and avoid duplicates.
Then shop secondhand. Need a lamp, a laundry basket, a coffee maker, storage bins? Physical and online thrift stores are your friends and will save you a lot of money! Make sure to choose quality though, you might even find new or barely used products.
You could also be able to find gently used school supplies and books!
Get yourself the following essential reusable items that will save you money and definitely reduce your impact on the environment:
- A reusable water bottle
- A traveling mug
- Reusable bags
- Mason jars to use as cups and food storage containers
These items don't have to be new, your parents probably have some to give you. If you need some of these items they are available at Ekologicall.
Low waste essentials
Shower caddy essentials:
Shampoo and conditioner bars
Toothbrush with replaceable head, refillable floss, tooth tabs
Refillable deodorant cream
Safety razor and shaving bar
Everyday plastic free essentials:
Mason jar lids
Laundry stips, pods, powder or concentrate
Several other plastic free and harmful chemical free essentials are available at www.ekologicall.com. Please feel free to reach out with any questions you may have or if you need help creating a dorm room kit.
You'll be offered a lot of freebies, simply say: "no, thank you". See something interesting on a flyer? Take a picture. Most campuses are becoming more and more environmentally conscious, they might even have a sustainable department like the Charlotte's Green Initiative at UNC Charlotte for instance. It's worth checking your campus' website and searching for sustainability.
Be the change
By minimizing the list of things you need, buying secondhand, reusing what you have, you will reduce your impact and save money. You will also inspire other people to do the same and that ripple effect is a big win for our planet!
How are you preparing for your dorm life? Do you have sustainable tips to share? Please comment below.