Welcome back to the Dorm Living Series!
As a rising junior, I’m so excited to be moving into a new suite with a fully equipped kitchen. Now, you don’t have to be a chef to see the benefits of this. Let’s get into everything you may need to know about having a kitchen at your disposal.
Help, I’m Not A Cook!
No worries! Worst comes to worst, those frozen meals are looking real good on the budget.
You don’t need to know how to cook to make yourself decent dinners. If following a step-by-step recipe can be a little overwhelming, what about watching videos? I recommend the Tasty app.
On Tasty, you can search by meal, type of food (have lots of chicken in the fridge? there’s a section for that), type of cuisine, difficulty, diet type such as vegan or low-calorie, and you can even save your favorite recipes to folders that automatically organize by category.
Not persuaded yet? What about your friends or roommates? I bet you can’t win a taco-making contest against your roommate! Prize goes to the prettiest presentation, with a housemate margarita as the first place prize. Make cooking fun! If it doesn’t turn out how you wanted, Uber Eats and Doordash are just a click away.
What Do I Need to Bring or Invest in?
Chances are, your school doesn’t provide you with the kitchen essentials. If you’re living off campus or have a new apartment, this goes for you, too.
For a complete list of the kitchen must-buys, check out my Ultimate Back-to-School Packing List. Here are a few highlights.
1. Is It Expensive?
Cooking your own food may be a lot cheaper than having a meal plan at your school. While it costs effort and a little bit of work to plan meals, it’s worth it. Make cooking fun, and enjoy getting a meal you actually like, instead of the same old sandwich from the dining hall. Gross.
Kitchen utensils and utilities don’t have to be a big dent to your budget. Pots and pans are cheaper than you may expect, and dish soap goes for about $3 a bottle. Once you start making your own coffee instead of running by Dunkin’ Donuts every morning, you’re really starting to see the difference. (This cold brew coffee maker has saved me several trips to Starbucks and Dunkin’ – not to mention it’s adorable!)
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2. Where Should I Buy These Things?
Everyone I’ve lived with at Endicott College knows we always have a Target run in the beginning of the semester. There are a few other places to find some great deals on home and kitchen equipment, though.
Amazon has great deals on kitchenware. Delivery right to your doorstep (or mailroom at school) is so convenient. I recently bought a cold brew coffee maker for my college suite. It makes morning coffee that much easier when I’m running out the door for class.
Another super easy must-have is a water filter! I love my Brita. All of my friends at school use the same one. My freshman year, we would always run down to the sink in the common room to fill them up, and we’d leave them there to finish filtering. “Are you even a freshman in school if you DON’T have a Brita?” was the running joke.
Secondly, if you have a TJMaxx or Home Goods near you, go go go!
I can’t even tell you how many kitchen and home decor items I’ve purchased from my local TJMaxx. They also have a small food section in my store, where you can find table salt, pepper, other spices, protein powder, baking mixes, olive oil and so much more, all at discounted prices.
Your Kitchen Must-Buys
Saving space in your kitchen is a MUST. These products are super helpful for organization and convenience. Here are just a few things from my list.
- Dish drying rack: It can be difficult to find places for pots, pans and all those other utensils once you’re done with them, unless you have a line of dish-driers ready to put them away. A rack can make this so much easier – and if you don’t have a ton of counter space, investing in one that lays over part of your sink can be a life saver. This is what I use at home, and the best part is, it’s easily portable! Just roll it up when you’re not using it. (To all my campers out there, this one is a priority)
- Storage containers: Whether you buy containers from the grocery store, your local Target, or just wash and keep those takeout containers from your favorite Italian restaurant (hello to the money savers like me), these are a MUST. They can be used for leftovers, on-the-go snacks, or for when you’re looking to eat on the beach to watch the sunset.
- Potholders: These can be used in so many ways in your kitchen. They offer a place to set your hot pan on while it’s cooling off (helpful when you DON’T have your own kitchen and you don’t want to leave your pan in the common room kitchen). They also can double as placemats (super cute, especially when bought in packs of different colors), and can be kept on your dining room table for buffet style dinners.
Shop My List of Essentials
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Whether you’re excited to learn how to cook or are praying a roommate can help you out in that department, embrace the fun of having your own kitchen! Keep some cookie dough in your fridge at all times, it’s a necessity 🙂