Dorm Room Hacks

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Dorm Room Hacks

Between classes, extracurricular activities, social life, and living in a totally new environment, students can find college challenging even without the added stress of dealing with a chronic illness or disease. But turning your dorm room into a home away from home a place where you can physically and mentally catch your breath can make all the difference. All you need is a few extra amenities. Here’s what has worked for real students.


Heated Electric Blanket

“These are wonderful, especially in the winter, when you may not have control over the heating system in the building,” says Meghan Bayer, a senior at the University of Pittsburgh who has several chronic conditions. “They maintain a consistent temperature throughout the night, which can help with achy joints and muscles.” 


Laundry Hamper With Wheels

If the laundry room in your dorm is far away or difficult to get to, you may want to invest in a laundry hamper with wheels. “It hurts my hands to pick up and hold regular hampers, so I got one on wheels,” says Emma Bjornson, a senior at the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas. “The laundry room is usually at the end of the hall, or even on a different floor, so not having to carry the laundry is a huge help.”


Mini Fridge 

Use it to store medication that requires refrigeration; it’s also handy to stash snacks and quick meals, for times when you don’t feel up to going to the cafeteria, suggests Bayer: “Sometimes after class, I simply don’t have the energy to leave the dorm and go to the dining hall. Microwaveable meals are a nice substitute and actually way better than the school’s food.”


Mattress Pads

“My back is really sensitive, and I struggle with chronic fatigue,” says Bjornson. Having a comfortable bed can make all the difference: “I put two to three mattress pads on top of the dorm mattress,” she says. And, she adds, they don’t have to cost a fortune: “You can buy the inexpensive ones and just stack them up.”



“They are a must if you have loud roommates,” says Bayer, “or live in a particularly lively dorm that doesn’t respect ‘quiet hours.’” 


HEPA Air Purifier

“I kept my HEPA air purifier by the door, running 24/7, and I didn’t get sick all year,” says Bayer. “It filtered out the allergens and is surprisingly effective against smoke. It’s the best $250 investment I’ve ever made.”


Lap Desk

Sometimes you just can’t get out of bed. A portable lap desk with a soft back and a flat surface (for writing on or putting your computer on) will allow you to turn your bed into a study space

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