Getting Ready For My Daughter’s First Year At University

feature image - first year at university

Although it’s going to be difficult to say goodbye to my eldest daughter when she goes off to university in September, it makes me feel better knowing she’ll have what she needs to make her dorm room feel a bit like home.

When we looked at the Kitchen Stuff Plus website, there were many room décor and snack accessories to choose from! We chose items that are reusable and environmentally friendly, conducive to healthy eating, and durable, so she can still use them when she eventually moves off campus.

Clothing & shoes storage

Clothing & Shoes Storage

These velvet-covered hangers ensure clothes stay put without sliding to the bottom of the closet. Because they’re all the same, the closet will look more organized and aesthetically pleasing.

For shoes, we chose this under bed container to hold out-of-season shoes and an umbrella.

Bath accessories & toiletries

Bath Accessories & Toiletries

We decided on navy towels because they’re easier to keep clean-looking! A shower caddy is a must, à la sleep-away camp.

Hair Styling Accessories

For holding makeup and hair styling accessories, this flat plastic container with high sides is perfect. The bin can be moved around and then store it under the bed when it’s not in use.

Coffee & water bottles

Water Bottle

We opted for two types of mugs in two different sizes. We love that both containers can be used for hot or cold liquids and foods. This larger travel mug comes in three different colours and with a reusable straw!

Coffee Mug

The smaller mug with a handle is just right because she can easily hold it and reach into her backpack for other things. And both containers are wide-mouthed and easy to clean – yay!

Coffee station 

Coffee Station 2

My daughter is someone for whom writing comes at crunch-time, meaning there will be a lot of late-night studying sessions. Having an electric kettle on hand means she can make coffee and tea at ease in her room.

She also picked out a rose gold coloured coffee press, an electric milk frother, and a cute monogrammed mug. She’s very excited about sharing lattes and drinks with friends while enjoying the usual fun conversations that come with dorm living.

Coffee Station - first year at university

Speaking of lattes, we’ve been making iced lattes every morning at home for a few months now and one of our tricks is sweetening the drinks with simple syrup (recipe below). This reduces the need to store sugar in the dorm room, not to mention keeping ants at bay!

To quickly make a latte, pour coffee into a tumbler, add some simple syrup to taste, and then pour in the milk – usually no spoon is needed for mixing!

Jars for storage and snacks

Storage Jars - first year at university

Keeping snacks such as nuts and chocolate in glass jars or plastic containers is neater, sanitary, and more conducive to having dorm-mates drop in for a chat and a snack.

We like this set of 3 mason jars in a caddy for storing markers, pens and pencils, coffee utensils, and reusable stainless-steel straws.

Himalayan salt rock lamp

Himalayan Salt Rock Lamp - first year at university

When my daughter saw this salt rock lamp, she loved it for various reasons. It gives off a warm, zen light, setting a calm mood for the room, and the negative ions it emits help manage dust and odours.

Packing up for university is still a few weeks away, but getting these items ready now makes me feel like the upcoming university drop-off will run a tad more smoothly!

Simple syrup recipe

This easy to make sweetener is great for storing in a bottle or jar and using when needed to sweeten your morning iced coffee (or other beverages you like.)

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • Drops of lemon juice

Place the sugar and water in a small pot and bring to a boil. Simmer for a few minutes, adding the lemon juice a minute before you remove the syrup from the heat. Store in a closed jar, at room temperature.

Mary Ashkar

Mary lives in Toronto with her husband and two teens. She is a freelance writer and the founder of, a lifestyle blog inspiring slow living through posts on food, life, style, entertaining, books, parenting, and mental health. Follow along on Mary's colourful Instagram feed (, where you can see her love of flatlays and answer daily questions encouraging you to try new things and enjoy life's moments!