DIY college tips for survival kits for dorm rooms and car

Keeping a tool kit handy will be a life saver when you least expect it.

Keeping a tool kit handy will be a life saver when you least expect it.

Some college students like to wing it from the seat of their pants, while others like to be prepared for any contingency. Here are some ideas for do-it-yourself survival kits for your college dorms, car or trip away from home. All of these can be bought prepackaged or you can mix and match to make your own kits.

Tool kit

A handy little tool kit with the basics will get you far in fixing small items yourself. You can buy prepackaged kits with one of each necessary tool, or you can build your own. Essential items: hammer, Philips screwdriver, flathead screwdriver, pliers, wrench, hex wrench, razor cutter, Goo Gone, Krazy Glue, masking or duct tape, measuring tape and assorted sizes of screws and nails.

Dorm kit

Your dorm is your home away from home. It needs a few essential things to make it clean, homey and efficient. Among the more expected and useful items like a mini-fridge, bulletin board and extension cords, Sarabeth at in her article, “10 essential dorm items (that you probably don’t think of),” posted August 13, 2010 suggests:

• Febreeze to cover up the smell from smokers or dirty laundry

• mini-vacuum to keep rugs clean and to suck up cookie crumbs

• oven mitt: “Believe me when I say the stuff that you make in your little dorm microwave is HOT. I’ve burned my fingers on too many Easy Mac bowls not to give this as advice,” said Sarabeth

• book light so you can study while your roommate sleeps.

First aid kit

For your dorm room and/or your car, here are some essential items: Band-Aids, aspirin, antibiotic cream, hydrocortisone cream, Pepto Bismol, thermometer, instant ice pack, ACE bandage, cold medicine, ibuprofen, tweezers, small scissors, lip balm. As Amy Yao said in “5 essential items for your dorm first aid kit,” posted June 15, 2013 on “I got so concerned about which clothes, shoes, and (especially) room furnishings to take to school, I completely forgot about what should always come first: my health.”

Sewing kit

Handy for the dorm or car, a sewing kit can save you from a simple loose button to a potentially embarrassing ripped shirt or pants. Include: needle, small or folding scissors, various color thread (white and black are all you really need but add navy blue, yellow, beige, red and green if you have room), measuring tape (more useful than you’d think), safety pins (different sizes), straight pins, spare buttons (white or clear plus black or navy blue) and thimble if your fingers are sensitive.

Car safety kit

If you commute from home to school or spend a lot of time in your car for work, spend a few dollars to buy or create a road kit of the basics for safe car travel. Include: flashlight, jumper cables, flare, reflective triangle or light stick, duct tape, quart of oil, AA batteries, jack, rain poncho, matches, blanket, bottled water, nonperishable snacks, bungee cord, trash bags, kitty litter (to sop up oil spills and to use as traction in ice and snow). Also keep your insurance card handy to call for emergency roadside assistance when you need it. You can even keep a tool kit and first aid kit in your car for emergencies.

Toiletry kit

If you travel often or need to sleep away from home, here are some ideas for toiletries or travel accessories. Many of these items come in small sample sizes great for travel. Include: soap, shampoo and conditioner, toothbrush and toothpaste, makeup and cotton balls, feminine hygiene products, shaving cream and razor, contact lens solution, deodorant, hair brush or comb, mouth wash, Q-tips, disinfecting wipes, facial tissues, hand lotion, dental floss, shower cap, nail polish, nail clippers or file, powder, lint brush, tweezers. You might also want to take a sewing kit on your trip.

“All of these items can be kept in a large Rubbermaid® storage container. Store water in a separate area to avoid damaging dry items in case of leakage. Also check your Emergency Supplies Kit every six months to ensure that none of your items have expired,” advised Lisa Norman and Kathryn Cordes at Texas A&M University System in “Emergency Supplies Kit for College Students.”

What items do you have in an emergency kit for your dorm or car prepared and ready to use? Let us know in the comments.

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Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] One of my most useful items of clothing when I lived in Cambridge, MA was a set of foul weather gear. That fall there were a ton of rain storms when I needed to walk to a city bus, and having a lightweight rain coat and pants could be a life saver. If you drive around campus, think about keeping a spare set of clothing—or at least an umbrella—in your car. It’s also handy to keep a blanket and a towel in your trunk, plus a car safety kit such as the one Lorraine Savage described here on CengageBrain in “DIY college tips for survival kits for dorm rooms and car.” […]

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