How to furnish your room for free

We’re all used to purchasing bibs and strollers for baby showers and giving household items to brides-to-be to begin their new married lives. But what if there were a list of gift options hand-picked by students heading out to live on their own? You need imagine no more.

According to a Macleans article, dorm room gift registries are on the rise. Dorm registries have become very profitable for stores, especially as a response to U.S. “trunk parties”—family gatherings for high school grads moving out. Guests bring helpful gifts for living away from home for the first time, such as pots and pans, furnishings, and linens.

In Canada, offers registries for various events from weddings and baby showers to housewarmings and general holidays, and just recently, for dorm life. The 19-year-old Meaghan Vital, who moved to St. Clair College in Windsor and is featured in the Maclean’s article, opened up a dorm life registry for items like basic kitchenware and utensils, a $160 blender, and a $130 Tassimo coffee maker with matching $25 disc carousel. She also included items she wanted but didn’t really need, like a cotton candy maker and a deep fryer.

The UTM students we spoke to were not opposed to the idea of a dorm room gift registry, but didn’t find it necessary.

Aathira Kottapurath, a fourth-year student studying interactive digital media/CCIT with a political science minor, didn’t feel the need to buy everything in the beginning. “I just bought stuff during the course of the year,” she said. “I was able to buy many of the things I needed from the dollar store, so that helped a lot.”

Kottapurath lived abroad before coming to UTM three years ago. “I couldn’t bring much from home because the flight’s maximum requirement was two suitcases. I did, however, make sure to bring bed sheets from home though, because they’re the best kind,” she said. “I didn’t put much thought in the first couple of years living on my own, because I lived in the library most of the time. […] Moving to a different place each academic year didn’t motivate me to decorate or give each space a more personalized look either.”

Saad Asif, who just entered his fourth year in UTM’s life science program, lucked out when it came to decorating his first home. “We had a bunch of stuff when we used to live here, a good mix of hand-me-downs and things from my family home, which included everything from furniture to dishes and pots. […]
“I decided to move out of campus residence after first year because there was a heavy uncertainty in receiving residence placements as returning students,” he added. “My family faced another issue of having a permanent location in Canada as they come in and out of Mississauga regularly. I’m very lucky and grateful for my family being able to support me through university by covering tuition and living expenses without any extra stress on themselves.”

Catherine Boisvert, a fourth-year CCIT and English student who lived in Ottawa before coming to UTM, was more concerned with location than decoration. “It was really important to me that I find a place that would take me less than an hour to commute to school […],” she says. “I usually try to find places that are already furnished, although I’m lucky to have parents who are willing to give me all the furniture in my room back home if I was to move into an unfurnished place.

“With decorations and appliances to make the place look more personalized, I’ve just slowly accumulated them over the years,” she adds. “I’m not picky, so some of them were bought from department stores, and some of them I found for free.”

Besides, when friends and family do buy gifts, they sometimes ignore the registry. In the article, Vital says she received “an electrical frying pan instead of a deep fryer, a crockpot instead of a blender, and a toaster”.

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