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When back-to-school shopping hits, stores often provide checklists for college students entering dorm life–everything they'll need to feel right at home. Those lists are great, but there are certain items that you simply cannot do without. Here are four things that should be at the top of your shopping list, and we're going to tell you why.

1. Earplugs

Make no mistake about it, students: There will undoubtedly be that one annoying neighbor who makes it nearly impossible for you to study or sleep in your room. Sure, you can get up and try to go elsewhere; but who wants to do that? A quality pair of earplugs will prevent you from having to drag yourself to the undergrad library in the middle of the night because the chick next door won't quit blasting Adele's new song. Just be sure that you can still hear your alarm in the morning should you pass out with your plugs in–you wouldn't want to miss that 8-a.m. biochem class you love so much.

2. Mini-Fridge

It's tempting to skip this one because you want as much space in your 2×2 cell/dorm room as possible, but a mini-fridge is an absolute must. You're going to want to keep snacks and drinks (non-alcoholic, of course) in your room for those times that the dining hall is closed and you don't feel like eating out. Besides, you might need a backup meal when your dorm decides to serve Chicken Marsala that looks a tad suspicious.

3. Water Purifier

Some people like to stock up on bottled water, and that's all fine and dandy, but it certainly can get a little pricey. If you'd like filtered water but want to save money, go out and buy a water purifier! You spend a little more upfront than you would on a case of water, but you'll quickly see that in the long run, you're saving a ton of money. Plus, it's better for the environment and it's safer than drinking from the faucet. Do YOU know where that water has been? Neither do we. Moving on!

4. Shoe Rack

Here's a good way to finally save some space in your dorm. Shoe racks are super cheap and they'll make room in your closet for other things. They hang on the door and have individual compartments for your shoes, so you don't have to leave them in a messy pile on the floor. It leaves your room looking cleaner and it's probably better for your shoes. Plus, if you have compartments left over, you can always use them to store other items, like jewelry, toiletries, etc. Bonus!

There are all sorts of neat little tips and tricks when it comes to making dorm life easier. Before you go on that massive shopping trip where you dump hundreds of dollars on everything you need (which is perfectly normal), make sure you do your homework. Look for cool ways to simplify college life, ease some of the stress, and do so within your budget.