Find those last minute essentials without breaking bank


By Kaanan Raja

There are valid perks to attending a school in the middle of a cornfield – a whole town with plenty of school spirit, a center of both education and athletic competition and not to mention a lively on-campus party scene.

So you can imagine how much anticipation I had built for my first day of college. After weeks of lists, packing and cramming what seemed like my entire house into a small minivan, I had still managed to be missing a few essential items for my freshman move-in day.

Because I don’t want you to suffer such a fate – or at the very least end up with your roommate’s donated hand-me-downs – I’ve compiled a list of places to visit in case you end up in similar circumstances.

Large retail stores: more bang for your buck

This seems like an obvious first guess – there are several Walmarts and Targets that are definitely within driving range in the Champaign-Urbana area. When I first arrived, I had been lucky enough to receive a room without air-conditioning and short enough to not be able to reach the top shelves of my closet. 

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This is where my trusty store Target helped out: With a fan and a retractable stepping stool, I had pretty cheap solutions for living in my 11’ by 11’ square foot new home.

Green Street options: more than just nightlife

Saunders first floor, my freshman year “home sweet home,” was filled with girls from all over the world. Therefore, you can assume the students from the West Coast, and especially international students, didn’t pack a car with their move-in essentials. However, have no fear. 

Green Street, the campus’s famous area for nightlife and food varieties, also offers practical solutions for your missing towels scenario. Take, for example, Walgreens and CVS Pharmacy – I can’t tell you how many times Walgreens came in handy on move-in day for finding everything from forgotten shampoo bottles to lighting for a relatively good price.

Thrift shops: more than just popping tags

As a college student, the words “free” and “cheap” are now your new best friends. I would definitely recommend Champaign’s local thrift stores to keep you lower priced options for your every needs –while also catering to your uniqueness and style. 

Shops like the Habitat for Humanity ReStore offer houseware items, bed linens, vintage kitchen items, books and more. Another viable option for those looking to create a one-of-a-kind dorm room on a budget is The I.D.E.A. Store. 

The shop contains almost every type of craft product you could possible think of that has been used from other individuals or manufacturers. Like any thrift store, patience is key. You have to be willing to look through a lot of things you definitely won’t need – until you find an item that will do just right.

No matter what store you plan on visiting this move-in day, there’s no need to wait until winter break for a new set of sheets or detergent – with retailers, Green Street’s Walgreens or visiting the many thrift shops scattered across the Champaign-Urbana area, you won’t regret choosing the University – even if it is surrounded by cornfields. Tweet: Forget something? See some essential places for you to buy your last minute essentials on move-in day.
Kaanan is a sophomore in LAS.
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