Thousands of New Jersey high school graduates look forward to the next step: college. In just a few weeks, students and their parents flock to stores around the state to prepare for dorm living. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with shopping, as the list of necessities can seem never ending.

But have no fear! This series outlines the easiest and best ways to prepare for college. From everything to bedspreads to budgets, we’re here to help.

To start off the buying process, it’s easiest to just take the plunge and go the store to see what kind of selection and items there are. Many stores leave extra space for college needs and offer great deals along with it. Below are the best places to start off your search.

  • Department Stores

Also known as the mecca of all dorm life. These types of stores dedicate a lot of space for college items. There is always a lot of selection so it’s not hard to find something you like! The stores have everything from the basics, like egg crates and sheets, to other cool knickknacks that you may want to decorate your dorm in.

  • Discount Stores

Who doesn't love a good deal? These stores often have different, unique items that you will most likely not see anywhere else. They are perfect for general things as well, from hangars to picture frames at an awesome price.

  • Buy-in-Bulk Stores

A buy-in-bulk store is a great place to stock up on essentials. Things like shampoo and soap are great to buy to save some money. Also, it’s great for food. For those 8 AM classes, grabbing a granola bar in the room is the easiest solution as you struggle to get out of bed.

  • Furniture Stores

Sure, your school will provide furniture, but furniture stores offer more than just tables and chairs. Things like bedspreads and sheets can be found here, often with great quality.

  • Office Supply Stores

Don’t forget about the school supplies! Office stores always have great offers and are the place to buy items such as a stapler, printer, and paperclips, along with the notebooks and pens.

  • Clothing Stores

As you have probably seen while shopping, clothing stores sell much more than just pants and shirts these days. So many stores now sell cool things from posters and things for the room that you can fill your dorm with.

  • Electronic stores

In today’s era, it is absolutely necessary to have everything from your phone (to call mom of course) and a laptop, to only do homework with (of course). Not only that, but here you can get a great deal on items like a microwave and television. Electronic stores have much more than video games and CD’s.

  • Your University Store

Have school pride! Almost all schools have an online shop with many different items. From sweatshirts to banners, window decals and more, make sure you represent your school in your room.

These stops listed above are absolutely essential to getting prepared for higher learning. Your summer leading up to college will be filled with numerous stops every week to different stores. The task may seem daunting, but small steps will help everything come together!