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Your Dorm Room Doesn't Have to Look Like an Ikea Catalog.

By Chelsea on Tuesday, August 14, 2012 at 1:25 PM

It's about that time of year when our youngest readers' summer days are numbered and their minds start to wander toward what the new school year might bring. To help these bright young minds acclimate, we've put together a handy, five-part guide to help them prep for their return to academia -- but in somewhat of a different light. You won't find stories about the importance of extracurriculars or anything like that here; instead, we'll just be providing insight into the real concerns of the typical college student. Hopefully, it'll be helpful -- and not just to the readers enrolled in school. Hey, sometimes we all need a refresher course.

Now that you're in your new place at college, it's time for you to start setting everything up. This is where things can get sort of tricky. After all, a bean bag only gets you so far. (Related: Never trust people who buy bean bag chairs exclusively.)

Fortunately, thanks to the Ikea up in Frisco, you can buy all sorts of furniture (and meatballs!) on the cheap.

But, then again, things can get a little awkward when you buy something only to realize later that everyone else in your dorm has that same fold-out sofa, and that your Ikea collection could rival Edward Norton's in Fight Club (which is totally not good, you guys, as consumerism is bad).

If your first idea for obtaining furniture was dumpster diving, that is a) very gross and b) very, very gross.

I've known some people who've taken couches out of the trashcan only to find that they had bedbugs or some sort of giant, mutant cockroaches that are big enough to eat a toy poodle (save the poodles!).

So? Don't do it!

If you want something for free, Craigslist has a "free stuff" section where people try to give away their useless furniture. It's typically on a first-come-first-serve basis, so if you inquire about that DVD shelf at the exact right moment, then, congratulations, you win! Now you've just gotta go to some random person's house and pick it up.

Hopefully they're not imbalanced!

If you don't want to mess with Craigslist (totally understandable), you can always just make friends with a carpenter and have them build your furniture and pay them back with friendship.

I recommend building fruit baskets and introducing your carpenter friend to your parents. Tell him/her that they're the only carpenter you will ever see. (Also, email me if this works.)

If carpenters hate you or something, you can always go to a resale shop. If you like big, clunky furniture and TVs with pre-installed VHS player embedded in them, there's no better place to get things for your new room. While you're there, get one of those tea pots with cows on them, too!

They're what the cool kids call "conversation pieces."

See also: How to Eat Your Roommates' Food Without Them Noticing.

See also: Is That Microwavable?

See also: How to Pull an All-Nighter.

See also: How to Avoid Your Residential Advisor (and Other Undesirables).