Waving goodbye as your loved one takes off down the road for college is tough. Wondering if they're taking care of themselves can be even tougher. Even though you can't be there every day, you can give them a healthy start on the right path to live on their own, naturally. Send your college student off to the dorms this Fall with a thoughtful care package of organic and eco-friendly goods.
Here's my picks for the Top 15 Natural Dorm Room Essentials for the '14-'15 school year.
- Flip Flops- Wearing shower shoes in the community bathroom is a must. When these 100% natural rubber VOS flops get too grubby, your eco-conscious student can recycle them and pick up a fresh pair in a new color ($19.99 on Abe's Market).
- Shower Caddy- Everyone brings a shower caddy to college, but how about one made from upcycled plastic (like this Recycled Plastic Shower Caddy ($7.98 on DormCo).) Gift an environmentally friendly carrier for your student to haul bath and bodycare products to the dorm bathroom.
- Reusable Utensil Set- Forget the box of throwaway plastic utensils. Get RePEaT sustainable bamboo utensils (including chopsticks) packaged in a recycled plastic holder pouch ($12.95 on To-Go Ware).
- Throw- They can curl up on their couch to study (or to watch TV and play games) with a lightweight organic blanket (starting at $34.95 on deep discount at Pottery Barn).
- Wash Cloth(s)- Get a 3 pack set of Body and Face Cleaning Cloths ($19.99 through a consultant) to fight bacteria and effectively clean dirt, oil and makeup with silver (woven into Norwex wash cloths).
- Bath Towel- To match the cloths, go for the Norwex micro-fiber body towel ($23.99 through a consultant). It soaks up wetness and feels so luxuriously plush that you'll want a set for yourself too.
- Shaker Cup- Dorm food might not compare to mama's cookin'. Getting the nutrients your student requires can be as simple as shaking a protein, green mix or meal supplement powder with their drink of choice in the Classic Blender Bottle ($7.99 on Free2DayShipping). You can often pick these up in the supplement department at your local Whole Foods. If they roll out of bed just in time for class, it only takes an extra 30 seconds to make a shake and take the Blender Bottle on-the-go.
- Non-Breakable Food Storage Containers- Instead of plastic containers that can release unsafe fumes when heated, swap for Life Factory's glass food storage in a variety of sizes ($14.99-$19.99 on LifeFactory). Between classes and the library, life gets busy. Here's another on-the-go friendly option they can use to fill with snacks and pack in their bag.
- Reusable Drink Bottle- This plastic water bottle environmentally-friendly substitute will travel everywhere your student goes (from bike (it fits in a standard bicycle drink holder), to back pack to their friend's room down the hall). This silicone padded reusable glass bottle is sure to be a keeper ($22.99-$26.99 on LifeFactory).
- Water Filter Pitcher- You probably have one of these at home already. Pick up a space-saving Brita water filter to remove fluoride and hard minerals for your college kid too ($18.99 on Target).
- Cleaner- Dr. Bronner is my favorite all-in-one cleaner (for general room cleaning, washing dishes, shaving soap, etc.) The organic ingredients are so pure, your student can brush their teeth with them! For cleaning germ-covered surfaces (basically every inch of a dorm room), try the Eucalyptus Dr. Bronner Castile Soap ($16.29 on Target). Or visit your local co-op or Whole Foods to choose from a range of 'flavors' and sizes (2 ounces to a gallon).
- Laundry Detergent- Chemical and perfumed detergents can leave residue in clothes and irritate sensitive skin. Gift Ecos Free & Clear Liquid Laundry Detergent ($8.99 at Target); it's coconut based, fragrance-free and hypoallergenic.
- Room Deodorizer- Sometimes a thorough room cleaning won't even take the funky smell out of a dorm room. Candles usually are no-no's in the dorm, and chemical air fresheners should be. Alternative option? Charcoal! It naturally eliminates odors without masking them. Ever Bamboo's bamboo charcoal Room Deodorizer + Dehumidifier absorbs moisture too ($9.99 on Ever Bamboo)
- Reusable Bag Set- Esse Reusable Bag Market Pak's save the need for wasteful plastic grocery sacks. Bonus: this one is made from recycled PET plastic. Also included in the Market Pak are two produce bags, so they won't need the plastic store produce sacks (and it may subliminally remind your loved one to buy produce)! ($9.95 on Abe's Market)
- Gift Card- To encourage your student to continue to make good, green choices, throw a gift card (try an e-card from Whole Foods or Abe's Market) in their care package.
The dorms may be a long shot from serene and clean, but their home away from home will be a lot more green this school year with these Top 15 picks. Pair these picks with the Top 10 Healthy Foods & Supplements for College Students. And make sure to treat yourself with a little natural love, too. You've earned it.