There are better ways to go about these things. For instance, if you're leaving home for the first time, bring the basics, like sheets, towels, and -- this one's really important -- a good pair of shower shoes. Hold off on the little things -- shelves, school supplies and dishes -- until you get to school. When you arrive on campus, use the Internet to have everything delivered to you, sometimes for a cheaper price.
The 411: The closest Urban Outfitters store to Baltimore can be found in Georgetown. For some, that's quite a hike. To make its clothing and houseware collections more accessible to customers who don't live near a store, Urban Outfitters launched a Web site last spring. Much of what is sold in the store cannot be found on the site, but there are a few bargains for online shoppers.
Best Bargain: Looking for dishes? Purchase a set of four double old-fashioned glasses with Playboy logos embossed on their front sides for $20. You can also purchase a set of 15 decorative Asian party lights for $24 for nighttime festivities (after you've finished studying, of course).
The 411: Most known for its cutesy collection of juniors clothing and apparel, Delias recently launched a Web site that sells most of the merchandise available in its stores. The site, however, sells more than clothes. Delias recently expanded its "room" line to market numerous home accessories for teens and hip 20-somethings.
Best Bargains: Second to studying, being organized is one way to ensure succeeding in school. To keep your notes in order, the Delias site offers a locker organizer for $9 and a zebra-print cork board for $18. It's also important not to be late for -- or sleep through -- class. You can purchase a Paul Frank alarm clock made by one of Britain's most up-and-coming designers for $19. Aside from getting decent grades and not skipping class, you've also got to have style. Delias sells a funky star floor mat for $29 and a large monkey-face floor mat for $18. These will come in handy if your dorm room comes without carpet.
The 411: Sanrio's Hello Kitty character line is most popular in Asia, but has acquired a following among American children and teens, as well. Series spin-off characters such as Badtz-Maru, Keroppi and Pochacco are also popular. Since there aren't any exclusive Sanrio stores in Baltimore, you can find the most unique items for college living and back-to-school supplies on the Sanrio site.
Best Bargains: Get a Hello Kitty calculator for $8, Hello Kitty plate set for $12, Hello Kitty ID case for $7.50, Pochacco Monkey messenger bag for $27, Hello Kitty petite towel for $3.50, Hello Kitty cereal bowl for $5.50, Hello Kitty dinner plate for $8.75 and Hello Kitty mug for $6.75.
The 411: If you are serious about bargain hunting, you can subscribe to Discount Domain, an outlet of Delias where the price of merchandise is usually reduced by more than 50 percent. Subscribers pay $5 a month, but receive deals on clothes, shoes, accessories, jewelry, swimwear and housewares for girls and boys. The site sometimes offers free shipping.
Best Bargains: Designer Paul Frank is big on this site. You can get a Paul Frank Julius CD wallet for $14.99, or a Paul Frank mouse pad for $5.99. Sheets are also inexpensive. Fiji-inspired floral bedding is available for $9.99 and three elliptic shelves to hang over your bed cost $13.99. Prepare for professors who expect you to do a lot of outside reading and buy a magazine stand to store newspapers and periodicals. You can get a large one from Discount Domain for $13.99.
Old Navy Dorm Shop
The 411: Old Navy recently launched a dorm section on its Web site. The section is relatively small, but offers a few necessary items.
Best Bargains: A good shower caddy or shower kit is essential to campus hygiene. Get one at Old Navy for $5.50. Depending on how large your closet is, a shoe sorter is also important. Remember, organization? You can buy a canvas one online for $12.50.
The 411: Music Television's Web site offers more than just gossip about the latest star's brushes with the law and plastic surgery. You can read about live shows and arrest records while shopping for school supplies. Hint: Search for stuff that will keep you awake in a crowded, stuffy lecture hall.
Best Bargains: Get a black zipper binder for $16.99, Daria spiral notebook for $3.99, three-hole pencil pouch for $3.99 and a Daria logo backpack for $24.99.