Ways to Keep Your Child Safe at College

Ways to Keep Your Child Safe at College

How can you keep your child safe at college?

This is something that I think we all worry about when our kids are gone to college or out into the real world. This worrying will never stop for us, but we can rest a little bit easier if we prepare our kids. Here are some easy ways to keep a child safe at college -or as safe as possible without the bubblewrap!

These are discussions that should probably start a little bit at a time in middle school as they start to go out with friends. We trained our boys to always be aware of where they were. To look for exit signs. To pay attention to where they were going, and listen closely to directions.

Our kids are getting drilled at school, and we need to talk with them about things that are happening in the news, and have them think about what might be the best thing to do in each situation.

I have come up with some safety ideas that will hopefully ease my mind as well as yours! *This post may contain affiliate links. My full disclosure policy is here.

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Here are ways to keep your child safe at college.

 Personal safety for your teen

Have some conversations with your teen before they leave for college. Discussions:  About date safety. About “no means no, no matter when she says no”. About having a campus buddy. About being aware of their surroundings. About locking up medications.

College can be so much fun, but our teens need to be make aware of all of this and more. Talk with your teen!

Drink scrunchie -Do you worry when you know your teen is headed out? This nifty little drink cover will keep anyone from easily putting a pill or powder into a drink. It can be worn AS a scrunchie until it is needed! Guys need to use these too, and they could have it in their pockets until needed. Rape is a serious issue, and this is a great defense against it. It comes in 4 colors.

This bracelet is the bomb for your daughter! -And, here is the necklace. These are a little more pricey. They are are pretty, though, and if needed, they would be great to have around. She can just push the button, and it activates a GPS device. No one would ever know!

Here is a great tool to carry for safety. It has pepper spray and a stun gun. It is small enough to carry in a purse or pocket.

Here is a tiny portable charger for your teen’s phone. This is something that they should have charged at all times. If your teen has their phone, they can call for help, take a photo (or video) of their attacker or situation, and find their way home with its built-in GPS and flashlight.

This small device adds onto a lock for a door for more security. This would be good for anyone who would like some added security!

And, here is a door stopper alarm that your teen could put under their door at night if they wanted to fell more secure. 

ICE : Personal Safety App -This will: share your Real Time Location with someone you trust -they can see your current location using this app or any web browser. Keeps track of important medical or support information on Lock Screen for First responders and Doctor.

  • you can save useful information for rescue workers (allergy, medication, condition, identity, organ donor, blood type …) and doctor contact “in case of emergency”.
  • 3) ICE contacts for call in Emergency.

(There are lots of safety apps. Be sure to check into these to get the best fit for your family.)

Guy or girl, they need to be prepared. No matter what we envision for our kids’ relationships, I would rather have them safe than be a grandma, yet. 

Once your teen turns 18, a lot of things change for both you and your teen. Check out this post to be sure that you both know the legal ramifications for this big birthday.

Car safety for your teen

Here is an entire post about travel safety for our teens (and ourselves!)

A road distress kit is an easy thing to throw into the back of your teen’s car -just in case!

Personal safety keychain

Anti touch opener -This is great to have in the car for opening doors etc without having to touch them.

If your teen is anything like mine, they wear shorts year round. If they end up in a bad situation during cold weather, an emergency blanket is a great thing to have! They fold up tiny, and can also be something that is thrown into the back of the car.

Health safety for your teen

Mental health safety for your teens

Here is a first aid kit for a dorm room or car -full of supplies that might be needed.

Our son had to purchase a safe for his meds after he them stolen. This is a must if your teen takes any sort of prescribed medication!

Here is some advice from my son who graduated from college last year to your teens going into college, he was president of his fraternity for 2 years, and saw a lot of things… Remember that no one and no club should ask you to do things that you would not normally do. This should be a red flag.

If you have never had an alcoholic drink before, then don’t have a bunch all at once. No one should be making you drink. If you get into a situation that is uncomfortable, say that you have to use the bathroom, and use that opportunity to leave wherever you are. If, for some reason, you cannot leave, text someone, anyone, for help. Tell them exactly where you are and what the situation is.

Online safety for your teen -this is more for your teens at home.

This company has great plans for keeping your teen safe online as well as limiting their screen time, if that is something you are concerned about.

Be sure that your teen knows these basic rules for online security.

Make sure that your teen is aware of the ramifications of sexting. Even if you are sure your teen isn’t doing this, they still need to be made aware -just in case. It is a serious crime, especially once they are 18…

Related posts

Best Year Round Posts for Parenting Teens and Tweens: 50+ Titles!

Travel safety for teens

Sexting and your teen

Mental health safety for your teens

I would love to stay in touch!

Visit my Facebook page, and follow me on Pinterest and YouTube! I look forward to seeing you again! And, finally, if you feel like this post was helpful, please share it on your favorite social media platform! Thank you so much!❤️ 

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Here are ways to keep your child safe at college.


Dorm Room Storage Ideas: 15+ Easy Hacks

Dorm Room Storage Ideas: 15+ Easy Hacks

Dorm Room Storage Ideas

How can you create storage in a dorm room? Here are great dorm room storage ideas that will make the space more organized and user-friendly! The great thing about a lot of these ideas is that they are either hidden or utilize space above things that you have to have such as the bed and desk.

Space in a dorm room, even some apartments, comes at a premium! You need to be super planful and intentional to create as much storage as possible! So let’s look at these ideas for maximum storage in a tiny space.

Quick note -that is my cute son #2 on the left with his buddy back when they were freshmen! *This post may contain affiliate links. My full disclosure policy is here.

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Dorm room storage ideas

We have moved two boys into dorm rooms, and both times, I remember how surprised I was by how tiny the rooms were! I cannot imagine how it would be to have a girl moving into one of those rooms because it was hard enough with boys who don’t really have a lot of “stuff”. These are ways that we created storage for them without giving up any floor space.

If your teen complains about how cramped the room is, all of these ideas could easily be implemented immediately for a little bit of relief.

Do you have any great ideas for storage? Share them in the comments for all of us because we have one more to take to college in another little while, so all tips are appreciated!

Check out these dorm room storage ideas

Dorm room under bed storage

Wide dresser -Essential for all the clothing that won’t fit into the tiny closet!

Underbed storage – This is a good option if the beds are lower.

Dorm room over bed storage 

Headboard with shelves -More logical storage that won’t take up floor space.

Over the bed shelf – And, this is a cool rolling cart that goes over the bed like a hospital tray!

Beside the bed storage 

Bedside shelf -This is great if there is no room for a bedside table. And, here is a cloth version.

Nightstand storage -Great for books, lotion, kleenex, and all the other things….

Stick on the wall caddy -Another thing that you will have to check with the dorm to see if this is allowed, but a couple of these could be really handy!

Extra storage around or in the closet

Magic hangers -These are truly magical. Wish they had been around back in my day!

Over the door shoe storage -I still use this for all of my sandals. Never enough storage for all the shoes…

Storage mirror -This is a little pricey, but it’s great storage that takes up no floor space. Check with the dorm/apartment to make sure that you will be able to hang this where your teen will be living.

Extra storage for the desk area

Over the desk shelf -This is wasted space if you don’t use it!

Desk drawer storage organizer -The space inside the desk should be organized, too.

Other bonus storage ideas

Over the fridge shelves -A fridge is almost necessary to eliminate or reduce snack runs. This will save money in the long run. So, the space above a refrigerater may as well be utilized. Typically, an over-the-toilet shelf unit will work. Or, here is an over-the-microwave shelf. And, here is a small cloth caddy for some extra organization.


Ottoman storage -Extra seat. Extra storage. If beds are on risers, this will fit under there.

 Hanging jewelry organizer -The one below locks, which would be good in a dorm room.

Dorm room storage cart! -This can hold so many things, and then be rolled out of the way when not in need.

I hope that this helps you as you try to plan out dorm room storage ideas.

Remember, that any of this storage can be added later if it gets to feeling too cramped! Here are some cute label ideas!

Related posts:

What will your freshman NEED in the dorm?

Best workout equipment for a small space

Backpack essentials for college

Best way to decorate a dorm room for Halloween

Best Year Round Posts for Parenting Teens and Tweens: 50+ Titles!

I would love to stay in touch!

Visit my Facebook page, and follow me on Pinterest and YouTube! I look forward to seeing you again! And, finally, if you feel like this post was helpful, please share it on your favorite social media platform! Thank you so much!❤️

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Dorm room storage ideas



How to Plan a Budget for College-Bound Teen: 7 Tips That Will Help!

How to Plan a Budget for College-Bound Teen: 7 Tips That Will Help!

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Plan a budget for college!

We have had two sons in college, and the second time around was much easier because we knew what to expect! The biggest concern for us, and many others are all of the expenses. Here are some things that we learned the first (and second) time around, as we planned a budget for college.

Make sure that you and your senior are on the same page about all expenses.

There are the expenses that you know about. There will always also be some things that come up unexpectedly; those can be dealt with as they occur.

*This post may contain affiliate links.  My full disclosure policy is here.

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Budget for college|www.parentinghighschoolers.com

Living Expenses

Living expenses are a big deal.

Where will your student live? There will be choices for housing from the actual dorms to the types of rooms. Will they have a roommate? Will you pay for the items that they decorate their room with or will they be expected to pay for some? Is there a set amount you are willing to spend for this? Another type of living expense is the meal plan.

Budget for college

Look at all of the choices and let your student know which of these is the one you are willing to pay for. There are usually tiered levels of dorms and meal plans which include different levels of amenities etc. These types of expenses can be crazy expensive even when you set limits.

My suggestion is to start with one of the least expensive, and see how that goes. If you teen needs more, you can add. But, remember that they will eat off of campus some, and probably snack in their rooms as well.

Know that the Cost of Attendance is so much more than the information below. Here is my YouTube video discussing what actual COA is for attending college, and the things to consider. Read on below for more details.

Tuition and Books

Tuition and books are the other biggie.

Tuition costs are set per hour. So, the cost is determined by the number of classes your teen takes. One option to look into is getting some of the gen. ed. classes taken care of at a local community college-these will cost so much less! Online is another option. Work with the school counselor to look into different possibilities.

Your student will need books. These can be rented or shared to save on the cost. Another way to save is to check out the library- many schools have their textbooks available there for students to use.

There are many websites that rent, including Amazon, which has worked well for both renting and purchasing for my oldest son. We sit down before each semester with both our computers open. He logs into his school bookstore, and I log into Amazon. In most cases the cheapest option is to RENT from Amazon! There are a few exceptions, but know that the return policy for Amazon is super easy and user-friendly. (All of these links to Amazon in this paragraph will take you straight to the textbook rental portal.)

Here are some books that helped us so much! (I am adding their newest version)

The Ultimate Scholarship Book

College Bound

How to Write a Winning Scholarship Essay

Admission Matters


Shop Amazon – Rent Textbooks – Save up to 80%

Day to day expenses.

These expenses are for things like a meal off of campus, personal grooming items or school supplies that run out, and new clothing or shoes. What will you be willing to spend on these types of items? What will you expect your student to spend of their own money, if any? Be as detailed as possible to plan the best budget for college for your teen.

A great way to plan ahead to make the most of all the time and money spent on college is to work with a college and career planner. This will take a lot of the guesswork out of the process. My friend Loren has got a great program for teens and their parents. There are assessments that your teen can take, and then she can help with some of the decision making. I wish that I had had her back in the day when my older two were planning! As my youngest gets a little older, Loren is going to be my secret weapon!

Help your teen plan a budget for college!

Senior year in high school is the best time to start! Don’t wait until next year!

What do you spend now on your kid for day-to-day expenses? Does your child have a job? Should they get one? Are you planning on them working in college for their extra expenses? Either way, you need to figure out what the budget will be.

There are many ways of working this out with your kids. For our boys, we pay for school, housing with a meal plan, and books. Anything, else is on them such as meals off of campus, fraternity, and clothes. This means that they have worked since they were 15 during summers, and part time during school each year for their spending money.

Our oldest son was able to get a great scholarship package for his grades, ACT, BSA Eagle and Boy’s State. We aren’t really spending much on him at all. Our second son will have a different situation, but we have already talked with him at length about this, and he knows what the budgeted amount will be. He also has his BSA Eagle, but not the other accolades. He will utilize the A+ program in community college.

A+ Program

Our state (Missouri) has a great program called the A+ Program. If a student shows good citizenship, has the required attendance, the required GPA, and with teacher supervision tutors a peer for at least 50 hours, then they graduate with A+ requirements on their record. (There are a few other items on the list, but these are the main ones.)

This is a great help for getting community college, and hopefully an Associate’s Degree, basically for free-except for books! The specifics are in the link above. You should check with your school to see about any type of program such as this for a student who does not excel in school or on standardized tests.

Discuss ALL of these expenses to plan a budget for college.

Look at the college website. Open all tabs on the website pertaining to costs and scholarships. (Look for all of the fees! There are things like parking fees, technology fees, health insurance fees…) Be open about what you as parents are thinking is a reasonable budget. Listen to and encourage questions from your child. One thing that we have learned is that they don’t know what they don’t know. Spell everything out as clearly as possible.

Don’t wait until they are headed to college. Neither side should have to assume anything! You know what your budget is, so tell your child up front. Your child may have some expectations as well. This is the time to lay it all out on the table. I wrote another blog post on paying for college. Check it out here.

Some sample expenses for freshman year could be: car payment and insurance, gas, cell phone, fun money for going out, groceries (for dorm room, also toiletries as they run out), clothing, student loan payments, credit card… What is your child responsible for now? Will it be the same when they are gone at college? If you would like it to be different than what it is now, then now is the time to change things!

Even the cat says, "Budget for college!"

Talk about future finances!

Are you wondering what you should be teaching your teen about money? Saving? Investing? This knowledge is so important for our kids as they leave for college and/or beyond. I so wish that I had know all of this when I was their age!

I have found this awesome resource. It’s called 5 Things Parents Must Teach Kids About Money. There is also Millionaire by 51. Both of these are from my new friend in the blogging world, John Q. Miller aka. “Daddy401k” He was in our Next Phase Parenting Summit back in January, and had so much great information!

Here is a little bit about John-  ‘…I have a passion for financial literacy for kids. … my wife and I raised our two daughters and taught them lifelong lessons about personal finance. We gave them a head start for financial freedom that we didn’t have when we ventured out into the world as young adults.’

Budget for college|www.parentinghighschoolers.com

Need a plan?

Check out my budget planner for you and your soon-to-be college student to fill out together.

As you and your teen plan for this big event, be sure that you have a plan for their next four years. What I mean is, do you all know what the ultimate goal is besides graduating? With a good plan in place, a couple of things can happen. First, your child can graduate in four years, which can be a huge savings! That extra semester or two can be an enormous expense. Second, by having a good plan in place, you and your child can be sure that the degree they have chosen is marketable, and that the chances of getting a job at graduation are greater.

My friend Loren Kelly has a great program which will help your family with some of these choices. She can help you to figure out what degree will match your teen’s interests and make sure that they get on and stay on the right track. Loren has few programs which can really help you all as you make plans.

Apply for scholarships.

One thing that I wish I had known with my oldest son, is that this whole process could be started in middle school. Many scholarships are available starting for students when they are 13! These are good ones to try for, because who knows this? No one that I have spoken with about this process has known.

As a parent, you need to set up a specific email just for scholarships, and so should your child–even if you are the only one checking them. Sign up for scholarship websites, and fill out the profiles. (These can be edited down the road as your child learns more about themselves and their likes and dislikes.)

These websites will start to send lots of emails about different scholarships that are available. They will be organized in many ways. Stay up with them and create a list of ones to try for. Many can and should be deleted. Don’t go crazy with this. Maybe try for one a month, more during the summer or over holidays.

How 2 Win Scholarships
Monica Matthews is a former teacher and a stay-at-home mom of three boys. She’s a mom who worked with her son to earn enough scholarships to attend college for free. I’ve signed up for her newsletters and she’ll let you know when to apply for scholarships. She always has up to date information on her blog. She has a parent guide and student guide as well as a really great online tool for keeping track of scholarship opportunities!

Planning a budget for college is so important!

All things considered, start these discussions SOONER THAN LATER. This can be a fun time to figure things out together, and to make decisions as a team.

Good luck to you all! Let me know how this goes for you!

Related posts:

College Bound: Conversations to Help Your Teen Through High School,

Freshman Dorm Necessities,

High School Parent Toolkit, and

The Truth about College and Student Loan Debt

My Teen Is Turning 18! What Are the Legal Implications?

I would love to stay in touch!

Visit my Facebook page, and follow me on Pinterest and YouTube! I look forward to seeing you again!


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Budget for college|www.parentinghighschoolers.com






Best Halloween Decor For A Dorm Room: 9 Spooky Ideas!

Best Halloween Decor For A Dorm Room: 9 Spooky Ideas!

Easy and inexpensive Halloween decor for a dorm room

Halloween is such a fun holiday! A great way to get involved at college is to encourage your teen to participate in a decorating contest for their dorm room or apartment! Snacks will earn them extra credit… Here is some great Halloween decor for a dorm room or an apartment. *This post may contain affiliate links. My full disclosure policy is here.

Start with storage for your holiday decorations

Be sure to grab a flat storage container to put the decor in under a bunk or regular bed. If you only purchase small and flat things, the need for storage is minimal. The set pictured below would be great. One for fall decor, and one for spring. If your teen drives to school, they can bring one home over holiday break and exchange it out. (This set was also one of the cheapest options, these are more expensive than I thought!)

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A great way to get involved at college is to encourage your teen to participate in a decorating contest for their dorm room or apartment! Snacks will earn them extra credit… Here are some great Halloween decor for a dorm room or an apartment.

Halloween Decor For Your Dorm (and some fall ideas as well)

Begin with a fall tree. I would suggest a fall tree because that will take your teen up to Thanksgiving. This will easily fit on a small table or shelf to be out of the way. However, here are some small Halloween trees if you want to be specific. Does your teen already have a plant in their room? These eyeball plant markers are a riot -and they just stick into the soil, so they will take up no new space!

A cute Halloween doormat just inside the door will set a fun tone as well.

Does your teen have a light up box? This will be great for all holidays!

Some spooky Halloween lights to string around the room wil be a great addition. Here are some plain orange lights for a more general fall theme. This group of scary critters hang from the ceiling with a bit of tape and take up no floor space!

Wall decals are fun, and take up NO space! Here are some creepy spiders.🕷 And, here is some spider webbing to stretch out in different corners. Both of these are cheap decorations, take up little to no space, and can be thrown away after the holiday! And, here are some spooky window cling ons.

Grab a Halloween mug for your teen and their roomie!

Get a set of pillar candles. Then, order decals for each holiday to decorate the sides- this set has 6 holidays. This is super cheap and easy!

Get some pillow covers. These take up little room, and your teen can switch them up each holiday.👻🦃🎄❤️🍀🐰

If your teen gets a grapevine wreath, then it can be changed out with a little holiday ribbon a few little decorations for each season. This set of four colors could get them through the year!

Other ideas for Halloween fun!

If your teen is looking to just decorate their door, here are some really great ideas!

Here are some great Halloween care package ideas.🎃

Just for fun, here is a Classic Horror Movie Countdown, which is an advent calendar for Halloween. And, here is a light up Halloween box, advent calendar. Might be too big for a dorm room, but too cute not to share! Here is a Funko 13 Day Spooky Halloween Countdown with 13 Pocket Pop! sized vinyl figures from your favorite Horror franchises

It’s always fun to have a t-shirt or sweatshirt for the season.

Your teen could host a movie night… Here is a post with 15 Halloween movies that are not super scary.

Does their dorm have a kitchen?  They can grab some slice and bake cookies, cookie cutters, and some seasonal decorating sprinkles etc, and have fun! There are also prebaked cookies that you can order from Amazon or the local grocery will do this for you as well.

They may need Halloween face masks and fall/Thanksgiving face masks

Here is a post for a dorm room that may be feeling sort of crowded -ideas for more storage in a small dorm room.

I hope this post gives you a lot of easy, and mostly inexpensive ideas for Halloween decor for a dorm room or apartment!

Related posts

15+ Best Gift Guides for Teens

I would love to stay in touch!

Visit my Facebook page, and follow me on Pinterest and YouTube! I look forward to seeing you again! And, finally, if you feel like this post was helpful, please share it on your favorite social media platform! Thank you so much!❤️ 

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A great way to get involved at college is to encourage your teen to participate in a decorating contest for their dorm room or apartment! Snacks will earn them extra credit… Here are some great Halloween decor for a dorm room or an apartment.


Best Small Space Workout Equipment For Dorms: 10 Easy Ideas

Best Small Space Workout Equipment For Dorms: 10 Easy Ideas

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College is a busy time of life. So much time spent studying, participating and socializing. Our students need to remember to fit some sort of exercise into their lives to stay healthy. The problem with dorm rooms and many college apartments is the lack of space. Here are ideas for the best small space workout equipment your student could use.

First, it goes without saying that exercise is so important! It can have a “positive impact on depression, anxiety, and ADHD”, plus it can help a person to “feel more energetic throughout the day, sleep better at night, have sharper memories, and feel more relaxed and positive about themselves and their lives.” More great info from this great article.

We know that our kids will be stressed from academics, social situations, and various other activities in their college and/or work lives. One of the first things I always ask my sons is, “Have you exercised lately?” This could mean so many things! Going to the gym. Taking a walk. Going for a swim… 

For me, exercise helps me to clear my mind, and this is a FREE way to exercise! Here are 10 benefits to walking that you might not know about – I totally agree with the creative thinking benefit.

I did some research, and found out that there are many options for exercise equipment for a small space that fit my criteria -low cost, and very little space. A lot of these options are also great for those of us as parents beginning to think about down-sizing!

*This post may contain affiliate links. My full disclosure policy is here.

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Best small space exercise equipment

Best small space workout equipment

Stretching and strength

Smaller weights -These are great because different components can be added or removed to adjust the weight -the lowest weight is 2.3 lbs. and the highest weight is 4.5 lbs. per dumbbell.

Yoga mat -This mat is great for ease of storage, and it comes in a variety of colors to match any dorm room. Blocks and a strap would be great additions!

Kettlebell -This one is great because it is also adjustable, and takes up hardly any room!

Pilates ball -I thought this one would be good because it comes with a handy exercise chart! This is only a 9″ ball, so it would fit under most beds.

Pilates bar kit -There are so many to choose from. I liked the options and price for the picture below.

Balance ball -My son who has his personal training certification, swears by this thing. There are so many exercises that will work on this. It weighs only 12 pounds, and when inflated, stands only 10″ high, so again, this will fit under a bed or desk.

Resistance bands set -This is different than the Pilates band set. I like the one below because It includes a carrying case, jump rope and lots of other options.


Under-desk elliptical -I liked that this mentioned low noise. In a dorm room or small apartment situation, that could really be a factor. This can also be used to exercise arms.

Foldable exercise bike -This is a little bit more expensive than the other tools that I have mentioned. However, it can be folded up, and stored in a corner, and is great for cardio. With Zooms, and other online options for class, a student could get a workout in, AND attend class.

Mini-tramp -This was my favorite go-to in college, and still today! I love my mini-tramp: it’s fun, it can be hidden under a bed or behind a door, and it is a great workout!

Ways to exercise in a small space

Exercise cards -There are also exercise dice -who knew? There is also a way to use a regular deck of cards to create a great workout!

Internet videos and apps -These are great for on-the-go schedules! And, here is a BMI calculator to use as well. The image below is one of the newer apps. Most are free to start, which is a great way to check out whether you like it or not. Then you can decide if it is worth it to spend money each month.

Other helpful devices

Fitbit -This is another bigger expense. But, the price range is pretty large, and I found some off-brands for as little as $40. This will help track all areas of fitness, which is helpful when there are so many other things to keep track of in life!

Jug for hydration -The best are the kind with lines for keeping track of the amount to drink, and with some sort of handle for easy transport. The one below has great messages as the day progresses.

Vapor Fresh -to deodorize equipment, shoes, laundry. It comes in powder, spray and wipes. The picture below is a 3-pack for all uses.

Related posts

What will my freshman need for the dorm?

Halloween decs for a tiny dorm room

15+ Best Gift Guides for Teens

I would love to stay in touch!

Visit my Facebook page, and follow me on Pinterest and YouTube! I look forward to seeing you again! And, finally, if you feel like this post was helpful, please share it on your favorite social media platform! Thank you so much!❤️

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best workout equipment for small spaces

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