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Move-in day essentials ease day's stress

Move-in day is a long, hot, often-not so-fun day. First years meet roommates for the first time, hoping and praying that they are normal and friendly. Then you spend all day hauling stuff up and down stairs in the heat. To make the most of the day, this guide includes a list of stores and restaurants that can get you through your first day at the University.

I used many of these stores when moving into my dorm room first year, and apartments later. Each is pretty affordable and fun to go to even if it's not move-in day. It's best to get all you can before you start your trek down route 29, but everyone forgets something, and you should get supplies while your parents are still there to pay.

Wal-Mart Always a prime student attraction, you can find almost everything you need for a low price: sheets, towels, fans, hardware, frames, posters, lamps, ironing boards, storage bins, school supplies, plants, outdoor furniture, sports equipment, etc. (on route 29.)

Meadowbrook Hardware Store Convenient with a friendly, helpful staff, you can find all sorts of fun stuff like paint, tape, nails, tools, phone cords, cooking utensils, gardening supplies and more. It has a little of everything and is only a few minutes from Grounds. (Emmet Street, across from Barracks Road shopping center.)

Lowe's A giant warehouse hardware store offering everything you need for a new apartment, and some stuff for dorms. You can find fans, mirrors, furniture, carpeting, lamps, electric supplies, phones and related products, outdoor furniture, grills, and gardening supplies. (on route 29)

Kmart Similar to the stores above, but with a (yes, I admit I like some of it) Martha Stewart line of home decorations such as sheets, curtains, rugs, bath mats and towels, table settings, paint and more, at an affordable price. (Hydraulic Road off of route 29)

Bed Bath & Beyond Located in the Barracks Road shopping center, this is a convenient stop for home decorating and bath supplies. They sell frames, vases, dishes, kitchen supplies, sheets, towels and a variety of other small useful items near the check-out counters. (Barracks Road shopping center)

IKEA If you're not in a hurry, or are planning ahead to bring stuff with you, this store is a great place to go, especially if you're moving into a new apartment or house and need furniture. They carry everything a person could desire for a home: furniture, decorations, dishes, linens, accessories, lamps, desks, organizing units, frames, artwork, rugs and whatever else you can think of, all at very reasonable prices. (Potomac Mills shopping center, Woodbridge, Va.)

The next order of business is lunch. After a hectic day of lugging heavy suitcases, computers, TVs and more, everyone will be thirsty and starving. There's always fast food, but there are some other quick (and healthy and tasty) alternatives too.

The Corner, located on University Avenue about a five-minute walk from the Lawn, has a lot of good choices. This is convenient from Old Dorms, and the Sprigg Lane Residence halls. If you just want a sandwich, try Take it Away(on Elliewood Avenue, which turns off of University) or littlejohn's New York Delicatessen.

If you're in new dorms, you can walk up Alderman Road (away from McCormick Road), cross to Maury Avenue, and find Yuan Ho's for some Chinese take-out.

If you choose to drive for food or get some munchies while shopping for supplies, there's Ben & Jerry's in the Barracks Road shopping center, as well as Hot Cakes (with good sandwiches, desserts, and a selection of other tasty dishes), and Harris Teeter (with lots of sandwiches, sushi and sashimi, pizza and a salad bar).

Lowe's has a Krispy Kreme store inside, and is across the street from Kohr Brothers Frozen Custard (on route 29), which tastes cool and creamy on a hot day.

If you want to explore other parts of Charlottesville, try the Downtown Mall (follow West Main Street to Water Street), which has an eclectic mix of restaurants for lunch and dinner. Parents tend to enjoy this outdoor pedestrian mall as well, as there are a variety of interesting stores in which to poke around.