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Preparing for college is super exciting, but there are a lot of things you need to bring for your home away from home. Having no prior experience to life in a dorm, you might be confused about what you need to bring. This is a compiled list of 25 dorm essentials you don’t want to forget to bring to college.
Tips for Buying College Dorm Essentials:
- Check what type of furniture your dorm offers. You might not be able to have your bed unlofted or partially lofted, so you should look into that before you buy anything.
- Organize, organize, organize! Dorm rooms are TINY. But you still have to live there, so try to make sure everything has a proper place.
- Communicate with your roommate. There are certain things you really don’t need two of, so you should talk to your roommate to figure out who’s buying what. This would include room decor, a tv, a rug, and a futon to start.
Now here is a list of 25 dorm room essentials you’ll need in college.
1. Twin XL Mattress Topper
This is a necessity if you want to get any sleep in college. The mattress they provide is thin and has a plastic exterior that would be uncomfortable to sleep on all on its own. A memory foam mattress topper can make your dorm bed even more comfortable than your bed at home. You should buy one that’s at least two inches thick for optimal results.
2. Shower Caddy
You’re probably going to have to use a communal bathroom your first year of college. A shower caddy allows you to store all your bath products together and makes them easy to transport. Plastic caddies are easier to keep clean and dry than mesh ones.
3. Extension Cords
There never seem to be enough outlets in dorm rooms. Make sure to bring both extension cords and power strips, because your furniture may block off your only outlet and make it hard to reach.
4. Long Phone Charger
You don’t want to be tethered to your bedside phone charger. A long phone charger (mine is 6-ft) will give you flexibility to move about your room while still charging your phone.
There is never enough space for all your stuff in a dorm room and it can easily look messy. You need to have adequate storage to keep everything organized. If you plan on having a partially lofted bed, you should take advantage of all the space for storage you’ll have underneath. Target has tons of options for storage from cube organizers to decorative baskets, there is bound to be something to fit your needs.
Cover up those ugly, cold tile floors with a fashionable rug. This is an easy way to make your room feel more homey without too much effort. Just be careful not to spill anything on it!
One of the biggest opportunities to personalize your room is through bedding. It is the first place you should start when deciding on room decor and a color scheme. You should go for a duvet set because it’s super easy to clean and you can change out the cover if you get tired of the color. Pillows help make your bed look more put together, but if you have too many they can get in the way. A throw blanket is also nice to have when your room gets cold.
Make sure to bring TWO sets of towels. That way if one set gets dirty, you don’t have to do your laundry right away. White towels are good because they can be bleached if they get stained by any beauty or hair products you may use.
9. Laundry Hamper
There are several alternatives when if comes to storing your laundry. You can go for a plastic laundry basket, a mesh hamper, or a laundry bag. Whichever option you choose, just make sure you will have space for it in your room. You probably won’t end up doing your laundry as often as at home because it’s a huge pain, so make sure you have plenty of room for dirty clothes.
10. Full-Length Mirror
If you want to be able to check out your outfit in the morning, you’re going to need a mirror. You can get one that goes over the door, or use command strips to hang one up on the wall. The typical framed full-length mirrors can look kinda cheap, so I opted for a frameless one you can get from Lowe’s.
11. Cleaning Supplies
A small room can collect dust pretty quickly, so it’s good to have some cleaning supplies on hand. They can also come in handy if you accidentally spill something. You should keep paper towels, clorox wipes, and windex in your dorm room.
12. Command Hooks
Most schools don’t like you to put holes in the wall with nails and screws and they enforce this through fines. Luckily, you can hang things on the wall is using command hooks (and strips). Just make sure not to ruin the paint job when you take them off. They come in all different sizes, to hold different weights, and are super easy to apply.
13. Wall Decor
A lot of people decorate their dorm rooms with tapestries. This can be good because a tapestry can cover a lot of wall space with very little effort. However, you can get a cleaner look with framed pictures or mirrors. You can find super affordable prints on Etsy to match your color scheme and decor style. Twinkle lights, wire signs, color-changing strip lights, and neon signs are all trends right now that can dress up your blank walls.
14. Tide Pods
Really any type of laundry detergent will do. Tide pods make doing laundry easier in my opinion. Dryer sheets, Tide to-go, and bleach pens are other items you may want to consider bringing to college.
Your dorm room will probably not come equipped with hangers. You will probably have either an actual closet or a smaller wardrobe, but either way you’ll need a bunch of hangers. Velvet no-slip hangers are perfect because your clothes won’t fall off. A packing tip is to put all your clothes on the hangers before moving in, which will make it super easy to unpack.
16. Bed Shelf
This is a staple if you plan on lofting your bed. I was super nervous about having my phone (or even my laptop) in my bed at night because I didn’t want anything to fall off the edge. Thankfully, they make shelves that attach to the side of your bed and hold all the stuff you might need. If you want to be able to charge your phone at night, you can get a cord holder to keep the end of your charger attached to the shelf.
If you have any clothes that tend to get wrinkled, you should get a mini-steamer. You probably won’t use this all the time, but you’ll be glad you have it. You definitely don’t want your formal pictures to be ruined because your dress has obnoxious wrinkles in it.
This may seem like an odd thing to keep at college, but you’re going to need a suitcase when you go home for breaks or do any other travel. Sometimes dorms have a storage room where you can keep your suitcase. Otherwise, you can hide it under your bed or get a duffel bag that is more compact to store.
19. Plastic Utensils
Even if you don’t plan on cooking anything in your dorm room, it can be useful to keep a box of plasticware around for emergencies. The main emergency I’m talking about is when you get food delivered and it doesn’t come with utensils. I mean that could be a serious disaster.
If you’re a coffee addict and you want to save a little cash, you should consider getting a Keurig. While K-cups aren’t great for the environment, the single serve model makes the cleanup way easier than a normal coffee maker. A Keurig is more expensive than a normal coffee maker, but overall way cheaper than going to Starbucks every day.
Make sure you double check whether or not your dorm has air conditioning. If not, you will NEED a fan, even if just for the first few weeks of school. A small room can get very warm, and sometimes more than one fan is necessary to solve the problem.
There is a huge difference between listening to music on your phone speaker and listening to music on an actual speaker. Not only does this have to do with volume, but also sound quality. If you plan on having people over, you’re going to want to own a nicer speaker. Portable bluetooth speakers are nice because you can bring them anywhere, but an echo dot or google home can be good if you like the voice activation features.
23. First Aid Kit
In general, it’s best to try to avoid getting injured or sick. But in the event that this occurs, having a first aid kit on hand is helpful. You should at least keep a box of Bandaids, Neosporin, Tylenol, Advil, and Day/NyQuil in your dorm room. If you want to prevent yourself from getting sick, be sure to stock up on Emergen-C.
Even if you try your hardest not to get sick, it’s bound to happen at some point. If you don’t want to end up blowing your nose on scratchy paper towels, buy some tissues ahead of time.
25. Bed Risers
If your dorm furniture doesn’t have a way to partially loft your bed, you can use bed risers to achieve the same look. Having a partially lofted bed is the best way to create more storage in your room while maintaining the facility of having a bed on the ground. Bed risers come in various sizes, so you can have your bed at whatever height you prefer.