30 College Dorm Room Essentials

college dorm essentials

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When you arrive at the university, your dormitory is everything: a kitchen, a bedroom, a dressing room, a gym, a study space, etc. That’s a lot of equipment to pack in a small space (have you read our favorite organizing tips recently?). And while there is nothing you can do to improve the quality of food in the cafeteria or the nighttime habits of your random roommate, you can make sure that you use every inch of your dorm to the best of your ability. But what are the items on the college packing list really necessary, and what can you live without? Because the worst would be to give tons of your precious storage space to a big device that you will use a few times in the first month and that you will never look at again. (Ahem, iron and ironing board. That’s why Downy made the anti-wrinkle spray.) Before you go to school, find out the essentials of the dorm you will really need with this checklist. Many of the items – including bedding, tubs and electronics / appliances – were the top picks from the Good Housekeeping Institute (GHI), which also took into account the economic value of the items. Fill up and you’re ready for school.

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$ 32.99


Mattress topper


$ 42.99

These old XL twin mattresses issued by the university were around. If you are a sensitive sleeper, you may want to add a mattress topper to make your bed firmer, less bumpy and more comfortable. Linenspa has tested well with the GHI and comes in this awkward dorm size.

RELATED: How to Build Your Best Bed Ever


Comfortable pillows


$ 27.99


Plates, bowls and cups


$ 27.14

Even if you plan to spend most of your time eating in the dining room, there will be days when you will get something from your room. Prepare with your own dishes: this set comes with plates, bowls and cups that can be safely used in the microwave and dishwasher, if you are lucky enough to have one.

RELATED: The best tableware sets of 2020




$ 54.52

And don’t forget the spoons, knives and forks that go with it! This set comes with a neat rack for hanging everything, which is a boon for those who do not have kitchen drawers.


Wall art


$ 43.00

Eventually, the walls will be coated with posters, photos and flyers, but when you ship to school for the first time, a concrete block wall can be depressing. These prints look like real art, but are offered at university prices.

RELATED: Ideas for dorms that will make a small space feel like home


Laundry basket


$ 13.99

Laundry is the easiest thing to store in a dorm, because you just have to put everything in a basket. This one has sturdy handles that will allow you to carry a ton of it to washing machines, and also collapses when empty. (As if it was going to be empty.)


Bath towels

South tide

$ 16.99

These super affordable towels have received good GHI scores for absorption, drying speed, softness and strength of the fabric. That way you can buy a ton and procrastinate while doing the laundry.

RELATED: The best bath towels, according to textile experts


Shower shoes

There’s not much you can do about the shared shower in a dorm. It is best to invest in a good pair of waterproof sandals to wear in and out of the bathroom. Classic Adidas shower sandals are also available in men’s sizes and in a range of colors.



Richie house

$ 24.99


Shower caddy

This mesh basket is large enough to carry everything you need to and from the shower, and can also be folded flat when empty to save space.


Plastic drawers

They are light, portable, keep the space away and you can adapt them somewhere in your dorm – even if it’s under your bed. With the IRIS system, you can choose three, four, five, six, seven or ten drawers.


Storage bins


$ 31.99


Notice board / dry erase board


$ 8.86

Keep yourself organized, remember tests and projects, leave messages for your roommates and fix photos of the house – all you need is a bit of wall space.


2021 planner

Thunder Bay Press

$ 13.79

Keep your life straight for the next year and a half with a planner that will allow you to see all of your next appointments at a glance. You can add more details to your digital calendar, but there is something good about having a hard copy of your calendar that you can just flick through.


Desk lamp

TW Lighting

$ 24.44


Comfortable chair


$ 29.00

It’s always a good idea to have extra seating for friends, or a comfortable place to snuggle and read. This eye-catching chair comes with a memory foam cushion for added comfort.


Desk fan

Because you’re probably not going to have air conditioning in your dorm. It also doubles as a silent machine with white noise.


Sound-absorbing headphones

There is going to be a time when you have to drown loud music, roommates talking or some other distracting noise and hit the books. GHI liked this pair because it was more affordable than real noise canceling headphones and they stayed in place very well.

RELATED: The best noise canceling headphones


Stationery store


$ 1.00

Texting and FaceTime work, but snail mail is really special. Stock up on greeting cards and postcards to send to friends in other schools and have these little P.O.boxes checked out less fruitless effort.


Trash can

Depending on your school, you may need to bring a trash can with you. Try to find one that doesn’t take up too much of your precious storage space, like this lean one from Umbra.


Full-length mirror

Rose Home Fashion

$ 73.99

This mirror is ready to hang above your closet or dorm door. You can also opt for storage above the door if you have a mirror elsewhere.


Card holder for your phone

In some schools, students almost never use cash – the student card is everything. Slide the ID into one of these adhesive card holders, which uses 3M technology to stick to the back of the phone. After that, it’s good to go to the cafeteria without a wallet or purse.




$ 7.50

Of course, you can probably take course notes on your laptop. But when inspiration strikes, there’s nothing like having a pen + paper handy.


Additional hooks

3M control

$ 7.81

Because you need a place to hang your towels. The control hooks adhere to many different surfaces, hold well and do not damage the walls when you take them down at the end of the year.


Power Strip

Something no one warns students about: you can never get enough holds. Since you must have many devices to charge, it is best to bring a backup.


Small appliances

The rules for small appliances differ between schools, so you will need to check whether you are allowed to use hotplates, electric kettles, microwaves or coffee makers. But if they give the OK, it certainly helps to have the comfort of these creatures.


Travel mug


$ 14.99

You’re going to need coffee. Edit this: you are always is going to need coffee. This travel mug allows you to take your favorite drink with a screw-on lid to keep it tightly closed.

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