20 Essentials You'll Need If You're Living In A College Dorm
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20 Essentials You'll Need If You're Living In A College Dorm

Going off to college will be different this year, but the essentials are still the same. Here's what you'll need when living in a college dorm.

20 Essentials You'll Need If You're Living In A College Dorm

The time to go back to school is here again and classes are right around the corner! Some of you may be starting college while others may already be in college. Some of you may be living in a dorm for the first time and some may not. Either way, there are always essentials to stock up on during this back to school season. So if you'll still be living in a college dorm this year despite everything, here are some of the main things you'll need to make sure you have checked off.

Mattress Protector/Pad/Topper

I can't stress enough how important it is to add all three of these to your college dorm shopping list. Unless you're living in a brand new dorm, a mattress protector is very important to invest in if you want to keep yourself and your bedding free from any grimes from previous users as well as bugs (unfortunately this can happen). A mattress pad and topper work to provide comfort that an old dorm mattress won't provide you. To get a nice, cushiony night's sleep, a foam mattress topper is your way to go.

Desk lamp

Desk lamps are always a handy thing to have and there are so many different types to choose from as well. I think it's great to invest in a desk lamp for your dorm for two reasons: 1.) If you do have a roommate, having a desk lamp will allow you to do your work still if your roommate has to sleep 2.) If you don't always like having a big light on, a desk lamp will still provide you with a comfortable amount of light. My personal favorite lamp is the TaoTronics LED Desk Lamp with a USB charging port, dimmable lighting that also allows you to change the color of the light from warm to cool, and an adjustable base and head to get the angle that best suits you.

Shower shoes

I can't stress this one enough. If you're living in a dorm with communal or shared bathrooms please get some shower shoes and actually use them! If you think about it, so many people are using the showers all day and every day so do you really want all of that getting all over your feet?

Cleaning supplies

Cleaning supplies are always an essential no matter what (and are unfortunately a hot commodity at the moment). The bottom line is that once you go off to college, you're completely responsible for keeping your space clean so you'll need that mirror, sink, and multipurpose cleaner as well as stuff to do your own dishes and laundry. No one's around to do that for you anymore.

Stain remover stick

If you're anything like me, you're really clumsy and always spilling something on yourself. Having a stain remover stick like Tide To Go will be your lifesaver not only in college but wherever you find yourself at. These sticks will save the white t-shirt that you thought was a good idea that day and I highly recommend carrying some with you at all times.

Bedside hanging storage caddy

Having a caddy like this really came in handy, especially with having a bed that lofted. I mean you have to have somewhere to put your phone and other bedside necessities that you like to have in close reach. You can find actual pouches with multiple pockets that will hang on the side of the bed or there are even small shelves to attach to the side as well.


So yes this might be kind of self-explanatory but unless you want to go through the trouble of messing with your entire closet at home just to get a couple of hangers only to, come back home over break and not have any I would recommend just grabbing a fresh set while you're checking off your list. You can find a pack of 50 for the amazing price of $20 at Bed Bath & Beyond as well as At Home.

Laundry basket

Also self-explanatory but once again you will be on your own with taking care of your own space as well as laundry. It's always a good idea to have a laundry basket for all of your dirty clothes (your roommate will especially appreciate this) and it makes your life so much easier when it comes time to walk laps around your building trying to find a free laundry machine. So please do yourself and your roommate a favor and invest in a laundry basket.

A printer

This may not be an essential for everyone but based on my experience last year, a printer might be a good purchase for your dorm life. Now, my dorm offered free printing for residents which was great but every time I turned around that printer was broken or taken. While I did go to the library a few times in those scenarios, there won't always be enough time for that when you have to print before class. Having your own printer (if allowed) will save you so much time and effort.

Shower caddy

Depending on how much product you use in the shower, this will be a lifesaver! This is your one stop place to put everything you need for the shower and have easy access to them.

Broom and dustpan or vacuum

Sometimes you just don't realize how dirty your floors will get at school so while you're adding other cleaning supplies to your list don't forget the broom or vacuum. Your floors will be sparkling and trust me, you'll feel so much better before you know it.

A few towels

Yet another thing you should just get a fresh set of when you're heading off to school. You'll obviously need a couple of these but I wouldn't go overboard with the amount you buy. Also, don't forget to grab smaller towels for your face or for when you're doing dishes.

Over the door shoe organizer

Ok so the purpose of this is in the name, however there is something really cool that you can do with this. I personally haven't tried it but I've seen this little trick all around. Basically this doesn't have to just be for shoes but it can also be for other things like accessories (belts, jewelry, etc), smaller items, toiletries, or even snacks. This hanging organizer can actually be more handy than you think.

Dishes and silverware

With the way things are this year, you might be choosing to eat in your room more this year instead of always going to the caf. So, you'll obviously need some silverware and dishes of your own. However, you don't have to get all fancy with those if you don't want to. You can actually find some plates, bowls, and cups for around 79 cents each at Target. Since it's only you, I'd recommend buying around two of each.

Command hooks and strips

If you plan on hanging anything on your walls or doors, Command hooks and strips will probably be one of the most important things to add to your list. These allow for easy application and removal of whatever you choose to put on your walls and doors and don't leave any marks. Just keep in mind that they do have a weight limit.

Face masks

Ahh yes the new essential for 2020. Yeah so you need this for basically everything now and if you don't have one at this point you'll definitely have to get on it if you plan on going anywhere around campus. Alternatively if you're just taking all online courses then you won't have to worry about this for school, but if you want to go anywhere else you'll need one.

Hand sanitizer

The other hot commodity of 2020. If I'm being honest, it's nearly impossible to find small hand sanitizer bottles anywhere now. This stuff is like pure gold if you happen to run across some! Thankfully I managed to find a couple of bottles out of luck. So keep your eyes peeled wherever you're at and snatch some up if you find it.

Portable charger

You'll most likely be using your phone and laptop a lot at school. Between finding your way around campus, listening to music, scrolling through socials before class, writing papers, doing homework, etc the battery will drain faster than you even realize it. So if you don't already have one I'd recommend finding a portable charger that will support your phone, tablet, computer, or any other tech you may need to charge.

Power strip with surge protector

Long story short, colleges are usually pretty picky about the plugs you bring. Usually you aren't allowed to bring an extension chord and if you do buy a power strip, it's typically mandatory that it has a surge protector to turn it off when you don't have anything plugged in. If you aren't allowed to have an extension chord then you might want to look into finding a power strip that has a decent amount of outlet on it.

A fan

This can also be handy in a couple of different ways. I've heard of some dorms that don't have any air conditioning which just sounds like a nightmare to me, so having a fan will save your room from being a sauna. Also, if you can't settle on a room temperature with your roommate it'll be perfect to have your own fan if your roommate refuses to have the room temp turned down.

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