The Ultimate College Dorm Guide
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The Ultimate College Dorm Guide

All the random dorm tips I wish I knew freshman year.

The Ultimate College Dorm Guide

Guess what? It’s August already! Summer flew by so very quickly and soon it will be time to head to college! When I was getting ready to leave home to begin the wonderful adventure that was my freshman year, rather than stressing about how difficult classes would be, worrying about making friends, and getting nervous about being homesick, I was probably most anxious about picking out items for my dorm room and packing everything up. It’s an overwhelming process! If you’re like me, you want your dorm room to be absolutely perfect-- it’s your new home, after all! I wanted the perfect aesthetic, I wanted to be comfy, and I wanted my room to represent who I am. I also wanted to have everything I needed, not forget anything, and keep my room clean-ish. Now, is that so much to ask? I ended up being very pleased with the way my dorm room came out, and I can’t wait to pack it all up and start over when I go back to school at the end of the month! If you’re an incoming freshman or an upperclassman who just wants to improve your dorm skills for the upcoming year, this one’s for you.

“Isn’t this a little early to start thinking about my dorm? I have a whole month until I go to college!”

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If you’re not a freshman, okay, maybe it’s a tiny bit early. But do not procrastinate! It really will hit you hard if you do not think about packing until the last minute. Freshman-- If you haven’t started, then get to it! It’s definitely never too early! If you go little by little and make a checklist for yourself, you'll save yourself a whole lot of stress in the end.

Dorm Decor

  • Pinterest is your friend for cool dorm ideas! Get artsy! Be creative! Make your dorm special!
  • HomeGoods is the best store for unique and affordable decor! If you have one near you, definitely check it out.
  • Get plenty of Command hooks and strips! You will need more than you think you will for all your picture hanging needs. I used a few hooks in my closet for jewelry and scarves, too!
  • If you want lots of pictures of your family and friends, Snapfish is a great website to use. You can print tons of photos in any size or shape you want for a really low price. It makes your cliché clothesline of photos or your sentimentally crafted collage a breeze!
  • Pick a color scheme, but don’t feel too much pressure about sticking to it. I literally picked out all my decor and then returned everything and started over three times. Nothing is permanent. If you are crazy like me and picking a color scheme will stress you out, start with one piece you really love-- like your bedspread or a pretty pillow-- and work your way out from there.
  • If you’re planning on getting a plant, get something that is easy to care for

I learned this the hard way.


Bring more storage and hangers than you think you’ll need. At home, you probably do not realize how much stuff you have. When I packed for my freshman year, I brought just enough storage for the things I was bringing which seemed to make sense at the time. I thought at first, “I’m bringing pants so they go in a pants drawer. I’m bringing toiletries, so they go in a box labeled toiletries.”

But I promise you when you get to college, after a month or two, you’re just going to start accumulating all of the stuff. All of a sudden there’s stuff squished into the corner of your closet and stuff on your desk and stuff under your bed. Not specific stuff. Just stuff. Do yourself a favor and after you’re done packing, get that extra container for under your bed or those extra hangers for your closet because I guarantee you will use them!


Use a list like this one to help you!

Also, when you pack the clothes in your closet, leave them on their hangers and stick them into a few large garbage bags with the handles sticking through the top like a garment bag:

That way, you can rip off the garbage bag after you hang the package and just hang everything up at once! Easy peasy!

Dorm Cleaning

Cleanliness is important! I’m no clean freak by any means, but it was a priority for me for my living space at college to be “un-gross” if nothing else. If it’s not sparkling clean, that’s fine, but un-gross is definitely important.

  • If you use a Keurig, make sure you clean it out once in awhile! I totally didn’t realize this at first, but they can get pretty disgusting inside-- especially under where you put your mug! The dirty coffee water drips into it and can even cause mold! Yuck!
  • If you don’t have a Swiffer, or like me, you have one but are too lazy to assemble it, a Clorox wipe and your foot will work wonders! Not kidding- I did this on a regular basis last year.
  • In general, Clorox wipes are just wonderful things.
  • I don’t know why, but I always forget to take out my trash, and it always ends up obnoxiously overflowing out of the trash can! Keep a plastic bag in your trash can rather than throwing things in the trash can itself so you don't have to deal with going out to take out your trash and going all the way back to your room to put the trash can back. If you know you’re going to forget to take out your full trash-bag, hang the bag on your door handle the second you remember that you need to take out your trash! Then you won’t leave the room without it!
  • Don’t leave food out for more than a day. Just don’t.
  • For your laundry, detergent pods may not be your best bet. At least at my school, the washing machines do not do the best job at cleaning your clothes, so I’ve experienced having to redo my laundry because the pod did not pop. So annoying. Liquid detergent is probably a better idea.
  • Another laundry tip-- especially if you’re living on a floor that does not have a washing machine, get a laundry bag that is easy to carry! Hauling loads of laundry down four flights of stairs with a handle-less laundry bag was not fun.

More is more.

If you’re questioning if you need it, I don’t care if your mom says to you, “Why on earth would you need a colorful globe for your desk or a millionth decorative pillow for your bed?” Just get it. If it’s a decor item that has no purpose but it’s just going to make you happy when you look at it, it’s okay to splurge a little. Like I said before, it’s your new home. You do not want to look at cold, blank walls every night when you go to sleep and every morning when you wake up. Make your room into something that will make you smile every time you walk in! And if that means a couple of random knick-knacks here and there, that’s okay. You’re going to be there the whole year, so make it yours!

Also, if you say to your mom, “Why on earth would I need a box of safety pins or an iron?” get that, too because yes, you will indeed need those things and so many other things that you don’t actually think you’ll use. Overpack.

But seriously, don’t stress out too much about these things either way. If you forget something, you can always go out to the closest Target or Bed Bath & Beyond, and you’ll be fine. Likewise, if you bring too much, you can always send it home or return it. It’s gonna be okay. I promise.

I hope my tips are helpful! Happy packing!
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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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