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What are the College Dorm Essentials? [Materials List]

college dorm essentials

Table of Contents

Why Does What I Bring to College Even Matter?

One of the first things students look forward to in starting college or coming back is making the dormitory their own space. Knowing what to bring to college for your dorm is important. This space is your central hub—your study spot, your mini kitchen, your bedroom, your space for late-night deep conversations, and so much more. So how do you know what to bring to college? Our guide will help you with the college dorm essentials.

Our Top 12 Basic College Dorm Essentials

Does twelve seem a little odd? Well, we couldn’t leave some items out (hence “essentials”). 

1. Curtains—Are you a light sleeper? Blinds may only be so helpful. Having black-out curtains that block out sunlight can be crucial. They also can be a perfect, simple addition to personalize your space.

2. Mini Fridge—Snacks are another important part of the college lifestyle. And if you grab a few letter magnets, you can leave cryptic messages to your roommates.

3. Plastic Dishes—Speaking of eating, thrift a plate or two, or grab $1 plastic dishes from Target or Walmart. They’re lightweight and sturdy, probably lasting longer than a freshman-year relationship.

4. Area Rug—Even if your dorm is carpeted, having a small area rug is another great way to add dimension and personality to your room as well as cover up any small stains you might have accidentally made.

5. Full-length mirror—Those dimly-lit college bathroom half-mirrors cannot give you the full picture. Full length mirrors are easy to find and set up anywhere in the room!

6. String or LED lights—These are a great and affordable way to customize the lighting of your room to your aesthetic preference.

7. Storage Bins—Finding a way to fit your life into a small room shared with another individual can be tricky. One of the best ways to conserve space and still bring your stuff is to get creative with storage!

8. Power Strips—There’s usually a 1:100 ratio for accessible outlets to things you need to plug in on a regular basis. Having a few extension cords on your hands will make those hard-to-reach outlets more accessible.

9. Electric Hot Pot—When the cafeteria is closed, but you’re still hungry, grabbing a dorm-safe, university-approved hotpot is a lifesaver. It can be used to boil pasta, ramen, steam veggies, or do a ton of other things that can fuel you up.

10. Sturdy Laundry Basket—Having something sturdy is important. This is what you’ll be lugging between college and your parent’s house, or up and down steps from your dorm to the laundry room, so get something that’ll last. 

11. First Aid Kit—You never know when you might need it. You never think you will until you do.

12. Fan—If you and your roommate have disagreements on temperature preference, having a smaller fan is always a great way to cool down without changing the room’s entire temperature.

What You Never Think To Bring But Always End Up Needing in Your Dorm

Otherwise known as the items never on those college dorm essentials checklists. This detailed college list is all the things you wished someone had told you what you would need at unexpected times.

  1. Mattress topper. It’s not the most decorative item, but your sleep is one of the most valuable things in college. A mattress topper guarantees a better night’s rest.
  2. White noise machine. Having one of these handy will help replace the snore of your roommate with peaceful sounds.
  3. Seat cushion. Sometimes, those dorm chairs just don’t cut it. Finding a perfect seat cushion can make a huge difference.
  4. Booklight. When you are trying to finish an assignment but your roommate is asleep, having portable book lights comes in handy.
  5. Keychain Holder. Have you ever left your keychain somewhere in your house and ran late because you couldn’t find it? A keychain holder can solve that problem, and there are plenty of options that don’t require you to drill holes in dorm walls.
  1. Compact toolbox. Sometimes, a screw in your chair comes loose. A toolbox with the basic essentials will give you the skills to fix minor problems, or adjust things in your dorm to your exact liking. Just don’t become a renovator.
  2. Comfortable folding saucer chair or bean bag chair. Having a spare folding chair can be a great alternative for guests, or for you when you’re tired of studying at your desk.
  3. Stain remover/disinfectant. Inevitably, something will spill on your clothes or on your bedding. These can help save you.
  4.  Electric Kettle. If you want to make a quick cup of coffee or tea, electric kettles are great!
  5. Scissors. Your parents always had a pair in the house, so you took its availability for granted.

Download Your Complete Dorm Essentials Checklist!

We hope this guide helped you figure out what you need to bring to college. For your convenience, we compiled the college dorm essentials into a downloadable and printable checklist with links to available products included in this blog!


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