What’s the real truth, what do you really need for your college dorm room?
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I ask this because I was at the mall with my college kid and we noticed all of the dorm room “must have’s” on display. We started talking about all of the “must have’s” we purchased that were never used. My daughter also laughed as she noticed several items that she really did need that were not on display.
We quickly realized that as so many stores try to sell you on all the things they think you need for your college dorm room, it’s hard to figure out what you actually need, what is nice to have and what you are just plain wasting your money on.
So, I want to give you the real lowdown on college dorm room necessities.
Most of these are available on Amazon, so you can avoid all those displays with the unnecessary items. While you’re on Amazon you might want to sign up for your free trial of student Prime. It’s not a necessity, but it is a definite nice to have.
Are you ready? Here we go:
COLLEGE DORM ROOM ITEMS YOU ACTUALLY NEED
Let’s start with the items that are absolute essentials. Each of these items will be used daily and if you don’t have them, you will find yourself ordering them. So plan ahead and get them now!
1. Extra Long Twin Sheets
Make sure you purchase extra long sheets, the regular size will not fit dorm room beds. Here are some easy to care for cotton sheets at a great price. You can save a few dollars by going with the microfiber sheets, but I personally don’t care for the feel of microfiber sheets.
2. A Good Backpack
You are going to be walking across campus and hauling your laptop and books. You want a solid sturdy backpack or book bag. This best selling backpack will hold your laptop, books, and supplies and it’s a great price!
3. A Good Laptop Computer
I promise you, this will rarely leave your side. A good quality laptop is absolutely essential. Macbooks are extremely popular choices. But, if a Macbook is outside of your budget, I have owned Acer laptops for years, without ever having any problems. Whatever choice you go with, look for something portable.
4. Blanket & Comforter
What you purchase here is just a matter of personal preference and style. There is a vast array to choose from. Just pick out something fun that you are going to enjoy.
Chances are better than not that you will be spending a lot of time in your bed doing late night study sessions. For this reason, you want your bed to be comfortable. You may even want to consider a body pillow. This body pillow was in constant use freshman year.
6. A Laundry Hamper & Laundry Detergent
A simple and easily portable laundry hamper is best here. You want to be able to store those dirty clothes and then grab the whole hamper and head laundry room.
7. Towels & Wash Clothes
You will be using these daily for the next four years. It’s worth investing in some towels that will hold up well.
8. Shower Shoes & Caddy
Simple flip flops will work just fine for your shower shoes. But make sure you have a decent shower caddy to carry all your personal necessities back and forth between your dorm room and the shower.
9. A Durable Water Bottle
Purchasing cases of bottled water can get expensive quick. In order to stay properly hydrated, a water bottle is going to be another necessity for the dorm room.
10. A Fan
Even if you’re lucky enough to have a college dorm room with air conditioning, you are still going to want a good fan. Those rooms are closed in and can get quite warm in the evening. A fan is going to help you get a good nights sleep. This was something we did not initially bring to college but had to purchase shortly after the start of the school year.
College dorm room dressers are fairly small. However, they usually have pretty decent size closets that have plenty of room for hanging clothing.
12. Full-Length Mirror
This is something that is often forgotten. However, dorm rooms do not come equipped with mirrors so make sure to put this item on your must have list.
13. A Power Strip
There are so many electronics that are needed today, a power strip will be required to keep everything plugged in and powered up.
14. Hand Sanitizer
Freshman year goes down in history as the year with the most colds all season long. Honestly, I think the thing college kids enjoy sharing the most is germs. With those close college dorm rooms and common areas, germs spread like wild fire. Hand sanitizer is an absolute must to ward off those germs and keep sickness to a minimum
15. Emergen-C or Airborne
While you’re loading up on the hand sanitizer make sure to pack a large supply or Emergen-C or airborne. Keeping your immunity system strong is vital.
COLLEGE DORM ROOM ITEMS NICE TO HAVE
Some dorms come equipped with a microwave, so check ahead of time if your room will have an available microwave. If not, this is one of those items that is really nice to have.
Even if you have a good meal plan, late night study sessions are going to take place after all the dining halls have been closed. A small microwave will be really nice to have to heat up some quick snacks like popcorn or dinner items like cup-of-noodles or oatmeal packets. After all, it’s hard to concentrate on studying when you’re starving.
2. A Keurig
3. Breakfast Station
Okay, we did not have one of these, but when I saw it, I instantly thought how cool it would be to have had one. So I’m throwing this in here just for fun!
After all, those late night study sessions can make it hard to get up in time to make it to the dining hall for breakfast before that early morning class starts. This little all in one breakfast station, complete with coffee maker and a toaster may make getting up a little easier.
This is listed as a nice to have rather than a necessity because most colleges do have places to print your documents. However, you generally have to pay for printing so having your own printer is definitely nice.
5. A Laptop Keyboard Cover
Remember what I said about spending a lot of late night study sessions on your bed. Well, my college kid was studying late one night and made herself a bowl of microwave mac n cheese and then proceeded to spill the bowl on her laptop. Let me tell you that was one expensive bowl of mac n cheese.
The damage to her laptop could have been avoided with a laptop cover. For that reason, I’m throwing this one in as a nice to have (all though in our case I think it was a necessity!)
6. A Portable Power Charger
College is a busy, busy time! A portable charger makes being on the go such much easier. This is one of those items that are really nice to have.
7. Portable USB Flash Drive
Here is another one of those college packing items that will be really nice to have. Being able to store documents on a USB flash drive is just plain convenient! Plus there are so many fun designs now, just search Amazon for Novelty USB Flash Drive.
This is going to be your new home for the next nine months. You will want to make your first college dorm room comfortable and homey. Plus, the homier you can make your room, the less likely you will be to get home sick. The best way to do this is with some special decor items.
These tapestries are VERY popular for dorm room decor. Also, look at most any college dorm room photo and you will see these cool hanging lights. Another VERY popular decorating trend for college dorm rooms is to hang lots of photos. These photo clips are such a big hit, everyone will want to know where you got them!
9. Portable Photo Printer
Since you are going to want to hang up lots of photos in the dorm room, you need a way to print them out. This portable photo printer is a best seller and perfect for getting those college memories up on your dorm room wall.
10. Amazon Student Prime
I hesitated on whether to put this under “need to have” or “nice to have. Having Amazon Student Prime saved us on more than several occasions.
Plus if you find you are really in need of something, knowing you can get free shipping and have the item within a minimum of two days is worth it.
PLEASE DON’T WASTE YOUR MONEY
1. Bed Risers
Dorm room beds are adjustable. You do not need bed risers. I can assure you if you buy them, you will never use them.
2. Mini Fridge
As long as you have a meal plan, you will not need this. My daughter’s dorm came furnished with a mini refrigerator and she never even used it nor did any of her friends.
This is one of those items that it appears on almost every college dorm room list that really is not necessary.
3. Alarm Clock
Unless you do not use a cell phone, you do not need a separate alarm clock. Do not waste your money buying a separate alarm clock.
Trust me on this one. College kids do not iron their clothes. This is something that will do nothing more than take up space in your already small room.
5. Cleaning Supplies
Absent a large tub of disinfectant wipes, don’t waste your money buying cleaning supplies. The truth is they will never be used.
6. Waste Basket
This is another one of those items that somehow make it to every dorm room supplies check list. It is really not necessary. Colleges have waste baskets, there is no reason for you to purchase one.
7. Bulletin /White Board
This is 100% not necessary!
The dorm room will have plenty of lighting, there is no reason to purchase a separate lamp.
Again, I see this on so many what to bring to college lists, but I have never seen an actual dorm room that has curtains hanging. Don’t waste your money on curtains.
So there you have it the low down on what you really need for your college dorm room freshman year and what you can avoid purchasing.
What do you think, did I leave anything off the list? Would you add anything? I’d love to hear your experience, let us know in the comments.
P.S. – Before you go make sure to check out this Honest Advice For Freshman From Current Students!
As always, live simply, live intentionally and make each day your favorite day!