30 Dorm Room Essentials That College Students Will Actually Use
There are three things to consider before you or someone you love moves into a dorm room. First, it is not anything like what you see on TV. It is much, much smaller. (Try cutting that TV dorm room in half, at least.) Second, it might come in an unexpected shape or layout. Don’t be surprised if it’s long and skinny, short and fat, or confusingly L-shaped. Third, it will not fit everything you bring, no matter what. So, plan accordingly and show up prepared to the nth degree. That’s where we come in.
We’ve created the only dorm room checklist you'll ever need. Barring the obvious, like Command strips and extension cords, there are some dorm room essentials that make life so much easier in a small space. Did you know that a bedside caddy works wonders for those living in lofted dorm beds? Or that a miniature steamer is the only thing that will combat tiny dorm closet-induced wrinkles? The things you learn. And don’t worry, we threw in a few things that will make checking off this list a blast for you both. Because, despite the cramped quarters, dorm living should be fun! These college dorm room essentials for boys and girls are sure to get an A+ in your book.
6-Cube Organizer Shelf
Say hello to one of the most important dorm room essentials: the cube storage shelf. It comes in different shapes, sizes, and colors—and we guarantee it will be the first thing filled up and topped with a TV. Pair with fabric storage cubes, and you're set.
Mesh Shower Caddy
The bottom of this shower caddy is mesh to ensure it'll drain like a dream in that communal dorm bathroom, making the whole experience a little more tolerable. (Right?)
BUY IT: $8; target.com
Hanging Shoe Organizer
Because, let's be honest, we all have too many shoes for that tiny dorm closet. Here's your hack.
BUY IT: $8; amazon.com
Extra-Capacity Laundry Bag
This bag can be filled to "extra-capacity," which translates to "I probably should have done laundry two weeks ago." The handy backstrap makes it easy to haul even the biggest loads to the laundry room.
BUY IT: $15.99; wayfair.com
Memory Foam Mattress Topper
You'll be wanting this 1.5-inch mattress pad after discovering that the regulation dorm mattress isn't always the most forgiving.
BUY IT: $26; amazon.com
Personalized Waffle Robe
A personalized robe is imperative for dorm residents. First, it makes sure there are no robe mix-ups in the dorm bathroom. Second, the monogram is too cute to pass up.
BUY IT: $29.99; amazon.com
This genuis hack is especially handy for those sleeping in lofted beds. All of your bedtime essentials are kept close—so you don't have to keep going up and down.
BUY IT: $29.99; containerstore.com
Spinning Makeup Organizer
Fit all of your skincare, makeup, and hair care products into this stacked makeup organizer that has adjustable shelves and spins all the way around for ultimate ease.
BUY IT: $29; amazon.com
Gold Desk Lamp
Add a touch of gold to the room—with the added bonus of assisting late-night study sessions without disturbing a roommate.
BUY IT: $29.99; target.com
Collapsible Clothes Drying Rack
The best part about this dorm room item? It collapses, which means you can squeeze it just about anywhere when not using: under the bed, in the closet, etc.
BUY IT: $19.99; containerstore.com
Portable Garment Steamer
This mini handheld steamer will become your hardest working companion, thanks to cramped dorm closets and all of their wrinkles. It takes only 70 seconds to heat up and fits perfectly into suitcases for travel.
BUY IT: $28; amazon.com
Desk Organizer Bundle
Because an organized desk will make it much more appealing for studying in this small space, don't you think?
BUY IT: $45; bando.com
Hanging Jewelry Organizer
Mark our words: You will never have near enough drawer space in a dorm. This hanging organizer will keep all of your jewelry from getting lost in the chaos.
BUY IT: $14.99; containerstore.com
Hair Tool Holder
This countertop organizer keeps all your hair care tools separated, organized, and easy to find.
BUY IT: $17.99; amazon.com
Velvet No-Slip Hangers
Velvet hangers mean no slipping! These are a no-brainer.
BUY IT: $15.99 for 30-pack; amazon.com
Not-Your-Basic Shower Shoes
Get rid of those ratty old flip-flops—these jelly slides are much more fun.
BUY IT: $12.90; forever21.com
Keurig Single Serve Coffee Maker
Less than five inches wide, this coffee maker is perfect for small spaces like a dorm room. And, as we all know, caffeine is a must for pulling all-nighters. Students will use this item well beyond freshman year.
BUY IT: $75.99; amazon.com
Travel Coffee Mug
This mug will see any student through early classes and late study sessions.
BUY IT: $15; bando.com
These towels by Savannah-based company Weezie are dubbed "makeup towels." Why? Because they make sure you deal with no more makeup stains ever, which comes in handy for a college kid with a communal laundry room.
BUY IT: $40 for the pair; weezietowels.com
Furry Throw Pillow
Put a cozy touch on your room with these colorful throw pillows.
BUY IT: $39 for single; $69 for pair; urbanoutfitters.com
There's plenty of music to be played at dorm hangs, and this tiny speaker does the trick without taking up too much space.
BUY IT: $49.99; amazon.com
Tufted Duvet Cover
In a tiny dorm room, the bed is the focal point. Make it a cute one with the perfect duvet cover. This geometric pattern comes in regulation twin XL!
BUY IT: $109; urbanoutfitters.com
White Noise Machine
College can be a noisy place—this gadget helps maximize that REM cycle.
BUY IT: $19.99; amazon.com
Build Your Own First Aid Kit
We never knew something so clever existed. Pick between two bag designs and 77 products to make your own customized first aid kit.
BUY IT: Starting at $6; target.com
This is the easiest way to spruce up those dull dorm walls.
BUY IT: $45; society6.com
A historic dorm is...charming? Yes. Well insulated? Not always. Keep cool all year-long with this small-space fan.
BUY IT: $15; amazon.com
Monogrammed Waffle Towel Wrap
Not into robes? Try this velcro towel wrap instead.
BUY IT: $24; etsy.com
Unbreakable Melamine Plates
College kids aren't known for their dishwashing skills, that's for sure. These durable plates will make in-dorm dining a little easier.
BUY IT: $3.99 for dinner plate; target.com
LED Fairy Lights
Get dreamy in the dorm with twinkling fairy lights.
BUY IT: $8; target.com
Pick a fun color, or go with white if you'll be wanting to bleach it for extra clean, extra white sheets.
BUY IT: $29.99 for set; amazon.com