Many lists of college must-haves are outdated and include items that you don't necessarily need in a contemporary dorm room. For example, while some lists suggest you bring a camera and an alarm clock, many students now have these items on their smartphones. Other lists suggest a microwave and mini-fridge, but many colleges now require freshmen to sign up for a freshman meal plan that offers plentiful food. Your list should be tailored to your particular circumstances.


Under-bed Storage -- Chances are your dorm room will be small and space will be limited. Whether you have a bed that can be raised off the floor or one that is down low, storage containers of various thicknesses are available for extra clothes, textbooks or accumulating college-insignia paraphernalia.

Laundry Bag -- While a laundry basket might be a useful alternative, a laundry bag can be great for slinging over you shoulder or dragging to the laundry room. Unlike a laundry basket made of hard plastic, it can be easily squashed into small dorm-room spaces.


Fan -- Even if your dorm has AC, bringing a fan might still be a good idea. First, dorm rooms aren't always heated or cooled well. Second, you may like a different temperature than your roommate. Third, a noisy fan can be great for white noise to block out night owls when you have an exam the next morning.

Decorations -- Artwork, posters and pictures of friends and family -- maybe even rugs and coasters and a cute pillow -- are necessary to make your room feel like home.

Study Stuff

Good Headphones -- You'll want these so that you can block out noise (i.e., your roommate's music) and keep noise in (i.e., those physics lectures you're re-watching online).

Desk/Bed Lamps -- Your dorm room may come with a lamp or two, but you'll probably want an extra one for your desk or for next to your bed, especially if you plan to study late at night and can't keep the overhead light on due to a sleeping roommate.

Power Strips -- Never underestimate the number of items you will plug into your wall at one time.

Shower Stuff

Caddy -- If you'll be using a shared hall bathroom, get a little shower caddy for your essentials, such as shampoo, conditioner, soap and razor, so that it's easy to carry in and out of the bathroom. If you have a shared shower in your room or suite, then you might be able to keep your stuff in the bathroom -- but you'll still want some kind of in-shower storage.

Flip Flops -- Dorm room floors are gross, especially the bathrooms and showers, so plan a quick-and-easy way to keep that scum off your feet.

Bathrobe -- Yeah, you can wrap a towel around yourself, but a bathrobe feels much less precarious.

Related Articles