25 College Dorm Essentials You Will Actually Use

Wondering what are college dorm essentials you will need this year? Here are 25 college essentials you will actually need!

college dorm essentials

Going to college is such a fun experience and will give you the best memories, but moving to college is actually a HUGE process.

Being organized and knowing all the college dorm essentials you will need is key when it comes to moving into your dorm room. Dorms are small, so it’s important that you don’t overpack with unnecessary stuff.

After 4 years of college, I’m pretty much an expert at college move in’s, so I’ve put together the ultimate list of 25 dorm essentials you will actually need (and use!).

This post is all about college dorm essentials.

25 College Dorm Essentials You Will Use (A Lot)

1. Mattress Topper

Let me tell you, dorms’ mattresses are nasty. You don’t know who or what has been on them, so the best you can do is getting a mattress topper.

They are way more hygienic and much cheaper than buying a new mattress. This one from Amazon is my favorite one because not only is gel-infused memory foam, but the price is super reasonable.

Getting a good sleep is super important especially when you are in college, so make sure you spend your money wisely!

2. Laundry Bag

college dorm essentials list

This laundry bag is one of my most recommended college dorm essentials because it’s way more functional than a laundry basket.

You can easily grab it and take it to the laundry room. Plus, you can personalize it with your initials, and there are tons of colors and styles you can choose from!

3. Mesh Shower Caddy

Another thing you should add to your college dorm essentials list is a shower caddy. They are great to carry all your things to the bathrooms because they have a compartment for every product.

Make sure you get a mesh shower caddy though. They are better than plastic caddies because the water won’t get stuck in them and end up making a mess in your dorm.

4. Towel Wrap

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If you’re moving to a college dorm the chances are you’re gonna have to use community bathrooms. This means having to walk down the hallways every time you have a shower.

It’s not the most practical thing in the world, but there are ways to make it more bearable, and using a towel wrap is one of them. This monogrammed towel wrap from Etsy is my favorite.

It’s basically a towel you can wrap around and secure with a velcro that will prevent it from falling off when you’re walking back to your dorm room. Definitely essential for any dorm student.

5. Shower Shoes

One of the things I was most concerned about when I moved to college was the bathrooms, and especially the shower. I had the fear that they would be so dirty, so I prepared well.

This might sound so lame, but shower shoes were a life saver for me. You can get them at Target for less than $5 or on Amazon if you’re doing college online shopping.

6. Under The Bed Storage

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Since 99% of college dorms are small, you want to make sure you use all the available space in your room.

This includes the space under your bed which is perfect to store bulky things like winter clothes, extra bedding or even shoes.

7. Command Hooks

I remember when I moved to my dorm room I was super excited about decorating it and hanging prints and string lights on the wall. Unfortunately, it is not allowed to damage the walls in any way in most dorms.

However, I came with a solution: command hooks. They are great for hanging everything from clothes to pictures, and they won’t damage the walls when you take them down.

8. Charging Station

We all have a ton of devices that need to be charged and so much little time to wait for them to get charged, that’s why charging stations are super helpful.

They allow you to charge multiple devices at once and everything looks way cleaner and organized. Plus, you won’t have to worry about losing your phone charger anymore.

9. Extension Cord

Extension cords are a basic item but a lot of people tend to forget about them. Plugs in dorm rooms are very limited which is why you should always have this in your dorm essentials list.

The best thing about this extension cord is that it also has space for your USB cords which is perfect for charging your phone.

10. Throw Blanket

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Get a throw blanket and you will thank me later when your dorm gets as cold as the North Pole.

This blanket from Amazon is so warm and almost feels like a hug. You can wrap it around when watching a movie or doing homework on your bed.

11. Makeup Bag

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A makeup bag will be super useful to store all your makeup during the moving process. This one from Etsy is big enough to fit everything you have and it’s also personalized!

A makeup bag is great to keep all your makeup products together and don’t confuse them with your roommate’s.

12. Makeup Mirror

list of college dorm essentials

Since dorms don’t have any mirrors, you will have to get one if you do your makeup in the mornings. Otherwise, you will have to walk to the dorms every time which way more time consuming.

I LOVE this mirror from Urban Outfitters because it has LED lights (which is perfect considering how bad the lighting in dorms is) and a little storage space at the bottom.

13. College Planner

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Staying organized in college is key if you want to survive living on your own for the first time and getting a degree. That’s why a college planner is super necessary. It will stay on top of your to-do lists and be more producte.

Honestly, this Etsy store has the cutest college planners and the best part is you can personalize them. You can also customize the cover and the layout which is something you can’t do with a regular planner.

Read: The Complete College Packing List For 2021

14. Rolling Cart

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Instead of getting a regular drawer, I highly recommend you get a rolling cart.

You can move them around your room however it’s more convenient for you, so you can even use them as a nightstand.

15. Closet Organizer

My whole world fell apart when I discovered how tiny the closet in my dorm was. I honestly didn’t know how I was going to be able to fit all my stuff in it, but then I came with a solution: a closet organizer.

Closet organizers are cheap, super easy to hang and they will help you double the amount of space in your closet. I used it for clothes and shoes, but you can use it to store pretty much everything!

16. Magic Hangers

Another thing you can use to save space in your closet is magic hangers. The system they use is pretty simple: you can hang multiple layers of clothing in a single hanger which minimizes the amount of space they use.

So yes, it almost looks like magic!

17. Wrinkle Releaser

Irons are bulky and not worth wasting your valuable dorm space on them. You can get the Downy wrinkle releasers instead because they work exactly the same.

Much more practical and quick. Definitely must have college dorm essentials!

18. Full Length Mirror

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A makeup mirror is perfect to do your makeup in the mornings, but you will need something bigger to see how your outfit looks before going out.

This full-length mirror is ideal because you can easily hang it on the wall or simply place it in your dorm. And you can also share it with your roommate!

19. Bed Shelf

This college dorm essentials list wouldn’t be fully complete without a bed shelf.

Bed shelves are the best substitute (and cheapest) for bedside tables. You can easily clamp it into your bed frame and put all your essentials on it. This is super useful for dorm rooms because it will help you save a ton of space.

20. Duvet

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When you move to a college dorm you obviously have to bring your own bedding, so a duvet is a must-have essential you can forget.

You can literally get a duvet in Ikea for cheap, but let’s admit Urban Outfitters has the cutest duvets ever! They’re also of great quality, which is something I highly recommend investing in since you will be using your duvet for four years.

21. Sheet Set

college dorm room essentials list

You don’t need to spend a lot of money on bedsheets and there’s a huge variety of affordable sheet sets that will work perfectly fine.

But, again, if you want to go for something fancier and make your dorm look cute and aesthetic, Urban Outfitters is perfect. They also have a huge variety of prices and the TWIN XL (most dorm beds are TWIN XL) bedsheets are significantly cheaper.

22. Bedside Table Lamp

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The lightning in college dorms is really bad so you will need something extra if you want to improve that.

A bedside table lamp is affordable and will give you that very much needed extra source of light. It’s also a softer light which will help you to relax at night and sleep better.

23. Mini Keurig

If you’re a coffee lover, a Mini Keurig should definitely be among your college dorm essentials. It will make your life so much easier and will save you a lot of money and time.

Plus, who doesn’t like a cup of freshly poured coffee in the morning? Definitely a life-saver for any college student!

24. Clip-On Fan

Even though this is one of the last dorm essentials, it should be on top of your college packing list. Honestly, this clip-on fan literally saved my life.

When I moved to college I wasn’t aware of how HOT dorms can get. And let me tell you, it was literal hell. I couldn’t get any sleep and focusing on my school work was impossible.

Luckily I discovered clip-on fans and my life completely changed. They are small, don’t take up any space and you can clip them onto any surface.

25. Cute Decor

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Last but not least: let’s talk about dorm room decor! Cute decor will always be on top of my college dorm essentials list.

Decorating your college dorm is as important as getting all the other appliances. It will make you feel more comfortable and «at home» which is important when you’re living away from home for the first time.

Choose your favorite aesthetic and style and get creative with your space! Here are a few dorm room decor ideas you can check out.


This post was all about college dorm essentials!

Other posts you may like:

The Complete College Packing List For 2021

15 Unexpected Things To Bring To College

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