20 College Must-Haves You Can’t Forget About

Looking for everything you will need for college this year? Here are 20 college must haves you actually need to survive college!

college must haves

I’m not going to lie, packing for college can be stressful. There are so many things you can’t forget about, so there’s a lot of planning and shopping to do. However, not all things are college essentials.

In fact, there are a few college dorm must haves you will actually end up using, and a lot of other things that will only take up space in your suitcase. After living in college for four years, I have narrowed it down for you by creating the list of absolute college must haves you will actually USE in college!

This post is all about college must haves you can’t forget about.


1. Mattress Protector

Let’s be real here. Unless you bring your own mattress to your dorm, college dorm mattresses are nasty and you don’t know who has slept on them. For me, the best solution to solve that was a mattress protector. It protects you against allergens and dust mites, and it will help you sleep better and more comfier.

2. Bed Pillows

When I moved into my dorm I realized there were no bed pillows, so I had to get my own. Don’t make the same mistakes I did and be prepared!

Most dorm rooms will be completely empty when you move in which means you will have to bring even the most obvious items. That’s why bed pillows are important college must haves.

3. Mesh Shower Caddy

You can move into your dorm without having one of the most important college dorm must haves: a mesh shower caddy.

Trust me, when you’re sharing the bathroom with a few more girls and you have to constantly be walking in and out of it, a mesh shower caddy is a life savior to keep all your belongings with you without it getting soaked up.

4. Extension Cord and Power Strip

Each dorm room comes with a max of 2 plugs, so considering you will be sharing your dorm with a roommate, you’re likely going to need a few more.

There’s an easy way to solve that and that’s with an extension cord and power strip. I love this one because it’s long enough for you to charge your phone or laptop in bed comfortably.

5. Shower Shoes

Sharing the bathroom is not the ideal situation, but there are a few ways you can improve it.

One of them is by getting a pair of shower shoes. I know it sounds lame, but this should be on top of you college must haves list.

6. Custom Towel Wrap

A towel wrap is one of those unexpected things to bring to college you actually end up using a lot.

The worst thing about showering at the dorms is carrying all your stuff back and forth to your room while making sure your towel doesn’t fall off at the same time.

I specifically love this custom towel wrap from Etsy because it’s super helpful and it comes with something extra.

7. Bed Shelf

Living in a dorm means saving space will become one of your main priorities. A bed shelf is super useful and it will have you save a lot of space.

It’s super intuitive to get installed since all you have to do is clamp it onto your bed frame. I used mine for my phone and water bottle and I highly recommend it.

Read: The Ultimate List of Dorm Room Essentials

8. Personalized Laundry Bag

Getting a laundry bag will make your trips to the laundry room so much easier.

I personally love this personalized laundry bag from Etsy because you can totally customize it with your favorite colors and your initials monogrammed on it with embroidery. There are so many colors and styles to choose from.

9. Small Dinnerware Set

If you decide to save some money and cut down your trips to the campus bar, you will need a small dinnerware set in your dorm.

This is especially useful if you have a small fridge in your dorm to keep leftovers or snacks. It may sound simple but I assure you you can save a ton of money just by doing that.

10. Hydroflask

Going to college can be a bit stressful and you will likely be moving around campus all day from class to class, and back and forth to your dorm, so that’s why it’s important to always keep a water bottle with you.

Hydroflask bottles are the best quality ones and they will also help you save some money on unnecessary plastic water bottles.

11. Food Containers

Keeping snacks or leftovers in your dorm is always a good idea because you never know when you’re going to get hungry.

Imagine it’s midnight, you’re studying and suddenly you’re hungry again, but all the bars on the campus are closed. That’s when food containers come in super handy. They were my most used college must haves back in college.

12. Trash Can

This is a pretty basic one, but your college dorm room won’t have a trash can, so make sure you don’t forget to get one!

You don’t need anything fancy, just a regular trash can that doesn’t take too much space and is practical.

13. Cleaning Products

I remember when I moved to college I was so concerned about keeping my dorm room clean that I bought every product that existed.

That was a big mistake because dorm rooms are small and you won’t be able to fit a hundred cleaning products. My best advice is to get a basic pack of cleaning products and refill them when you run out.

14. Desk Lamp

If you’re going to be sharing your dorm with a roommate you totally need your own source of light.

If you like to wake up very early in the morning, or you’re a night owl who likes to stay up late, it can be really inconvenient for you to turn the lights on, that’s why I highly recommend you get a desk lamp. It’s cheap and easy to set up.

15. Clip-On Fan

This is one of the college must haves I couldn’t have survived college without. Dorms get super hot at the beginning of the semester when it’s still summer, and it makes it pretty difficult to focus on studying or even sleeping.

That’s why clip-on fans are life saviors and you should totally get one before you die from the heat!

Read: 27 Dorm Room Organization Ideas That Will Transform Your Space

16. Magic Hangers

Saving space in a dorm room is non-negotiable. And unless you want to wear the same three shirts during all four years of college, I recommend you invest in a pack of magic hangers.

They’re super affordable and will multiply the space in your closet just like it’s magic!

17. Closet Organizer

I used a closet organizer especially to store my shoes because I never knew where to put them and I didn’t want to leave them randomly placed on the floor of my dorm.

If you have a decently big collection of shoes you definitely need one of these as your college must haves for a dorm room.

18. Extra Charger

Using your phone, computer and iPad all day you never know when you’re going to run out of battery, so you might want to carry an extra charger with you at all times.

Whether you’re at the library or in a class, having an extra charger can save you a ton of headaches.

19. Computer Lap Desk

I love working on the couch, and I remember getting work done from my bed when I was at college.

Whether you’re writing an essay or watching a movie, a computer lap desk is essential when you want to be on your computer but also comfortable. This one from Amazon comes with enough space to put your phone and even a mouse.

20. Sturdy Backpack

As a college student, you’re moving around campus a lot, and that means carrying a decent amount of weight on your back. Your laptop, books, planner… there are so many college must haves you need to keep with you.

That’s why it’s so important to have a sturdy backpack that can take all that weight without hurting your back. For me, the Fjallraven Kanken backpacks are the best.

This post was all about college must haves.

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