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Packing for your dorm is both exciting and a lot of work. I remember move-in day, wearing a huge t-shirt and shorts, and sweating in the late summer heat. Moving into my dorm was one of my favorite moments of college. I spent a lot of time researching what dorm must haves I needed and read so many dorm packing lists.
Most of these lists had the same items over and over again. I know, it is overwhelming. There are tons of lists out there on the internet. Trust me, I’ve been there.
That is why I am writing this blog post to wrap up all the lists and give you the most common dorm must haves you will definitely need! No matter what kind of dorm you are living in, you will need these 21 items.
21 Common Dorm Must Haves:
1. Mattress Cushion
Dorm mattresses are usually hard, old, and not comfortable. Your dorm mattress will be hard af. I personally love a hard mattress due to my back problems, but even I wanted a mattress cushion. You will want one because the last thing you want is to have a hard time sleeping on an uncomfortable mattress.
I recommend this mattress cushion because it is so soft and cushions your back at night. The maintenance of this mattress pad is easy and should only be washed every few weeks.
You can’t have a comfortable bed without sheets. Most dorms have Twin or Twin XL or Full beds. Your sheets should match its size. Check out what is the size of your campus mattress and match them with the size of your sheets.
I also recommend getting more than one set because you will spill things on one pair. The last thing you want to do is to sleep without sheets because you need to wash your old ones. I also had these same exact sheets in my dorm and can not recommend them enough. They were easy to wash, soft, and did not get messed up after a ton of washes.
You’ll definitely need a comforter for cold nights in your dorm. You have no idea how cold dorms get. I remember being under my comforter and a few blankets to stay warm. Similar to your sheets, you’ll need to match it with your mattress size.
Pillows are one of the dorm must haves I wish I had brought more of when I was a freshman. Sure, I had a bed rest pillow, but I definitely needed another pillow at night when I slept.
You should definitely bring more than one pillow for your dorm because you want to be comfortable. Pillows also will flatten throughout the year, so bringing an extra one will help you a lot.
5. Laundry Basket/Hamper
Sundays are laundry days! Especially in college dorms. My dorm’s laundry room was packed on Sundays, and everyone had their laundry basket stuffed with their dirty clothes. Obviously, you do not want to have to carry all your dirty clothes to the laundry room in your hands. So, buy a laundry basket to ease the trouble.
I recommend this laundry basket because you do NOT want to drag your clothes downstairs every weekend. It was a hassle for me every week to carry all my clothes down to our laundry room. Eventually, my basket handle broke because I had so many clothes in it! Trust me, get yourself a rolling laundry basket.
6. Desk Lamp
Pulling an all-nighter? Have an assignment that you forgot that’s due and it’s past dark? Don’t want to wake your roommate up and want to read? Get yourself a desk lamp.
This LED desk lamp allows you to charge your phone and control how bright the light is. I know that this lamp is one of the best out there and should be on every dorm must haves list! It also has a timer setting in case you snooze off during a study session!
Obviously, you’ll need a backpack for college. It’s similar to high school. It’s where you’ll keep everything you’ll need for class.
I LOVE NorthFace’s Borealis Backpack. The Borealis is one of NorthFace’s best backpacks for college students. It has so many compartments for anything you need. It also has a section just for your laptop. Altogether the Borealis has three sections: laptop, books, and misc. I’ve been using it since I was a junior and do not regret buying it at all.
Undoubtedly, you’ll probably spend some long hours studying. Having a pair of headphones or AirPods in my case will help tune out distractions. AirPods are worth investing in because they are so convenient and reliable. I can’t go a day without using my AirPods. I love them!
There are several study lo-fi playlists on YouTube that you can listen to. The channels specialize in creating long playlists for students to use to study for hours.
9. Mini Refrigerator
Most college dorms have mini-refrigerators on their lists. You will be able to bring in perishable snacks or groceries. Getting a refrigerator is one of the most important dorm must haves!
You WILL NEED somewhere to place your food and drinks. Dorms do not include a refrigerator as apartments do. This is an item that you can share with your roommate and/or split the cost.
Microwaves are also recommended for students due to their convenience and the fact there is no kitchen in a dorm. You could even split the cost with your roommate like a refrigerator.
You have no idea how much you will use your microwave in your dorm. It’s essential for every student because dorms do not have kitchens. Cooking is virtually impossible or a complete hassle to do.
11. Bath Towels
You’ll definitely need bath towels to wash your face and dry your body. Keeping a nice amount of towels is essential. I recommend buying a set of towels to keep so you won’t be reusing the same towel over and over again.
12. Shower Shoes
Most likely you’re going to have to share a bathroom in a communal bathroom or a suite bathroom. Either way, they’re probably not the cleanest and possibly gross. Shower shoes prevent any weird feet diseases from getting you.
Before college, I did not know about any of this! Communal bathrooms and suite bathrooms have different people moving in and out. It’s best to buy a pair of shower shoes like these that gets the water out.
13. Bath Robe
Bathrobes are amazing, generally. They keep you warm and cozy. But if you are sharing a room with someone, it’s nice to have one around. Dorm rooms’ temperatures can get so cold. It’s great to have a robe around to cover up with it gets colder.
I recommend getting one with a hoodie like this one because you can be extra cozy!
14. Water Tumbler
One of the first things you should have in your backpack is a water bottle. Instead of using public water foundations constantly throughout the day, you can have enough water all day in your backpack.
Everyone knows about Hydro Flask water bottles. They are honestly worth the money. They can keep cold liquids cold for 24 hours!
15. Clothes Hanger
Obviously, you’ll need hangers to hold all your clothes in your closet. You should have different kinds of hangers for different kinds of clothing.
16. Long Phone Charger
Every day, I bring a phone charger with me. I rely heavily on my phone and always need it on. Around campus, there are outlets everywhere! Keep a phone charger with you at all times so your phone can always stay charged.
I also recommend investing in a long charger because dorm outlets are placed in the weirdest spaces. It’s also nice to have your phone charging while you’re on it in your bed. I recommend these chargers because they are long and last a while!
17. Paper Towels
Paper towels are another essential for dorms. Whatever it’s to clean up a mess, heat some food on in a microwave, or to clean your dorm, you’ll need some paper towels. It’s also best to buy them in bulk to save trips and money in the long run.
I used to grab tons of napkins from fast-food restaurants and sneak them out of the dining halls because I didn’t have any in my dorm. Trust me, just buy a nice bulk because I used to spill so much stuff and didn’t have anything to clean it up. I ended up using my good bath towels to clean up a simple mess.
18. Disinfectant Wipes or Hand Sanitizer
Especially with the current pandemic, you’ll need disinfectant wipes. Alongside hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes are needed. Even before the pandemic, dorms and places around campus were full of germs.
Bringing wipes with you to locations like the library or student union is the best way to go on campus. I also recommend bringing hand sanitizer around with you. I have two holders for hand sanitizers: one for my backpack and one for my keys.
19. Walking Shoes
Nothing sucks more than walking in shoes that are not made for walking around. Your feet will hurt after a few minutes. From my experience from attending a walking campus, you can walk around 2-4 miles a day alone. Depending on your campus, you will need a few different pairs since you’ll be walking from building to building.
Get a pair of walking (or running shoes) before stepping on campus!
Rainy days will happen. Nothing is worst than walking outside of your dorm and realizing it’s pouring down outside. Buy an umbrella to save yourself money and time and walking around soaking wet.
I LOVE blankets so much. I have so many in my apartment right now. One thing I wished I would have brought more of during my freshman year is a blanket. I have a hard blanket from my comforter set that was for decoration.
Aside from being my dorm always being cold, I did not want to constantly wear my jackets and hoodies while in my room. Buy a blanket or two to bring to your dorm. Blankets will keep you want and are great decorative pieces. You need a nice blanket, especially in the winter or a quick nap.
This blog post was all about dorm must haves!
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