Not sure what to bring for your first semester at college? Don’t worry, here is a list of useful items and essentials to buy and bring with you when you move into your dorm!
Below I have provided items that I brought with me when I went to college that I found to be extremely useful. I hope this serves you well and you have a great college experience!
College dorms are notorious for being either too hot or too cold. Go prepared with at least a fan that you can either mount on your bed or desk that will oscillate!
6 Inch Clip-On Fan, $10
2. Power strip
Power strips are extremely useful when there is a lack of outlets available (or reachable) for multitasking purposes. Make sure the power strip you get is surge protected to make sure your electronics don’t get fried in a storm!
Power Strip, $25
3. Bathroom Caddy (Mesh) & Flip flops
When you and your roommates are on different schedules and there is a line for the shower, keeping your bathroom supplies all in one place is helpful when making a dash for a open shower. Bear in mind, bathroom spaces (when shared with multiple people) are breeding grounds for bacteria and build-up of dirt and grime. Wear flip flops or sandals into the shower to avoid contracting warts or any other…fungus.
4. Foam Mattress Topper
The mattresses at college are not the most comfortable to sleep on. I recommend getting a foam mattress topper to provide extra comfort when you’re trying to get your z’s.
5. Mattress protector
Though most college mattresses do have a waterproof layer over the mattress, a mattress protector can be important to have, seeing as nothing is 100% certain, plus if anything were to happen, it is nice to have that added protection between you and your mattress topper.
Mattress Protector, $15
6. Sleeping Mask
Get yourself a sleeping mask, because if you’re anything like me, you will not enjoy being woken up by any kind of lights.
7. Extra Sheet Set
There is usually a wait for available washing machines and dryers. Keeping an extra set of sheets handy to make your bed while you wait or wash your laundry is a great idea! I recommend having a lighter sheet set for cooler months and a flannel sheet set for the winter time.
8. Mini vacuum
Though it is not essential for both roommates to have, it can be a big help when trying to tidy-up and keep your living space clean.
9. Underbed Storage
Space is limited when you have a roommate, so getting innovative in your storing strategies is important. Most college dorms will offer the option of a bed raising kit, though the kits go quick, so make sure you secure one prior to arriving on campus, or as soon as you arrive.
I wanted storage bins that either closed with a zipper or a hinge, to eliminate the possibility of insects getting into my seasonal clothing, towels, etc.
10. Laundry Bag
A laundry bag is a life saver, especially if you are on the top floor and laundry is on the first (been there, done that). It also helps keep smell to a minimum and keep your room looking organized!
11. Cleaning Wipes/Disenfectant
Upon arrival, clean surfaces and drawers in your room when you move in – you just can’t assume the person before you did when moving out… Yuck!
12. Removable wall hooks
Fairy lights, wall hangings, posters and dream catchers are great additions to make your dorm feel more personalized. Wall hooks and poster puddy can be a life saver when it comes to decorating your room without having to worry about removing paint or damaging walls.
13. Desk Lamp
A desk lamp that has a dimming feature is important to have, not just for homework and studying, but if you have an early class and your roommate does not, it is usually better not to disturb them.
14. Reeeeally long cable wire
Is cable offered on your campus? Come ready to move in with a really long cable wire because most cable boxes are located in incredibly inconvenient places in dorm rooms.
15. Water filter
A water filtration pitcher is absolutely essential to dorm life. Depending upon where your college is, the water can taste different in some states. If your college provides filtered, water bottle refill stations, make use of them! They are typically filtered and you save money and the environment!
16. Favorite Books/Audible/
If you are a bookworm or just enjoy reading during your down time, I suggest bringing your favorite reads with you. It is a good distraction and offers a break from textbooks. Here are a few books I’m enjoying reading right now:
17. Phone battery/Battery Pack
Having a phone battery pack or pocket battery for charging your phone or necessity piece of technology comes in handy, especially if you encounter a power outage in your area or emergency. I highly recommend Pocket Juice, which has dual usb plugs for two phones
Storms and accidents happen, which is why it is a great idea to have a flashlight on hand in case of an emergency or to find things in the dark while your roommate is asleep!
When you’re holed up, studying for exams, you don’t always have the time to venture out to go to the cafeteria across campus. Leftovers are going to be your best friend.
This might be a given, but on the off-chance, a suitcase of any kind is a must to have on-hand, especially if you intend on going back home for Winter/Spring break, or mini trips you decide to do with friends!
Samsonite Omni PC Hardside, Expandable Suitcase (Carry-on), $79
SwissGear Energie Hardside Spinner (Carry-on), $199
21. Plates and Utensils
A must-have when you want to do movie nights or have multiple friends over and have a eat-in dinner. I had a dinnerware set for “two people” on hand at all times because…dishes. It’s all hand-washing when on campus, so don’t bother bringing too much. All you need are two bowls and two plates with standard, reusable utensils and you’ll be covered!
22. Locker lock
I found that keeping a lock in my backpack was handy, especially if I felt spontaneous and decided to go to the gym to workout after class. Most college gyms do not provide locks for students, so it is a good idea to bring one to campus. Thefts can happen on college campuses, so why not be prepared?
Depending upon how many printers your college has and where they are located, there is usually always a wait. You won’t believe how many times I had to drop into a random professor’s office and ask to use their stapler when I was running late. So, take my word and get yourself a stapler, ASAP!
24. Personal Printer/Scanner
Now this really depends upon preference, as most schools will offer a “Printer point” system, where you are a lotted a certain amount of “points” per semester/year. I found having a printer in my dorm was really useful during poor weather conditions or working late into the night. I never used a scanner during my time away at college, but I would assume, it depends upon your needs for whatever classes you are taking.
25. Clothes Hangers
College dorms do not provide closet hangers for students. Hang your pants alongside dresses and seasonal outerwear to maximize space and storage!