Dorm Room Essentials for College Students

Dorm life represents one of the many new experiences entering college freshman will face. Most students go from having their own room at home to sharing a tiny room with one or more other individuals (often complete strangers). Fortunately for today’s students, there are tons of products catering to college students and those living in dorms. Some essentials (and additional useful items) that can make dorm life a bit more pleasant:

Small Fan

You might not be able to control the temperature of the dorm room, so it may become unpleasantly hot or cold. Bring a small fan to use when things get sweaty. It can easily be stored a way when not needed.


Bring at least one comfortable blanket (separate from your bedding) for when the dorm gets chilly. Choose one that’s big enough to wrap up in but not so large that it’s difficult to fold and store.


Some dorms provide microwaves, so don’ t buy one without checking first. You’ll also need to contact your roommates to see what they intend to bring. You don’t want to end up a room full of duplicate appliances!

Mini Fridge

As with the microwave, you’ll need to see what your dorm provides and coordinate with your future roommates. A small refrigerator can be particularly useful for storing drinks and snacks so you don’t have to overpay for individual items at snack machines.

Air Fresheners

Dorms don’t allow candles due to fire hazards and tiny shared rooms can get quite musty. Therefore, air fresheners are a must-have for your dorm room. Air fresheners exist in many forms (spray, motion-detection, plugin, etc) so you’re bound to find something that suites your preferences. You can bring a variety of options so that you’re roommate can help you choose a fragrance.

Slim Hangers

Instead of bringing bulky plastic hangers, choose ultra-thin hangers to maximize closet storage. These hangers can often be bought in bulk at department and home goods stores

Laundry Hamper

Your laundry hamper should be small enough to store in your closet, and sturdy enough to hold your close without collapsing or tipping over. Laundry facilities for dorms are often in the basement or a ground floor, so it’s also important to have a hamper or separate laundry bag that’s easy to carry.

Flip Flops (Shower Shoes)

It’s likely you’ll be sharing a bathroom with several other students (if not an entire floor), so it’s important to protect your feet against fungus and other dangerous things that may be lurking on your dorm floors. Invest in a pair of flip flops or slip on rubber shoes to wear while visiting the shower.

Shower Caddy

Most students know to have a shower caddy, but don’t just grab any caddy. Look for one with well-placed openings for proper water drainage and appropriately-sized slots for organizing your toiletries. Think about how much stuff you usually bring to the bathroom and choose one that can hold everything you need.


You might not have the space or privacy in the communal dorm bathroom to get fully dressed, so keep a robe handy for an easy cover-up.

Air Purifier

A small air purifier might be a good choice, particularly if you have bad allergies. Find a small one that can be placed on a desk or side Dorm Storagetable.

Hand-Held Vacuum

For quick and easy cleaning, bring a small hand-held cordless vacuum.

Stackable Shelves and Drawers

Stackable storage units can create more storage space when used in closets or under the bed.

Covered Wastebasket

Any small wastebasket will do, but covered is best because it creates a neater appearance and masks any odors.


You won’t be able to keep a lot of linens, but it’s good to have one extra set of towels and bed linens. Check on your dorm’s bed sizeĀ  before investing in sheets or other bedding. Don’t forget pillows and a mattress cover.

Although the list above is far from comprehensive, it offers some important dorm room items that might be overlooked by college students. Remember to contact your roommates before making decisions about decorative items, appliances and electronics.