Part of the fun of living in college dorms is that it’s always an adventure. Of course, things are never perfect; you’re always making do with less space and sharing many community items with other people on your floor.
Your time in the dorms will probably leave a deep impression on you for the rest of your life. For many people, it’s the first time they spend significant time out of the house, managing their own room, laundry, and grocery shopping. Most of the time, you’re sharing a small room with another person or are in a shared suite with a few people.
Typically, college students spend their first one or two years in the dorm. Sometimes, students decide to stay longer because they enjoy the convenience of having campus facilities close by. Whether you’re only staying for a year or want to spend your entire undergrad experience in the dorm, getting your room sorted will make things go much smoother.
Everything from bedding to bathroom supplies makes a big difference in your quality of life in the dorms. Here are 15 dorm essentials for every college student.
1. High-Quality Mattress Topper
You never know what sort of mattress you’re going to get in your first dorm room. College campuses often buy in bulk, which means you’re getting mass-produced, likely stiff mattresses that won’t be the most comfortable thing in the world.
Instead of struggling to adjust to a rock-hard mattress, buy a comfy mattress topper that goes on top of the provided bed. You’ll save money by avoiding the cost of an entirely new mattress.
You can find mattress toppers in different sizes and comforts, making it easy to find one that will help you get to sleep faster and spend hours in your bed studying without developing back pain. They come in down, cotton, foam, and other materials. The mattress topper goes underneath your sheets, so your friends will be amazed at how comfortable your bed is compared to theirs.
2. Blackout Curtains
It can be tough to get to sleep inside a dorm, especially during your first year of college. There’s always a ton going on at night, so you’re likely to hit the pillow late at night or in the early morning. The last thing you want is to be woken up by the sun before you’re ready.
Light sleepers and night owls alike will benefit from buying and installing blackout curtains in their dorm rooms. The curtains are heavier than standard curtains, and you can’t tell the sun is up when they’re closed.
When you need to catch up on sleep, blackout curtains are a must.
3. Long Charger Cords
You never know where the outlets are going to be in your dorm room. In addition, you’re going to be on your phone and laptop a lot in your room. Stay fully charged by bringing longer charger cords to go with you wherever you are in the room. You can stay plugged in whether you’re relaxing in bed or studying hard at your desk.
4. Water Jug
Stay hydrated with an insulated water jug that will keep your drinks cold all day. Not drinking enough water is a big mistake a lot of college students make in their first year. They’re out running around on campus and doing schoolwork all day; staying hydrated keeps them moving longer. In addition, drinking more water has other health benefits.
5. A Bathroom Tote
Does your dorm have shared bathrooms? If so, you should buy a nice bathroom tote to hold all your toiletries conveniently. Grab something big enough to fit shampoo, makeup, face wash, toothpaste, a brush, and everything else you’ll take with you to the bathroom. A good bathroom bag will keep you organized.
6. Some Nice Sheets
Quality sheets used to be super expensive. However, now some of the best sheets you can buy are available on Amazon. With tens of thousands of reviews, you can’t go wrong with some of their classic high thread count sheets.
Good sheets make sleep and lounging way more comfortable. You can buy more than one set at a reasonable price, so you’re not stressed out when it’s time to do the laundry.
In the dorm, you’ll need more than one pillow. Get some soft and some firm, no matter your sleeping preferences. For example, if you like to sleep on a cushy down pillow, that won’t cut it when you need something firmer supporting your back when you’re up against the dorm wall working on your computer. Get a good mix of pillows for every situation.
8. Storage Bins
College dorm rooms aren’t big. Often, people struggle to find enough space for all the stuff they accumulate throughout the year. But, walk into enough dorm rooms, and you’ll see plenty of beds on cinder blocks and other stuff to raise them up to make room for suitcases, clothes, and other supplies.
Clear storage bins are ideal for keeping winter clothes, extra shoes, and books. You prevent messes by having dedicated spots for everything in your room. You also save space by not needing as many dresser drawers.
Towels are essential for a dorm. Before you grab some old towels at home and shove them in your suitcase, practice being an adult and buy yourself some nice new towels. You’ll love the way they feel the first time you use them. Towels are an affordable luxury for any college student. You can get them online or at your local department store.
10. A Mirror
Typically, your dorm room will come with a mirror on the back of your main door. There will likely be other mirrors in the bathroom, but you never know. In addition, no one wants to walk a long way to check their fit before they go out.
Buy a mirror that you can hang on the wall or stand in the corner of your dorm room. You and your roommates will get a ton of good use out of it.
11. Nice Slippers
A good pair of indoor slippers are fantastic to have in the dorm. You can wear them around as you walk down the hall to grab a snack or visit friends in other rooms. It’s way better than going barefoot on what can sometimes be dirty floors. Buy a pair of slippers that will also keep your feet warm in the winter.
12. A Laundry Hamper & Bag
For many students, staying on top of laundry is one of the biggest adjustments to dorm life. People are used to their parents doing laundry for them, and students often end up with piles of dirty clothes strewn about their rooms.
Make laundry easier by buying a nice hamper and a laundry bag that you can haul to the laundry facilities whenever you need to wash clothes. It’s a better look than walking down the haul with a massive pile of dirty clothes in your arms.
13. Cleaning Supplies
A few essential cleaning supplies will keep your room looking and smelling nice. A good multi-surface cleaner is excellent for wiping off walls, desks, dressers, and other surfaces that tend to get dirty. In addition, you’ll need some laundry detergent for when you need to do the wash.
It may not seem essential, but making your dorm room feel like home is a significant part of transitioning into school. Moving into the dorm can be a lot for first-year students, so having mementos from home or decorations you love will make the space truly yours.
15. A Lamp
If you have a roommate, you can’t expect to be on the same sleep schedule all year. On the other hand, keeping the lights on to study is a tad rude, and it’s impossible to study only using your phone’s flashlight. So make a compromise by buying a nice lamp for when you want mood lighting or when your roommate’s trying to sleep.
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