Moving into a dorm requires a longer back-to-school shopping list than just a laptop, planner, and backpack. You need bedding and bathroom products, decorations to make the room feel like home, and storage options that can help you fit a lot into a small space. And as students prepare to head back to college during the pandemic, they now need face masks, vaccine cardholders, and hand sanitizer, too.
As college seniors who have lived in many dorms, we compiled a list of items we consider essentials for moving into a dorm based on our own experiences. We also highlighted products we wish we bought before move-in day. And to make it even easier to find what you need, we organized the list into categories like bed, bath, tech, and more.
College dorm essentials
Buffy Eucalyptus Duvet Cover
As you may be juggling clubs, classes, and studying, getting a good night’s sleep is crucial to getting it all done in college — but it can often be hard in a dorm. We’ve found that purchasing a comfortable duvet set can make sleeping a lot easier. This one from Buffy is made from 100 % Eucalyptus, and it’s soft and cool to the touch. If your bed is not a Twin, the brand also offers Full and King options.
Brook linen Mulberry Silk Pillowcase
Another sleep aid we recommend is this silk pillowcase from Brook linen. For someone with acne-prone skin, a silk pillowcase doesn’t zap moisture from the skin like cotton pillowcases tend to do — instead, it lets the skin retain its natural hydration. In our guide to the best bedding for your skin, board-certified dermatologist Hadley King told us silk pillowcases can be “helpful for sensitive skin because silk is lightweight, breathable, and non-irritating.”
Gel Memory Foam Mattress Topper
In our experience, dorm mattresses are made of an innerspring core, and as a result, they aren’t always the most comfortable to sleep on. To help get a good night’s sleep, add a mattress topper like this one. It’s made of breathable memory foam, and the 2-inch top layer of foam conforms to your body while you’re sleeping.
Oversized Backrest Pillow
Since most dorm rooms don’t have space to add secondary seating options beyond your desk chair. This pillow provides support for your head, neck, and back when you’re lounging in bed, propping you up while you watch movies or work on your computer. You can lean it against a wall or headboard, and it boasts a pocket to store your phone. The backrest is covered in soft fabric and is available in six colors, like Navy, Grey, and Taupe.
Foldable Lap Desk
The lap desk folds flat, making it easy to transport and store — and it slides under the bed or in the closet when not in use. It features a built-in cup holder and a slot that stands for tablets, phones, and books. The lap desk is available in two colors: Black and Beige.
Wearing flip-flops or sandals is essential in communal dorm showers and on your walk from your room to the bathroom. These open-toe slide sandals feature drainage holes to prevent water from pooling under your feet and grippe anti-slip outsoles. They’re constructed from an elastic material, making them accessible and quick to dry. The sandals are available in men’s and women’s sizes and come in six colors: Black, Grey, Light Blue, Pink, Blue, and Purple.
Another dorm bathroom essential is a good towel set. A towel set because you can throw one set in the washing machine and still have another on hand to use. It’s made from 100 % cotton and comes in four colors: Blue, White, Sand, and Grey.
Collapsible Laundry Tote
This collapsible laundry tote has both a hamper and laundry basket. It can fit about two loads of laundry and has two over-the-shoulder straps, which is helpful when you need to carry the bag down the hall to the laundry machine. It also collapses flat when it’s not in use.
Since you can’t use nails to hang anything on walls in dorm rooms, Command Hooks can be your best friend. Their sticky adhesive doesn’t damage walls when you apply or remove them, and you can purchase them in multiple different styles, like strips, clips, and cord organizers. Command Hooks are also available in different sizes to support different weights. Beyond using Command Hooks to cover the walls in picture frames, posters, bulletin boards, and string lights.
Magnetic Chalkboard Calendar
This chalkboard calendar doubles as decor and an organizational tool. It comes with two chalk pencils and a magnet, making it easy to tack on essential notes, lists, or photos. Additionally, the calendar is easy to hang with its included mounting system and requires no additional tools.
Closets are tricky in dorm rooms. Some have no doors, and sometimes you’re only provided with an armoire that barely fits half your wardrobe. But the one thing you’re almost always guaranteed is a hanging rod, and you need to maximize every inch of space you’re given. Each Wonder Hanger can hold up to 30 pounds of clothing, and it works with any type of hanger. You can use the Wonder Hanger horizontally by both hooks or vertically by one hook.
Mesh Rolling Cart
This rolling cart is beneficial to elevate her mini-fridge, so its contents were at eye level. The cart has wheels on its feet, so it’s easy to relocate and reposition. It also has three mesh drawers to store snacks and on-the-go breakfast options.
Sprout Bento Box
The stainless steel bento box has three sections for food, each of which is defined by dividers that go up to the top of the box. It also comes with a small container for dip or dressing and is freezer- and dishwasher-safe.
Protector Clamp Mount
Power strips are handy desk accessories. Here have found that dorm desks tend to come with only one outlet, which makes it difficult to charge a phone, laptop, and calculator at the same time. This power strip clamps on the desk and has six outlets as well as two USB charging ports.
QI-EU Wireless Charger
Along with a power strip, another essential desk accessory is this 4-in-1 charging stand. Compatible with both Apple and Samsung products, this stand wirelessly charges a smartphone, smartwatch, smart pencil, and ear pods. The stand also doubles as an upright platform where you can simultaneously charge your tech while Face Timing or watching movies.
With these essentials, you can embrace a fulfilling college life with everything being stocked together. If you ever need any help with essays, do not refrain from seeking a professional essay writing service solution.