College Dorm Essentials


In a previous post “Your Freshman Dorm,” I talked about posting a list of “essentials” for your college dorm. These are things that are must-haves for your dorm, or things that I’ve found I needed in school!

If you want to see how I organized all of these things with a nice spreadsheet, scroll on down to the end!

Let’s start with the unexpected:

  • -A FAN!!!!! I was not prepared for it, but it was hot. No A/C.
  • -A refillable, filtered water bottle. Brita makes a great one. In my dorm, our mini-fridge was too small to hold gallons or jugs of water, and getting a lot of water bottles is expensive! This is great to have.
  • -Batteries- you never know.
  • -Light bulbs. My freshman dorm didn’t have overhead lighting, and what are you gonna do when your lamp bulb goes out Luckily, we both had lightbulbs!
  • -For doing laundry, I would recommend getting laundry detergent pods. They’re super easy and you just throw them in!
  • -A lap desk. There were so many times I would eat in bed while doing some homework. I used the lap desk as a little table off to the side so that I could have my computer on my lap!
  • -Swiffer. Not a mop, not a broom! A wet broom? It picks stuff up- trust me, it gets DUSTY in there.
  • -Disinfecting surface wipes. Sooo convenient if you’ve got a bathroom to clean. Or even just a desk! Clorox makes them, but you can get just as good store brands!
  • -Paper towels- you wouldn’t initially think of them, but there are spills!
  • -TOILET PAPER: i know this doesn’t sound unexpected. But the unexpected part was the AMOUNT. In my suite, 6 girls shared a bathroom. We went through toilet paper like CRAZY.
  • -Shower flip flops. Bring them. Wear them.
  • -Air freshener.
  • -Lint roller.
  • -White board. I can’t tell you how organized this kept me. I would write out all the things i needed to get done that day, along with my schedule for the week right next to it.
  • -Printer. I would spring for one- it really was so much more convenient than having to go to a lab or the library.
  • -Paper plates, bowls, napkins, and utensils. I was all “nooo, I want real plates and bowls.” You will not want to wash your dishes. Trust me, disposable is the way to go.
  • Velcro command strips. Hangs up everything. Blue tack doesn’t do the trick on cement walls.
  • -Along the same vein, mounting tape. It’s like command strips, but without the Velcro! Held up my pictures like magic.
  • -OTC meds. Do not get stuck in finals week with a cold and no medicine. (See below for an explanation of my med kit.)
  • -Ice pack/heating pad. Cramps, pains, etc. I had one from CVS that I could microwave and put in the freezer to be both.

So those are the unexpecteds or essentials. Let’s get onto the must-haves!!


  • -Mattress Pad (your bed will probably not be comfortable. Bump that up!)
  • -Sheets/Comforter (most college beds are twin extra long, or Twin XL.)
  • -Extra pair of sheets
  • -Bedside caddy (goes right near your bed so that you don’t have to get up!)
  • -Alarm clock
  • -Mattress protector (from bed bugs!)
  • -Sleeping mask
  • -Ear plugs


  • -Hangers (Marshalls, I think, had a pack of 100 for cheap!)
  • -Full-length mirror
  • -Shoe hanging storage (I used this not only for shoes, but to store A LOT of things.)
  • -Robe/Slippers (you’ll want them for those 4:30 AM fire drills!)


  • -Underbed storage (I had a trunk reminiscent of Harry Potter! You can use any kind of storage box.)
  • -Duffle Bag/Luggage (to get back and forth from home and to help move in and out!)
  • -Bath storage/caddy.
  • -Over-Bed organizer. (Bed, Bath, and Beyond sells a great one!)
  • -Storage bins for over closet
  • -Over-door towel rack


  • -Laundry bag/Hamper
  • -Towels and Washcloths
  • -Laundry detergent (pods are great!)
  • -Ironing board (Check if you are allowed to have one!)
  • -Shower gel
  • -Shampoo/Conditioner
  • -Shower curtain
  • -Bathroom cleaning materials.
  • -Swiffer
  • -Cotton balls/pads
  • -Tissues
  • -Toilet Paper
  • -Nail clippers/file
  • -Shaving cream
  • -Razors
  • -Air freshener
  • -Dryer sheets
  • -Lint roller


  • -Desk supplies (pens, pencils, post-its, paper [white and lined], scissors, stapler, white out, calculator)
  • -Class bag
  • -Desk lamp
  • -Book light
  • -White board/Cork board
  • -Surge protector/Power strip
  • -Flash drives
  • -Laptop lock (for studying in public places if there’s a theft problem at your school)
  • -Backrest pillow
  • -Notebooks/folders
  • -Printer
  • -Computer


  • -Refillable filter water bottle
  • -Water filter jug (if it fits)
  • -Paper plates/bowls
  • -Plastic cups/utensils
  • -Microwave safe bowl
  • -Breakfast foods (not things that will go stale quickly.)
  • -Thermos


  • -OTC meds (Tylenol/Advil, Cough syrup,  Tums, Cough Drops, etc.)
  • -Allergy meds
  • -Antibacterial cream (like Neosporin)
  • -Band Aids
  • -Ace Bandage
  • -Midol
  • AirBorne (or other immune system support)

med kit

This is a picture of my little medical kit! It’s just an old pencil case.

In it, I have Advil Cold & Sinus, the Walgreens version of Vicks VapoRub, cough syrup, Midol, Tums, and those little tubey things are a natural immune support. It’s called Oscillo, or Oscillococcinum, you can buy it (for a lot) at Target. A good alternative to these is AirBorne.


  • -Batteries
  • -Flashlight
  • -Umbrella/Raincoat/Rainboots
  • -Sewing kit
  • -Garbage bags
  • -Fan
  • -Door stops
  • -Hair stuff
  • -Makeup
  • -Skin care
  • -Light bulbs
  • -Floor lamp
  • -Area rug


spreadsheetHere is my organized spreadsheet! Organized according to category and color! (Please click to make larger!)

Blue is “to purchase”. Gonna be honest, I didn’t end up purchasing a lot of those things. Just think about if you think you’ll use them.

Red is “already have.”

Black is “already have, and have many.” Like Q-tips, cotton pads, pens, etc.

Purple is “talk over with roommate/suitemate(s).”

I hope this list was able to help you! I also hope you have a marvelous day!

-Alli 😀


4 thoughts on “College Dorm Essentials

  1. Pingback: Your Freshman Dorm | Life University

  2. Love the post, love the blog, I even have a crush on the theme you’ve used. Thank you for the great list! As a fellow lover of spreadsheets, I can honestly say you have made my day.

    • Ah, you are so nice! High five, fellow spreadsheet lover! Thank you so much for the positivity! I am already excited by your URL, and I cannot wait to go check out your blog! 🙂

  3. Pingback: A Day in the Life of a boarding school student | Stories in 5 Minutes

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