Moving into a dorm room for the first time is exciting: It may be the first time living on one’s own, which means you may not know exactly what you need. As a parent or student, you could take the approach of figuring it out as you go, or you could use the list of dorm room essentials below as a checklist to prepare for the big move.
Dorm Room Essentials
Unless specifically noted otherwise, the suggestions below include prices from Amazon, where you can count on things costing the same no matter where you might be located.
If you shop offline, however, you are likelier to see variations in prices that reflect localized inflation factors — assume that you might pay more if you live somewhere with a high average cost of living.
That said, here are some dorm room items that incoming freshmen and returning upperclassmen alike might appreciate.
- Shower Caddy: Make the morning rituals more convenient with a bathroom organizer ($10.84) to transport personal care items to and from the bathroom.
- Towels: Being on your own means you need your own towels. Two of each bath towels, hand towels and wash cloths for $17.99 should at least get your started.
- Laundry Basket: This may the first time you are responsible for your own laundry. You’ll appreciate having a basket to hold and transport your laundry for $19.99.
- Laptop Stand: If you have a laptop, you may not always want to sit by your desk. Do homework comfortably from your bed or futon with a laptop stand for $37.99.
- Planner: Organize yourself for success by keeping track of assignments, group meetings and events with a planner for only $5.98.
- Notebooks: Be prepared for taking notes and doing assignments with single subject notebooks. A six pack costs only $17.10.
- Writing Utensils: You’ll be ready for any task with a set of pens, mechanical pencils, block erasers and highlighters. All this for only $9.99.
- Under Bed Storage: Make the most of the space you have in a cramped dorm room with an under-bed storage container for $27.60.
- File Organizer: Add hanging file folders to a standard dorm desk drawer to organize important documents. A 25-pack costs $10.99.
- Hangers: A 30-pack of hangers with non-slip pads will keep your clothes wrinkle free and cost $17.98.
- Wastebasket: A two-and-a-half gallon wastebasket for $13.63 is the perfect size for collegiate wrappers and papers.
- Mini Vacuum or Broom: A mini vacuum ($29.99) and a broom-plus-dustpan combination ($19.99) will keep your room ready for any parent visit.
- Bedding: Dorm room beds usually require extra long sheets. They come in every color imaginable, and cost $13.99. Complete your bedding with a comforter for $19.99 and a memory foam pillow for $18.50
- Area Rug: Many dorm rooms have tile or linoleum floors. The addition of an area rug for $35.63 makes the room more homey, and reduces any echo.
- Fan: Dorm rooms can get warm, especially if you live on an upper floor. A Vornado fan is compact, powerful and costs $49.99.
- Lamp: A floor lamp is useful for those times you want softer lighting. One from Ikea costs only $18.25.
- Mini Refrigerator: It holds in-room beverages and food instead of dropping cash at vending machines or dining out. One with a full width freezer costs only $115.
- Microwave: Satisfy late-night hunger with your own microwave for only $59.99. Microwave popcorn alone makes this a necessity.
- Dishes: For $14.95, have a few dishes on hand for when you enviably want to heat something requiring a plate or bowl.
- Silverware: You don’t need much — a five-piece set for $6.99 will be more than enough.
Remember: These Aren’t Course Requirements
Moving into a dorm room can be an intimidating venture, but planning ahead can make it feel less overwhelming.
Speaking of which, don’t let the suggestions above also overwhelm you, especially given how much you’re already forking over for tuition and books.
The items mentioned above are only suggestions and not requirements. You certainly don’t have to buy everything; some items may not make sense for your dorm room, lifestyle, or preferences.
And if you’re looking to save money, you might be able to find better prices on the appliances, dishes and furnishings if you look for them in slighty used formats. Now’s a good time to start looking through classified ads and second hand stores — if you wait until the last minute, other students might beat you to the best deals.
Readers, what would you add to this list? Do you remember what you brought with you when you moved into the dorms as a freshman?
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