Heading Off to College? Here Are 9 Dorm Essentials That You Need to Buy

·5 min read

Heading off to college? Whether you’re a freshman or returning student, you will need at least a few must-haves to make living in the dorm (or another form of student housing) that much easier.

To help you out, we’ve rounded up a list of dorm room essentials that should be on your list, along with the usually suspects: bedding, pillows, laundry bag, mini fridge, etc.

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The items listed come highly recommended on TikTok, and they’re super affordable. In fact, everything on the list retails for $50 or less (some as low as $5) at major retailers such as Amazon, Target and Walmart.

See the full list below, and for additional recommendations, read our picks for the best backpacks, back-to-school sales on laptops and Airpods.

Utility Cart

From toiletries to school supplies, utility storage carts can have multiple uses and they look nice in a dorm. The cart featured below is equipped with three shelves, and four castor wheels for easy mobility.

3-Tier Utility Cart

$31.17

$46.99

34% OFF


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Available in white, black, pink or turquoise, this utility cart stands 31.3-inches tall and 16.5-inches wide. It takes about 15-20 minutes to set up, and can hold up to 22 pounds per shelf.

Portable Fan

No matter where you attend school, chances are you’re going to need a fan. If you’re pressed for space, a mini desk fan can help you stay cool without taking up too much room. This small but powerful TriPole desk fan is on sale for just $10 at Amazon.

Tripole USB Desk Fan

$9.99

$18.99

47% OFF


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The USB fan features a single power button with three adjustable speeds and an anti-slip base. The 5.1-inch fan includes a 5-foot cable, and weighs just over six ounces. For additional options, check out the Vernado Flippi V6 personal fan ($19.99), best-selling adjustable fans or a tower fan such as the Dreo Nomad ($69.99).

Hanging Mirror

A full-length hanging mirror will come in handy when you’re getting dressed for school, plus it can make the space appear larger. Target’s Room Essentials mirror featured below comes in white, black, brown or gray, and is designed to accommodate doors that range in depth from 1-3/8 inches to 1-7/8 inches.

Room Essentials Over-the-Door Mirror

$19.99

$


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If you can afford to spend a little more, try the Americanflat hanging mirror ($60), and if you’re looking for something smaller, a mini vanity mirror can add a nice touch to your dorm room, even though it does not offer a full-length view.

Desk Lamp

For late-night study sessions, reading, applying makeup and more, a desk lamp helps you get the job done.

 

SALT TM Qi Charging Organizer Desk Lamp

$14.39

$17.99

20% OFF


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Get lit with this multi-functional desk lamp. It’s a great space saver and includes a USB charger and a storage area for jewelry, loose change and other small items.

Shower Caddy

A shower caddy is a must! Especially if your dorm has a community bathroom. But you can also use a shower caddy if you live with roommates off campus (and don’t forget to buy a pair of shower shoes).

Mesh Shower Caddy

$15.99

$19.99

20% OFF


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The 9×9-inch mesh tote pictured above has nine pockets to hold your body wash, toothpaste, facial wash, face towels, toothbrush, hair brush and more. The base of the bag is made with Oxford fabric for extra wear and tear resistance.

Want cheaper options? This plastic shower caddy is on sale for $5.99 and this hanging shower caddy is on sale for $6.99.

Storage Ottoman

Storage ottomans can double as seating or a footstool, both of which are perfect for the typically small space of your average dorm room.

Linmagco 16-inch Small Velvet Ottoman

$25.99


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This 16-inch faux velvet ottoman is not only functional, it’s cute! The ottoman is available in three colors — lake blue, navy and purple — and can be used as a storage chest for clothing, books, blankets and more.  Click here for additional ottomans to shop.

Mattress Pad

Dorm mattresses tend to be small, hard and uncomfortable. Luckily, a mattress pad can help change that. Besides offering you comfort and support, a mattress topper provides a barrier between your skin and the used mattress that you’re sleeping on (and it helps keep the mattress clean).

Twin XL Matress Pad

$29.99

$35.99

17% OFF


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The mattress pad pictured above — available in twin, twin XL, full, queen and king sizes — has received thousands of positive Amazon reviews, namely for comfort and affordability. The pad is filled with a soft, snow down-alternative fiber designed to feel like real goose-down feathers.

Shoe Organizer

Need more storage items? Organize your shoe collection and more with an over-the-door organizer, a shoe rack or hanging closet organizer.

Mainstays 24 Pocket Over-the-Door Shoe Organizer

$6.92

$


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The transparent hanging organizer above can hold up to a dozen pairs of shoes, and comes complete with four durable metal hooks.

Bed Risers

Bed risers have been a dorm room staple for decades. Apart from adding more height, risers provide you with extra space to store items underneath the bed. (Click here for under-bed storage organizers.)

Utopia Bed Risers

$18.99


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These Utopia Bed Risers are available in different colors (black, white or brown) and can be adjusted from 3 to 8 inches. You might also be interested in these bed risers with USB ports and electrical outlets ($47.06).

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