These Items Will Make Your Freshman Year of College SO Much Easier
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You've been working on your dorm decor Pinterest board since freshman year of high school. But as strings of twinkle lights danced through your head, you might have spaced on the somewhat boring, but still really important everyday necessities. Of course, dorm decor like photos, posters, and bedding are key to personalizing your space and making it feel your own, but dorm essentials such as a shower tote, laundry bag, and extra storage cubes should definitely not be overlooked and will help you seamlessly adjust to small-space living. Thankfully, your fairy god RAs (hi, that's us! 👋) are here to save the day with a packing list filled with all the best dorm room essentials.
You might rather daydream about your new college wardrobe, but trust us, every single thing on this list will help you survive and thrive in your first year at college. Forget the last-minute Target runs or expedited Amazon purchases, because come move-in day, you'll be more than prepared with this stock of dorm room essentials. Ahead, shop Seventeen's top dorm room picks aka every can't-live-without item you need to have in your new space.
Lexi 7 Pocket Shower Tote
All we have to say is: do not buy a shower caddy without a mesh bottom. Seriously, don't. It'll get filled with mold and dirt (bathrooms are one of the dirtiest places in your house), so not at all something you'd want near you while you're trying to get clean.
Printed Sherpa Throw Blanket
Dorm rooms can get drafty, and you'll be happy to have a cozy throw blanket at the end of your bed for those cooler nights or late-night study sessions.
Bamboo Bedside Bed Shelf
How many phone chargers is too many? The limit does not exist! Add two more USB ports to your collection with this functional clip-on night stand. The tray is 14" x 9" – plenty of space to store your glasses, phone, journal, remote, and your preferred midnight snack.
Smoko Heated Potato Slippers
These potato slippers protect your feet from those chilly tile dorm floors, but if you’re looking to get super cozy, plug them into any compatible USB port (like your computer or laptop) to heat them up in seconds. And, we don't know if we made this point clear, but they're slippers shaped like potatoes. Yeah, it's pretty awesome.
Twin XL Sheets
For some reason they make dorm beds much longer than your average twin, so you've got to buy specialty sheets to match. Along with the extra inches, this set also comes in a ton of different colors and it has a built-in pocket for your phone.
Silicone Reusable Storage Bag 4-Pack
Let us be clear, we are NOT taking single-use plastic with us into college. You'll save the planet (and let's be real, some money too) with these squishy baggies you can use for years and years. Pack them with fruit, cookies, chips, lipstick, pencils – they'll hold any and all school essentials.
The College Cube Desk Bookshelf
All that open space above your desk is just waiting to be filled with text books, picture frames, and lots of beauty products. This shelf will help you pull it off.
Touch Pro LED Makeup Mirror With Bluetooth & USB Charger
Turn your desk into a glam station with this ring light mirror (which, btw comes with a charger and Bluetooth speaker for hands-free phone calls).
Multicolored LED Strip Lights
You probably already have a set of these LED lights strung around your bedroom, so invest in a second to keep those exact vibes in your dorm room.
Surplus Laundry Bag
TBH, lots of your time in college will be spent doing laundry. You need a sturdy, roomy bag that can fit like a month's worth of dirty clothes. This option from JanSport, made from surplus materials, does all that and more. It features a handle, adjustable shoulder straps, a zippered mesh pocket and a drawstring outer pocket to hold your money, keys, and fabric softener sheets. Plus, it comes in five cute prints and colors.
FeatherWeight™ Stick Bagless Vacuum
You probably never even thought to add this to your shopping list, but between study seshes and 2 am trips to the vending machine, a vacuum cleaner is a requirement. This under-$40 mini has a full portfolio of 5-star reviews to rival the $250 versions. You can use it as a standing cleaner or break it down into a handheld vacuum.
2-Inch Memory Foam Mattress Topper
By the time you sit down on your mattress come moving day, it's probably already been slept on by at years-worth of students, and tbh, usually isn't very comfortable. Soooo yeah, you're gonna want to get a mattress pad. This version combines the best options: memory foam infused with a cooling gel (and it's a #1 bestseller on Amazon). Believe me, this thing will make your dorm bed more comfortable than your bed at home.
Non-Slip Clothes Hangers
Luckily, you won't have to stuff all of your clothes in drawers and storage bins. You'll likely have some hanging closet space in your dorm room, so take advantage with these slim, no-slip hangers that can hold your most precious items in place all year long.
Sutton Charging 3-Drawer Cart on Wheels
You need all the storage space in your college dorm for clothes, books, and other necessities. With three drawers and two shelves this is the perfect addition. Place it next to your bed for easy access to the built-in USB ports and outlets, or wheel it over to a more convenient spot for you and your roomie.
Bedside Essentials Pocket
Just like your favorite dress, those tiny dorm beds are sooo much better with pockets. This felt version will hold your iPad, notebook, phone, snacks, and more.
WH-CH720N Noise-Canceling Wireless Headphones
AirPods are great, but you'll be glad you invested in a pair of noise-cancelling headphones when your next door neighbor is bumping house music at 1 am on a Tuesday. Just don't wear them to bed, because the fire alarms will go off like all the time.
18 oz Standard Mouth
Did you know Americans us 35 billion single-use plastic bottles a year? Well, this reusable bottle will help you lower that number. All Hydro Flask bottles come with their insulated, no-sweat design that keeps beverages cold for up to 24 hours and hot up to 12, but we picked this bottle specifically, because of the cute neon color.
Ivy Vine String Lights
Cozy up your dorm room with a cottagecore aesthetic, made complete with these ivy-accented fairy lights. These are remote-controlled, and offer eight different settings.
Bed Risers with Power Outlet and USB Ports
Between your phone, laptop, TV, speaker, desk lamp, straightener, curling wand, and tablet – you need all the outlets you can get. Add two more to your room (plus two USB ports) with these bed riders, which come in 5-inch and 7.25-inch height. These will offer a little extra lift, so you've got more storage room under your bed because let's face it, the closet will not be big enough.
You probably already have a cute backpack on your school shopping list, but we're drop this baby on here anyway. For the 2023-2024 school year, the Kanken pack remains one of the trendiest option.
10.9-Inch iPad with Wi-Fi - 64GB
The iPad functions just as well as a Macbook, but with much more mobility – and is much lighter to carry around in your backpack. In college, your tablet/laptop preferences will differ based on your major, so use gadgets to customize yours. If your classes will require graphic design or sketching, get an Apple Pencil. For writers, shop the Smart Keyboard.
Over the Door Vanity Organizer
Your closet door is prime storage real estate – don't let it go to waste. An over-the-door organizer is the perfect spot to keep your makeup, beauty products, jewelry, and toiletries. Dormify's version comes with a built-in vanity mirror and 19 pockets in varying sizes.
The Office Edition
Everyone needs a board game in the dorm room for those lazy days and this The Office version of "What Do You Meme?" will make yours the most popular room on the floor.
Mini Portable Fridge
Freshman year, you might have a campus meal plan, but dining halls aren't open 24/7. Pack your mini fridge with (free) leftovers from the cafeteria for later, snacks, or your favorite skincare, of course.
Laptop Lock and Security Cable
Alright fam, it's about to get real. Laptop thefts on college campuses are super common, so adding a burglar-proof lock to your packing list is a necessity. This one has a coated steel cord that stretches 6.2 ft. (there's also a 6.6 ft. version) and comes with two keys. Unlike the options that come with a combination lock, you won't run the risk of forgetting your combo.
Portable Fan Rechargeable Battery USB Mini Rotation Clip On
You know that thing that makes Beyoncé's hair blow around majestically in the wind? You can buy a mini one for $14! With a handy clip detail, you can attach this fan to your bunk, desk, or bookshelf – a major space-saver in a cramped dorm room. Even if your building is air conditioned (some aren't), you're going to wish you had a little extra breeze in warm climates or the summer months – or when you just feel like channeling Queen Bey.
K-Mini Coffee Maker
If your dorm allows coffee makers, the Keurig mini is an absolute must-buy. Mornings and study seshes fueled by coffee without having to drop $$$ on Starbucks? Yes pls.
This mask is pricey, but hear us out: If you have a roommate that's studying late into the night (or has a habit of keeping their bedside lamp on), then you want an eye covering that will not only block out light, but will also be delicate on your skin. Slip's offering uses luxe, high-quality silk that's super soft.
RPET Double Bar Hanging Closet Organizer
Take advantage of what little closet room you'll have with a unit that offers both shelf space and drawers – all without sacrificing precious hanger space, thanks to the built-in rod underneath. With its four-shade color range, this addition will def match any room aesthetic.
Clear Bubble Umbrella
You truly don't realize how annoying rainy days are until you're late, splashing across campus for your 9 AM. This one is also windproof, lending to its #1 bestseller status on Amazon.
Lectrofan Micro2 Sleep Sound Machine
Quality sleep in a college dorm doesn't always come so easily. A powerful sound machine takes the edge off of any miscellaneous noise (read: snoring, noisy neighbors) so you can sleep through the night. This version comes with 11 sound options and doubles as a portable Bluetooth speaker. It's also got a built-in battery for 40 hours of sleep sounds or 20 hours of Bluetooth.
5001 Collapsible Folding Wooden Clothes Drying Rack
Between long lines and limited drying time, dorm dryers aren't always the most reliable. Plus, you run the risk of shrinkage, pilling, or unexplained holes, so it's best to hang dry your most beloved pieces instead. This option from Amazon is collapsible and comes pre-assembled. Win-win.
32" Class Select Series HD Smart RokuTV
Sure, you can stream your favorite shows and flicks on your laptop, but when planning a movie night with friends, a TV is definitely preferred. The Roku TV features fast WiFi for uninterrupted streaming of Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, and more, and with the app, you can control the TV with your phone (no more keeping track of a remote). If don't love the idea of adding another big purchase to your shopping list, ask if your roommate wants to go halfsies.
Streaming Stick 4K
If you already have a TV, this little streaming stick will let you watch movies and shows from basically every streaming platform in 4K HD. All you have to do is plug this into the back of your TV.
Stick-On Fabric Phone Wallet
Your college ID will quickly become your bestie and you never want to be without it. It's how you swipe into your dorm building, dining hall, library, and other buildings. It even gets you discounts at certain restaurants and stores around campus. With this stick-on phone wallet, it'll be near-impossible to leave your room without your ID.
The Leather Carabiner Mini Pouch
If you prefer something sturdier for your ID, cards, and cash, opt for a leather pouch with an attached carabiner. It'll clip right onto your purse or keychain, but if you don't want to keep it on the outside of your bag, it can withstand a year of being tossed around in your backpack.
Strawberries by Bodil Jane
Even in a tiny dorm room, it's easy to keep losing all your stuff, especially AirPods that move from your backpack to your desk to your nightstand and back again. Keep them safe and secure with a keychain case you can clip anywhere.
17" Lap Desk
Your dorm room will probably already come with a desk, but let's be real, it's nice to do homework in bed every now and then. Enter: the lap desk. This option features slots for both your phone and tablet, plus, a mousepad, cushioned wrist pillow, and a wooden topper to keep your gadgets nice and cool. Also included: a handle for easy mobility.
28 QT Underbed Plastic Storage Box, 4 Pack
These bins don't look like much, but that's the beauty of this set. They're built specifically for storage and stacking, so you can take full advantage of that teeny bit of extra space beneath your bed. The clear walls allow you to see exactly what's inside and the bottom wheels offer more mobility.
Desktop Storage Box
Save your desk drawers for the stuff that matters (read: your massive lipstick collection). Store your pens, notebooks, and day planner in a compact organizer that won't take up too much desk space.
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