A Comprehensive List of College Dorm Essentials

November 18, 2022
By AdmissionSight

A Comprehensive List of College Dorm Essentials

If you are going away to college this fall, or if you are the parent of a student attending college in the fall, you are probably up to your neck in packing lists full of dorm essentials. Although most of the “back-to-school” lists you’ll find online or in big-box stores are pretty generic, we were interested in learning what real students find to be the most helpful and which items are valuable on college campuses.

What to consider before buying college dorm essentials?

It is difficult to remember everything a first-year student needs to bring to college, even though many families know the typical necessities a student should get. The transition will be easier if you bring some personal belongings from home, but you’ll need more than bedding and a laptop to make it through the year. There are things that you need to have when buying college dorm essentials.

Unidentified student packing her things to move in to her college dorm

Check with your school’s administration to find out which items are permitted on campus before making any purchases or packing. The majority of schools are required to adhere to numerous health and safety regulations, and these regulations can vary from one location to the next. Certain schools may prohibit microwaves, while others have strict rules regarding the maximum capacity of permitted refrigerators.

If you are going to a college in another state, you should consider whether or not you need to bring everything you own. It might seem necessary to pack your entire wardrobe, but once you get to your new quarters, it can be more of a hassle than it’s worth trying to find a place for all your belongings. Buying dorm essentials once you get to your new location is a good idea for out-of-state students because it will help them save money on shipping costs and give them more space in their belongings to pack other things they will require.

In addition to that, make sure that you carefully fill out and go over your housing contract. It is possible that omitting certain information or sending it back in an incomplete state will significantly impact your living situation. It is possible that once you arrive on campus, you will be forced into a living situation you do not like because of purchases that you do not need or lack.

Where to buy college dorm room essentials?

Preparing for college and moving into a dorm room for the first time can be very stressful. There are so many things to buy, and you might wonder where to get everything. Some former students remember wishing they had better college dorm room essentials when they were freshmen moving into college, including what to pack and where to find it. There are so many things to buy, and you might wonder where to get everything.

A female removing things outside of the box

If you’re unsure where to find all these things, don’t worry; I’ve got you covered. The following list of the best places to shop for college dorm essentials, including online and traditional retail establishments:

1. Amazon

Amazon is undoubtedly one of the best places to shop for things you’ll need in your dorm room. They sell everything, the prices are reasonable, and the free shipping in two days with an Amazon Prime membership is unbeatable. College students can get six months of free Amazon Prime when they sign up for the service. All you need is a working email address from your school to qualify for the six-month free trial. This is especially useful if you have already purchased your dorm essentials and have forgotten some items.

2. Dormify

Dormify is an online store to shop for anything related to dorms. Everything they sell is extremely trendy and will transform the appearance of your dorm room into something out of a Pinterest board. Most college students like Dormify because everything they sell is designed with dorm rooms in mind, so you can buy from them with confidence that everything will fit properly and serve its purpose.

3. Target

During the summer and fall months, when it is time for students to head back to school, Target stocks an abundance of reasonably priced college essentials. It is convenient to do your dorm shopping here because each store features a sizable section labeled “College Dorm Essentials,” where all the items are arranged in a single location.

Aerial view of Target

4. Wayfair

Wayfair is an online retailer that carries a wide variety of high-quality, reasonably priced furniture and other items for the home. They do not have a section on their website dedicated to college or dorms, but if you look around, you should be able to find items such as rugs, chairs, wall decor, bedding, and so on that would be suitable for a college dorm room.

5. Society

If you’ve ever looked for art prints, wall art, tapestries, or any other kind of wall decor on the internet, you’ve probably heard of Society6 at some point. Society6 is an online marketplace where you can purchase beautiful and one-of-a-kind wall decor; in the process, you will support individual artists. They’re a wonderful place to look for decor that will make a statement for your college dorm room.

6. Bed Bath & Beyond

Bed Bath & Beyond is another retailer that stocks an incredible quantity of college essentials every spring, summer, and autumn. If you aren’t too concerned about how things look and want to stock up on various necessities for your dorm room, this is the best place to shop. At Bed Bath & Beyond, you can purchase a variety of dorm essentials, such as a mesh shower caddy and a toiletries case. They also make available a significant number of discounts and coupons at all times.

7. Urban Outfitters

There is no better place to look than the home goods department at Urban Outfitters if you want trendy and cool things for your dorm room. You can get a wide variety of items, including furniture, decorations, bedding, and bath products, to outfit your dorm room from them.

They’re the place to go shopping for items such as bedding, rugs, tapestries, decor, and the like if you want to give your dorm room a bohemian or indie vibe when you decorate it.

8. The Container Store

If you live and breathe organization, you should come here.

The Container Store has a section dedicated specifically to dorms on its website. This section features all the storage and organization essentials required for a dorm room.

Fundamental dorm room essentials you should buy


Nothing indicates life in a dorm room more than an uncomfortable mattress. An uncomfortable bed will give you a hard time getting proper rest and affect your studies. This problem can be fixed by adding a high-quality comforter or mattress topper.

If you are the type of person that would prefer an aesthetically pleasing bedroom, you can find a mattress topper that can be reversed. This is a huge plus because it’ll allow you to switch up the appearance of your room when you get tired of looking at just one color.

White sheets and pillows covered in white pillow case

Even though other pieces of furniture will most likely already be in your dorm room when you move in, you might find that you need a larger desk to finish all of your homework in the wee hours of the morning.

Also, when looking for dorm essentials to purchase, don’t overlook the importance of organizers and storage containers! In particular, when it comes to personalizing such a constrained area, these will be your best friends.

When you don’t have time to organize during midterms or finals, under-bed storage and closet organizers are helpful ways to stow your belongings and conceal the clutter that results from a lack of organization.

Health and grooming

Whether or not you are enrolled in college, you must maintain a high level of personal cleanliness and health. As such, it is crucial that when you purchase dorm room essentials, you have shower and grooming equipment. A shower caddy will make it much simpler to transport all your bathroom necessities in a single trip if the bathroom in your dorm is shared with other residents.

You should also be ready to deal with minor injuries, mainly if the health services office on your campus is closed for whatever reason. A first aid kit can provide everything you require in the convenience of a small bag, making it ideal for emergencies. Always err on the side of caution to avoid having to apologize.

Clothes and laundry

Most students dread doing their laundry, whether it be loading and unloading hampers or folding clothes afterward. Even though we can all agree that doing laundry won’t rank among the most exciting things you’ll encounter during college, it’s still crucial that you do it.

Instead of wishing you had more closet space for your garments and hoping that your dorm room storage was larger, you should consider investing in a clothing rack as part of your dorm essentials. They are a fantastic way to exhibit your most cherished articles of clothing while also assisting you in maintaining order in the rest of your closet.

A good laundry detergent is also essential. Try to find one that strikes an excellent balance between thoroughly cleaning your clothes and preserving their original shape since this is something that most students don’t give much thought to when selecting a laundry detergent.

This rule of thumb applies to fabric conditioners and other laundry essentials. If possible, try buying bulk since it is cheaper if you span your laundry materials without making multiple trips to the store every time you run out.

School supplies

Invest in basic school supplies to give yourself the best chance of excelling in your classes. Even though there is bound to be a printer on your college premises, it is advantageous to print essays in the convenience of your living quarters, be it a dorm room or apartment.

Studies have shown that writing notes by hand can improve your understanding of the material and help you retain information. Taking notes on your laptop will work fine, but studies have also shown that writing notes by hand can help. Especially for courses that require frequent review of one’s notes, purchasing a pack of writing pads as part of your dorm essentials is a wise investment that should not be overlooked. Pages are also simple to remove and won’t get caught on other items in your bag, unlike those annoying spiral notebooks you used to have to carry around in high school.

Electronics and equipment

Even though having a laptop and a reliable Internet connection have always been helpful in college, these things are now more important than ever. Since there has been a recent shift to online learning in many colleges and universities.

Having a device that can maintain your connection, like a pocket wifi for when you’re not at home, to your virtual classrooms is essential. It is also wise to have a laptop to get you through college. Most students would buy a laptop without thinking of how long it will last.

Two outlets won’t be enough to keep your electronic devices charged and ready to use whenever you need them, thanks to your phone, laptop, and other electronic devices. In the circumstances such as these, you might find that you require the use of a power strip.

They can also be helpful for cords that don’t seem long enough to reach your desk or bed, which is another situation in which they can come in handy. Knowing that you have a power outlet near you can save you a lot of time in charging, especially if you like using gadgets

If you have a high-quality headset, you won’t be disrupted by the white noise and other inevitable distractions living in a college dorm. For that reason, high-quality headsets are essential for attending online lectures.

The constant use of a trackpad may cause discomfort in your wrist; purchasing a mouse is another wise investment that may alleviate this discomfort. Keep in mind that going wireless is the way to go!

Food and snacks

In all likelihood, the kitchen space provided in your dorm room will fall short of your expectations, if it even exists. When it comes to making cooking more manageable, there are a lot of helpful extra dorm essentials that you can bring along with you.

Utensils are the first things that should be on your list. Spoons, Forks, and Knives are dorm room essentials. Aside from that, it is also wise to have plates and bowls for when you have your meals.

The week of midterms may cause you to drink coffee if you aren’t already a fan of the beverage. It’s possible that if you keep some on hand at all times, it will be the thing that gets you through a marathon of homework or a long night of studying before an exam.

Aside from drinks, it would be best if you also had prepared your meals. Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner are all equally important. Preparing meals may not be a skill you have, but it is a worthy investment to have the materials you need in cooking.

Simple kitchen appliances like a microwave oven or a small induction stove can go a long way. It will be helpful in the long run, especially if you are trying to save, as you can prepare meals and portion them appropriately.

When you don’t have time for a lunch break, it’s a good idea to pick up a box of snacks that come in individual packages so you can eat something between classes. Even though the kitchen in your dorm may not have the same amenities as the one in your house, you shouldn’t let this stop you from preparing nutritious meals for yourself.


Don’t let the fact that these things are categorized as “miscellaneous” fool you into thinking that their significance level is lower than that of the other categories. They are equally important in helping to make your life easier while you are in college.

It would be a terrible experience to spend hours trapped inside a building solely because an umbrella was left at home. Imagine things getting even worse when you get completely drenched on the way to class.

You can be better prepared for any unanticipated shifts in the weather if, as part of your dorm essentials purchase, you always carry a foldable umbrella with you in your backpack. That way, you have protection if it ever rains or is sunny.

A female student carrying a box full of things as she moves in to her new dorm

If you intend to bring a bicycle, you should unquestionably also get a lock for the said bicycle. You can put your faith in the fact that we are telling you that you will require one to store your bike on campus. Also, since you can’t use an umbrella while cycling, it is wise to have a small poncho ready in case of rain.

Even if you don’t plan on carrying cash with you at all times, you can still benefit from having a cash box because you can use it to secure other valuables. That way, you can leave your house knowing your valuables are safe.

When you move into and out of your dorm, you will need someone to help you assemble and disassemble any of the furniture you plan to bring with you to use in the room. Not only that, there might be times when you will need to fix something. A toolbox can be surprisingly helpful in a variety of different circumstances.

As you prepare for your dorm for the future, you should also prepare for your college admission. If you wish for guidance in your journey, AdmissionSight will help you through the competitive admissions process to get accepted to the top universities in the world. Set up an appointment today and get the best help in getting into college.



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