10 College Dorm Room Must-Haves

Fall is fast approaching and with it comes the first steps onto a new college campus for many young folks around the country. It’s an exciting chapter in your life, with all the new friends and experiences you’ll have, but it can also be pretty challenging. One of the hardest adjustments is adapting to dorm life.

To get a jump on a great start out on your own, and with your new roommate, there are a few things you should definitely take along for the trip.


You’re out in the real world now and shouldn’t have to rely on your parents every time something goes wrong—that includes when something in your room breaks. A simple tool kit and multitool will go a long way in making sure you keep your furniture, coffee maker, video games, and even your car in working order.

First-Aid Kit

Most college campuses offer health services to students for free or at little cost, but you should still keep a first-aid kit on hand. Dorm life can get rowdy for freshmen; anything can happen. Pack some Band-Aids, antiseptic ointment, gauze and some athletic tape and Ace bandages in case of an emergency. When you get a paper cut during that all-night study session for your first final, there won’t be time to run to the store.

Moveable Storage

Dorm rooms are typically small with little space for large furniture, yet you’ll likely bring more clothes and stuff from home than you can fit. Moveable storage like sturdy plastic bins and shelving will go a long way to help save space. Anything that can be taken apart with a multitool is a good idea and will make the day you have to move out a cinch.


One common necessity that slips incoming freshmen’s minds is a lock and/or safe. Dorms are notorious for being a revolving door of students from all over campus and it could be easy for your stuff to go missing if you’re not careful. Find a small safe or drawers with locks so you can keep important documents and valuables safe and out of sight. You don’t want anything to go missing during that first kegger.

Shower Sandals

Few things in life are as gross as a dorm room shower. Unfortunately, it’s an unavoidable reality for freshmen. You’re going to have to shower sooner or later, and you certainly don’t want to come out with some kind of fungus on your feet. Purchase a pair of slip-resistant sandals you can wear to the bathroom and while lathering up.

Cooking Supplies

Eating out in college can get expensive fast, and most dorms aren’t exactly equipped with a full kitchen. Check with your RA and see what is allowed in terms of appliances. A coffee maker is a great tool for steaming vegetables or even cooking eggs. Purchase a hot plate or griddle if your dorm allows it to make delicious meals in minutes. If you sneak one in we won’t say anything.

Surge Protector

You’ll be sharing a tiny room with another person so the number of outlets for your electronics will be limited. Between the TV, laptops, cellphones, iPads, and other goods, you’ll find yourself arguing for electricity in no time without a plan in place. Instead, purchase a surge protector to give yourself extra places to plug in. It’ll also help keep you from starting a fire in your room.

Dry Erase Board

Few dorm room tools come in as handy as the dry erase board. You’ll quickly find it to be a versatile tool that helps you keep track of classes, study sessions, and events where they offer free food. Hang it above your desk to help you remember where you’re supposed to be, as college life can get hectic and it’s easy to forget appointments and due dates for your assignments.

Cleaning Supplies

Dormitory showers aren’t the only things that can get pretty nasty; your room can start to smell quickly too. With two or more people sharing such a small space even the little bits of trash can add up. Have some basic cleaning supplies including disinfectant wipes and sprays on hand when you move in to keep the funk at bay. A weekly vacuuming is also a great idea.

Noise Canceling Headphones

A good pair of headphones might be the most important tool in a freshman’s arsenal. Your dorm room neighbors aren’t going to care too much about your big Bio final at 8 am when they’re busy doing keg-stands in their room next door. Shut out the music and cheers with a pair of noise canceling headphones. They’ll come in handy when you need to prep or even just get a good night’s rest.

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