Get Ready With These College Dorm Room Essentials

Work, College / Friday, August 16th, 2019
Reading Time: 10 minutes

Are you doing some last-minute shopping to deck out your new on-campus housing? You’re not going to want to miss these college dorm room essentials.

The start of a new school year is approaching and it’s time to start thinking about what you’re going to bring. If you’re staying on campus—whether in your hometown or a new city—you’ll want to make the space your own. These college dorm room essentials can really help with that!

College dorm packing list

Every college will have their own list of things you need to bring to your college dorm. But regardless of what it says, here’s your college dorm packing list:

  • Bedding sets
  • 1 mattress topper or protector (or both)
  • 1 laundry hamper
  • Laundry detergent 
  • 1 lamp
  • 1 alarm clock
  • 3 bath towels, 2 hand towels, 2 face cloths
  • Small sewing kit
  • Small tool kit
  • Electronics

Dorm Room Bedding & Bath

When it comes to packing your college dorm room essentials, your bedding is probably number one. While you get away with only one bedding set like you would have at home, I would highly recommend bringing along two sheet sets. 

When picking the perfect college bedding, go with something homey and fun, but not too loud. You’ll have to get the exact sizing from your college as some beds are bigger than others.

You’ll want to make sure it’s easy to take on and off a duvet and washable. Personally, I love something like the Geometric Pineapple Bedding Set.

Get the Geometric Pineapple set on Amazon

In addition to your bedding, you might want to consider a mattress topper. I recommend something made from memory foam.

From my experience, dorm beds are on the harder side and a tad bit uncomfortable. You might also want to consider a mattress protector in case you spill something on the bed!

Get the Memory Foam Mattress Topper on Amazon

You’ll also want to pack along an extra blanket. While most days a duvet will work fine, some nights are bound to be colder.

I recommend packing along a weighted throw. While these are heavier than your average blanket they are supposed to be great for stress and anxiety relief, which can be particularly helpful during exam periods.

Get a weighted blanket on Amazon

While it’s not bedding, another really important thing you’ll want to add to your college dorm room essentials list is a towel set

When it comes to towel sets, you’ll want to make sure at a minimum you have two towels and at least one face cloth. This does not have to be a ton of linens, just enough for you to have a backup while your procrastinating laundry.

Get the 6-piece towel set on Amazon

Dorm room laundry essentials

Speaking of laundry, you absolutely want to have a laundry hamper on your college dorm room essentials list.

While I was originally going to recommend a rolling hamper, I actually had one and it broke about a week into me getting it. With that said, I recommend a foldable hamper. They’re easy to store when you’re not using them and can stretch when you fill them.

Get the Merdes foldable laundry hamper from Amazon

When it comes to laundry, you will need two things: scent booster and stain remover. You don’t need large amounts of either of these things, just enough to cart back and forth from the laundry room.

Finally, when it comes to laundry you’ll need things for ironing. That includes a small foldable ironing board and a small iron. I would also recommend a small steamer if your wardrobe includes some more delicate pieces. 

College dorm electronics essentials

I already covered must-have college tech essentials, but in this case, I wanted to focus on what you need specifically in a dorm room. 

We aren’t talking about laptops and iPads, but more practical items like lamps and alarm clocks. 

College dorm electronics essentials packing list

  • Noise-cancelling headphones
  • Alarm clock
  • Table lamp
  • Power strip
  • Mini projector

Noise-cancelling headphones

I’ve talked about noise-cancelling headphones a lot, but when it comes to college dorm room essentials, they’re especially important. 

A good pair of noise-cancelling headphones can help block out the hustle and bustle of the dorm while you’re trying to study or relax. Whether you’re in a solo suite or have roommates, these bad boys will really come in handy.

Get a pair of Beats on Amazon

Read my review of Beats noise-cancelling headphones

Alarm clock charging station

Yes, you can use your phone as an alarm clock. But I would highly recommend you get out of that pesky bad little habit. Your phone emits a blue light that off-sets your sleep patterns and is generally not good for you.

Plus, having a separate alarm clock that is always set is a good way to ensure that you make it to class the next day, even if you get home late and forget to set your phone. 

I recommend something like the Dpnao that works as an alarm clock, a speaker system and a charging station. That way you have a three-in-one device. 

Get the Dpnao alarm clock on Amazon

Table lamp

A small table lamp is a college dorm room must-have. It won’t come in the room but you’ll definitely need it. I recommend picking a lamp with charging pods because truthfully, access to more charging ports is always good! 

Truthfully, you might want to go with two lamps for your dorm room—a table-top lamp and a floor lamp. It’s always better to have extra light that you can turn off, than not enough light!

Get the table lamp with charging ports on Amazon

Power strip

You have no idea how much you need a power strip until you have something you want to plug in but have no space for it. Seriously, they’re a lifesaver.

On your college dorm room essentials list, I would include at least one large power strip or perhaps two smaller ones—it really depends on the layout of your room.

Get a power strip on Amazon

Mini projector

Ok, fine, a mini projector isn’t a must-have. But wouldn’t you love to have one?

Honestly, watching films on your iPad or laptop can get old fast, especially if you’re trying to treat yourself to a real movie night. And that’s where a small project comes in handy.

These bad boys are under $100, don’t take up a lot of space and turn your wall into a screen. While it’s not really a dorm essential, it sure doesn’t hurt to have it.

Get the Tenker Mini Projector on Amazon

College dorm room kitchen essentials

Chances are your dorm room won’t have a full kitchen (though there is likely a shared kitchen), but just because you don’t have a specific kitchen doesn’t mean you can’t have food available to you on a whim. 

College kitchen packing list

  • Mini fridge
  • Coffee maker or electric kettle
  • Microwave
  • 4-piece dish set
  • Utensils
  • Kitchen towels
  • Dish soap
  • Popcorn maker
  • Fasta pasta cooker

Dishes and utensils 

You’ll definitely want to have at least one set of dishware on-hand in your dorm room. But to be honest, I wouldn’t recommend more than that because you should definitely wash it after every use otherwise gross.  

Not only do you want a dish set, but some utensils, a water bottle or two, and some hand towels will also be helpful to have on-hand. When you’re purchasing dishes and the like, remember that you have limited space so keep it sparse.

Get the 4-piece bamboo dish set on Amazon

Mini fridge

On a scale of one to completely necessary, chances are a mini fridge won’t rank high for everyone. But if you have the space and the funds it can be a handy little device. 

Whether you want to keep a bottle of water cool so you can quickly throw it in your bag on your way to class, have a few sodas on-hand for movie night or simply want to have a few snacks on hand (I’m looking at you, cheese), it can be a real handy tool.

A mini-fridge is one of the great college dorm room essentials when it comes to saving money in the long-run. Many students get into the expensive habit of eating out all the time, but a fridge means having food on-hand.

A well-sized mini-fridge and trip to the grocery store once a week can mean cutting down on a few meals out a week. Breakfast is an easy meal you can cut out using your compact refrigerator. 

Get the Daewoo Retro Fridge on Amazon

Coffee maker

Purchasing coffee on campus every morning is going to get pricey, and chances are you don’t have the extra cash while you’re studying. With that in mind, a single-serve coffee maker can be a space-saving way to enjoy your daily cup of jo.

If you’re like me and you prefer tea to coffee, you can get an electric kettle, which can be incredibly helpful when it comes to boiling water for an afternoon snack of soup!

Popcorn maker

Popcorn is a great snack and it’s especially easy to make if you have a popcorn popper. They’re small and don’t take up much space, and can be the perfect evening snack.

For movie fans or those that love a before-bed snack, this is can be a great little and in-expensive college dorm room kitchen essential.

Get the Hamilton Beach Popcorn Popper on Amazon

Fasta pasta cooker

This isn’t a necessary essential for everyone, but if you’re a pasta lover like me it’ll make your time at college much more delicious.

The Fasta Pasta cooker is built to cook pasta right inside your microwave, so you don’t need a stove to enjoy your favourite cheap dish!

Get the Fasta Pasta Cooker on Amazon


A microwave can be one of the most important college dorm room essentials if you’re hoping to cut down on your eating-out budget. 

They can help you heat up dishes or make completely new ones. And ultimately, they help ensure that not everything you eat has to come from the campus bar or the vending machine.

Alternatively, you can opt for a toaster oven if you prefer. While it doesn’t cook the same as a microwave if your favourite foods require more baking then heating up, it might be a better option for you.

Get the retro-style microwave on Amazon

College dorm room organization

College dorm rooms are small spaces and to fit all of your things in it means having some serious organizational skills. While this isn’t a packing list per-say, here are a few things that you can use to help you organize your college dorm room:

Desktop organizer

Your desk space is prime real estate but because your dorm room is so small, you’ll probably need to use it to house some of your things. And that’s where a desktop storage organizer comes in.

What’s nice about this particular organizer is that you can arrange it how you want. It’s perfect to house books, notebooks and other college necessities. Plus, you can throw a cute plant on there to liven up the space. 

Get the adjustable desktop storage organizer on Amazon

Dresser storage

You are going to need somewhere to put all of your clothes and one of the best places to do that in your dorm room is with an easy-to-move dresser. 

Chances are you don’t want a full dresser, that’s just unnecessary but one of these storage towers is just right for your college dorm room essentials list. It’s inexpensive, light and can (hopefully) fit everything you bring along.

Get the mDesign verticle dresser on Amazon

Foldable storage bags

Another great college dorm room organization options are foldable storage bags. While these aren’t great for everyday access like your clothing, it’s perfect for towels, extra sheets and seasonal clothing. 

You can throw a few of these under your bed or in the closet. Somewhere out of the way, but still within reach.  

Get this Sorbus foldable organizer on Amazon

Picking your college dorm room essentials

Your dorm room is your new home away from home. For a lot of college students, it’s their first foray into living on their own. Living on campus can be a great way to get a taste of living on your own.

When it comes to picking your college dorm room essentials, it’s important to make surer you bring items that make you feel comfortable. It’s your home, it’s important you make it one. 

What are your favourite college dorm room essentials? Share them in the comments below!

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