Today I’m sharing 20 dorm essentials…that they’ll ACTUALLY use!
I only lived in the dorm for one year, and that was more years ago than I care to say….ok, almost 20 years ago! I have, however, taught a number of high school girls that are now in college and have a year or two of recent dorm life experience under their belts. I polled them to find out the “essentials” that they actually ended up using!
Sidenote before we get to the essentials…..the girls’ mouths dropped as I explained to them that when I lived in the dorm my parents would buy me calling cards with prepaid minutes so that I could call them from the phone in my room! Cell phones were around, but not AT ALL like they are now. I had a cell phone that had 30 minutes a month and mainly stayed in my car’s glove compartment for emergencies! No text messaging, no camera phones, no social media….not even Facebook had been invented yet. It was a simpler time….lol!
My roommate for that one year in the dorm was also on dance team with me, and is still one of my very best friends! There is something about sharing a tiny square, a single sink where you clean your dishes AND brush your teeth, and having to have all your phone conversations in front of each other that just bonds you for LIFE! It was an experience I’m glad I had, but would never want to do again! It definitely made me thankful for the luxuries of home!
I took my boys recently to walk around my alma mater It made my stomach turn to think that someday I’ll send them off to college too! Mamas in that position, I’m praying for you! Such a bittersweet time as I’m sure you are immensely proud and simultaneously heartbroken to see your baby go! I wish I had some words of wisdom for you, but I’m just not there yet…
What I do have is a virtual hug and a list of suggestions from recent dorm dwellers that I hope with make the transition into college life feel a little more like home!!
Here we go! In no particular order, these are the essential items that came up again and again as I polled the girls! Most are Amazon prime, with just a couple of other retailers that had cheaper/better options in the mix!
We shared a bathroom with suite mates when I was in college, so a little nicer than the big community shower, but I still NEVER showered without shoes! These flip flops come in several color options, have holes for water to drain, are slip resistant, and have antimicrobial layers to protect your feet from mold and bacteria….GROSS! They cost a little more than the $2 Old Navy variety, but sometimes you get what you pay for!
Find them here.
A Mesh Caddy:
These mesh shower caddies are also so smart! I remember people having those hard plastic ones where water would get in and just sit! Gross! These are both under $10 and have tons of great reviews! Find them here and here.
A Snap Towel and Hair Wrap
A snap towel is great because it serves as both a towel and a robe if you have to walk back and forth from the community shower! This one has great reviews and comes in lots of color options! This one also comes with a hair wrap. Find them here and here.
Here are a few other bathroom/shower necessities and some storage ideas if you are lucky enough to have a bathroom connected to your room!
Trying to make a dorm room bed comfortable is definitely a challenge!
These sheets have TONS of great reviews, come in lots of colors and are just $30. Find them here.
Most of my girls said they coordinated their comforters/bedding with their roommate, but this set came highly recommended if you are on the search!
Some also said that they forgot about an extra blanket.
This one comes in lots of pretty colors, is SO soft and is $25 as part of the Nsale for a few more days. Find it here.
They also said they spent a lot of time sitting on their beds, so a backrest pillow was nice to have. I bought this one for this room makeover. It comes in several colors and is just $15.
Find it here.
A few other bedding items to consider:
Laundry and Storage:
A mesh laundry bag. Find one here for $8.
This one that rolls is also cute. Find it here.
The girls recommended velvet hangers. The closets are tiny and these take up significantly less room than plastic ones….plus they keep clothes from falling off. This set of 50 is $25.
Find them here.
A travel steamer is also great to have. I have had this one a couple of years now and it works like a charm!
Find this one here.
If there is room, storage that also serves as seating is a great idea! Find this ottoman here.
More storage solutions:
Other Random Essentials
These items were also mentioned recommended by my students:
A vacuum. This one is just $25 and will get the job done. Find it here.
A fridge. Drinks and snack are a MUST! Find this one here.
Different schools have different rules, but a microwave and coffee maker are also great if they are allowed!
Power cords with electrical plugs and USB-plugs are limited! Find this one here.
A clip on/desk fan. Find this one here.
First aide kit. This one from Amazon is small, but has over 300 items they may need.
Find it here.
While I’m giving you lots of ideas, where possible, less is more! Dorm rooms are small and college is expensive. Try to scale down to only what you REALLY need!
Thank you to my students that contributed ideas to this post!! I hope they are helpful!!