Dorm Room Essentials

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Outfitting your Home Away From Home

Taking off for college is an exciting time. For many students that means living on your own for the first time and, of course, outfitting your home away from home. While your priority is your education, creature comforts for your dorm room can make it feel more like home. Here are 10 things you need to outfit your dorm and 5 things to totally pass on.

1. An incredibly useful bedside shelf. When you are sleeping 6-7 feet off the ground, it is a lot more work to hop down for that extra glass of water or to dig around your bedding for your phone and EarPods. This handy little shelf attaches right to the side of your bed so you can keep the most important things nearby.

2. A pair of shoes just for the shower. An unfortunate truth of shared shower space is that you can never tell what was happening in there before you got there. Sometimes, unspeakable things happen in a common bathroom, so the last thing you want is to wander in half asleep and barefoot. Find a pair that are cheap and use a hole punch to make 4-5 drainage holes in each sole so you can avoid the inevitable shower-shoe suction

3. A surge protector with extra outlets and USB ports. There was a time when a couple outlets per roommate was sufficient. That time is not now. Between a computer, phone, wireless headphones, an extra lamp, a mini fridge and a microwave, outlets are in high demand. Find a practical outlet extender that can accommodate all of your plug-in devices.

4. A tiny bluetooth speaker that packs a punch. A speaker need not be big, or expensive to produce quality sound and fill your dorm room up with music. A small, portable, chargeable bluetooth speaker can easily find a home in a drawer when not in use and takes up very little, precious, desk space when it’s time to rock out.

5. Extra glasses. If you don’t wear glasses you can skip this one but anyone who does can certainly imagine the horror of losing your only pair in some kind of freak dorm room accident (things get stepped on, it happens!). Even if you look like Sally Jesse Raphael (google it) in your back up pair you will be happy to have them while you search for your prescription (bring a copy of that too!) and pick out some new frames.

6. Extra pillows or cushions. Your extra-long twin sized bed is going to be doing double triple duty. When you aren’t sleeping, you may be studying or your bed may be pulling couch duty as your guests will need somewhere to sit. Don’t let your pals’ behinds rest on the same place you lay your face at night. Instead, invest in some fun throw pillows to dress up your bed-turned-couch.

7. Cleaning supplies. While the myth lives on, dorm rooms do not have to be repositories of filth. All you need to keep things tidy is an all purpose cleaner, a cleaning cloth or rag and a small broom/dustpan combo. With these three items you can make sure that your dorm room is clean and tidy, smells fresh and isn’t an embarrassment when your family comes to visit.

8. A water-bottle (and an extra for when you forget to wash the first one). A simple rule for figuring out how much water you should drink per day is to divide your weight by two and drink that much in ounces. For example, a 200lb person should drink around 100oz of water per day. How much have you had today? Buying water is great for your hydration but not so awesome for the planet or your wallet so invest in a quality water bottle that you can take on the go to stay hydrated.

9. Sticky hooks. You may have limited floor space and your may have a desk piled high with your belongings so the next logical step is to take things to the walls, without damaging them in the process. Sticky hooks are essential—you want to hang some lights in your room? Hooks. You want to dangle a paper lamp from the ceiling? Hooks. You want to vertically arrange your shoe collection on your closet wall? Hooks. The possibilities are endless and since they are relatively inexpensive and restickable you can experiment until you find what works for you.

10. Quality Headphones. Sometimes you just want to check out for a little bit and nothing says “me time not you time” like wearing headphones. You can listen to music, stream shows, check into a virtual classroom, or just have them in/on to appear as though you don’t want to be bothered. Either way, you will get some much needed me time.


Pass on these:
Alarm Clock. Takes up space and outlets, there’s an app for that.
-Television. Why bother when you can stream on your computer or phone?
Expensive jewelry or accessories. You will be sharing space with your roommates, and their friends. Dorm room doors get left unlocked all the time despite your best roommate pact pledging never to do so. Leave your valuable baubles at home.
Luggage. Unless you know you have the space to store empty suitcases, or are able to send them back from where you came, you may want to consider a more storage friendly means of packing your belongings.
A printer. Most of your assignments will be turned in electronically and, in the event that you have to print something there will be plenty of places on campus that can help you out. If you don’t personally benefit from being able to print things out and view them on paper—everyone’s study skills are different—pass on the printer.

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