College Dorm Room Essentials Checklist

Written by Zulekha Nishad

Last Updated June 6, 2024

So, you're moving into your first dorm room. Congratulations! It's an exciting time in your life. For the first time, you're on your own, responsible for everything from cleaning to cooking. It can be daunting, but it's also a great opportunity to learn new things.

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But before you can fully enjoy your new living space, there are a few things you'll need to take care of, like creating a dorm room essentials checklist. Doing this will help make sure you don't forget anything important.

Check out our list of the essential items you'll need for your new home away from home. With this, you'll be ready to tackle college life like a pro!

college dorm room essentials checklist

List of college dorm room essentials

1. Bedding and sleep

A good night's sleep is essential for any college student. But before you can hit the hay, you need to make sure you have all the essentials for a comfortable slumber. That's why your bedding should be at the top of your college dorm room shopping list.

A comfortable mattress (mostly twin xl size) is essential, and a mattress topper can help to make it even more comfortable. But that's not all you need for a restorative night's sleep.

A cozy comforter and some soft cotton sheets will help you drift off to dreamland, while a few pillows will provide support for your head and neck. And don't forget a mattress protector to keep your mattress in tip-top condition.

Once you've got your bedding sorted, it's time to focus on getting a good night's sleep. A noise machine can help drown out any unwanted sounds, and an eye mask can block out any unwanted light. And if you find yourself tossing and turning, a relaxing lavender pillow spray can help you drift off into a deep sleep.


2. Cleaning supplies 

As any college student knows, cleanliness is next to godliness when it comes to surviving dorm life. Not only do you have to deal with the constant messes of your fellow students, but you also have to contend with the ever-present dust and grime that seems to accumulate no matter how often you clean.

Here are some cleaning supplies that every college student should have:

First and foremost, you’ll need a good vacuum cleaner. Between dust, dirt, and hair, your floors will get dirty quickly. A small handheld vac is usually sufficient for a dorm room.

Secondly, you’ll need some sort of cleaning solution. A multi-purpose cleaner can be used for surfaces like desks and tables.

Third, you’ll need some garbage bags. You’ll want to keep your trash can clean, so having extra bags on hand is always a good idea.

Fourth, you may want to invest in a lint roller. This will come in handy for removing pet hair, dust, and lint from clothing and bedding.

Finally, a storage bin or basket can be helpful for storing cleaning supplies, so they’re out of the way but still within reach when you need them.


3. Shower and bath

When it comes to shower and bath essentials, here is a list of things you should make sure you have in your dorm room:

Shower caddy - This will help you keep all of your shower essentials organized and within reach. Plus, it'll make it easier to carry everything back and forth from the bathroom.

A loofah or washcloth is great for exfoliating your skin in the shower. Get one that is soft, so it doesn't irritate your skin.

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Unless you want to smell like the gym all semester, it's important to have your own personal supply of shampoo, conditioner, and body wash. The good-quality ones will leave your hair and skin feeling clean and refreshed without stripping away natural oils. We recommend looking for a formula that's gentle and nourishing, especially if you have sensitive skin. Avoid the temptation to use someone else's products; you never know what kind of funky chemicals they're using.

Also, make sure to pack a pair (or two) of shower shoes that can slip on and off easily. This way, you can avoid infection and keep your feet clean and dry.

There's nothing worse than stepping out of the shower and into a cold, wet puddle on the floor. A bath mat will help you keep your bathroom floor clean and dry, and it'll also provide a little bit of extra insulation against the cold tile.

Look for a good bath towel that is absorbent and quick-drying. It's also important to choose a towel that's large enough to wrap around you comfortably. You don't want to be stuck using a hand towel that barely covers your body!

Don't forget to pack your toothbrush and toothpaste! Opt for a toothbrush with soft bristles to avoid damaging your teeth and gums.


4. Storage essentials

A dorm room can be a cramped and cluttered space, so storage is key.

First, there's the trusty storage bin. These are great for tucking away extra bedding, out-of-season clothes, or anything else you want to keep out of sight.

Second, invest in some quality hangers. Wire hangers will just end up bent and broken, so go for sturdy wooden hangers that can stand up to heavy coats and bulky sweaters.

Third, get yourself a shoe rack. Even if you only have a few pairs of shoes, they can take up a lot of space in a small closet. A shoe rack will help you keep your shoes organized and off the floor. Finally, don't forget about under-bed storage. This is a great place to store things like extra blankets, towels, or non-perishable food items.


5. Desk supplies  

Here are some essential desk supplies for dorm living:

A quality desk lamp - When you're studying or working on projects late at night, a good desk lamp is essential. Look for one with an adjustable arm so you can direct the light just where you need it.

A set of good pens and pencils - You'll need these for taking notes, filling out forms, and writing papers. Stock up on a variety of colors and styles, so you always have the right tool for the job.

A calendar or planner -  Staying organized is key to success in college, so invest in a good quality calendar or planner to help keep track of assignments, exams, and other important dates.

Sticky Notes - These are great for marking pages in books, labeling folders, and leaving yourself reminders.


6. Electronics and equipment

Here's a list of electronics and equipment that every dorm room should have:

A laptop or tablet is essential for keeping up with your coursework and staying connected with your friends and family. Plus, it's great for binge-watching Netflix when you need a break from studying.

In terms of entertainment, a TV is not essential, but a good pair of headphones can come in handy for studying or watching videos.

Additionally, a portable speaker can be great for listening to music or playing video games.

A surge protector is always a good idea, as it can help to protect your electronics from power surges.

Finally, get an alarm clock to make sure you don't oversleep and miss class.


7. Laundry

Doing laundry is never fun. It's especially not fun when you're living in a tiny dorm room and have to share a laundry machine with an entire floor of people. But there are some dorm room essentials that can help make the process a little less painful.

For starters, you'll need a laundry basket or hamper to store your dirty clothes. A mesh laundry bag is also a good idea for separating your delicates from the rest of your laundry.

You'll also need a good detergent that can handle both light and heavy loads.

And don't forget the dryer sheets! A few well-placed dryer sheets can help keep your clothes smelling fresh and static-free.


8. Decorating items

Decorating your dorm room is a great way to make it feel like home. But with all the things you need to buy for school, it can be tough to know where to start. Here's a list of essential decorating items for your dorm room, so you can make it feel just like home.

Fairy lights are a must-have for any dorm room. They add a touch of whimsy and make your space feel cozy and inviting. Plus, they're great for stringing up photos and other mementos.

Throw pillows are another essential for making your dorm room feel like home. They add color and comfort, and they're great for taking naps on those long study days.

An area rug is a great way to add color and personality to your dorm room. It also makes your space feel cozier and inviting. Plus, it's great for protecting your floor from dirt and wear.

Posters are a great way to personalize your space and show off your personality. They're also great for covering up any bare walls or ugly paint colors.

Finally, personalize your space with some photos and other mementos from home. This will help you feel more comfortable in your new surroundings.


Dorm life is a unique experience, and it’s important to be prepared for all of the challenges that come with it. By following our Ultimate Dorm Room Essentials Checklist, you can make sure that your room is fully stocked and ready to go before school starts.

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We hope this article helps make your transition into college life a little bit easier. So what are you waiting for? Start checking items off your list today!

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Disclaimer: What is said in this article has been referenced from multiple sources and is intended only for educational and informational purposes. Please note that no content in this article is a substitute for professional advice from a qualified doctor or healthcare provider. Always consult an experienced doctor with any concerns you may have regarding a health condition or treatment, and never disregard any medical suggestions or delay in seeking treatment because of something you read here.