College Dorm Room Essentials

In guiding and mentoring students in the high school classroom so that they are successful upon entering college, the thought occurred to me that they have a number of other “real life” considerations besides that of being academically successful. Who is guiding and mentoring them to be successful in their transition from life at home to their new “home away from home”: the college dormitory. What about knowing all about college dorm room essentials? What about being well-prepared to live a well-balanced life away from home? My advice and suggestions to a successful campus life are as follows:

Essential Personal Items  

You will be responsible for keeping yourself and your environment CLEAN. These items are a must in order to create the perfect space conducive to learning and to relaxing:

  • 2 sets of sheets (the majority of dorm beds require Twin XL size)

  • 2 pillows

  • comforter or blanket

  • bedside lamp

  • box fan or one on a stand (personal size, nothing huge)

  • bath towels (4 or 5 would be good)

  • hand towels (again, 4would be good)

  • wash cloths (yep, about 4)

  • a shower caddy/basket

  • shower flip-flops (please don’t forget these)

  • hair care products (comb/brush, shampoo, conditioner, hair dryer, curling iron/straightener)

  • dental products (toothbrushes, toothpaste, dental floss, mouth wash, night guards)

  • shower gel/soap

  • facial soap/scrub, facial moisturizer, astringent/toner

  • shaving cream, razors

  • tissues

  • lotion (hand and/or body)

  • any prescription medicine (locate the nearest pharmacy right away, on campus or nearby)

And These Items To Keep The Dorm Clean

  • Trash Can (Kitchen Size or Smaller)

  • Trash Bags to fit your Trash Can

  • Cleaning Supplies (Clorox Wipes-can never have enough of these, and more Clorox Wipes, paper towels, a couple of kitchen towels/cloths, any brand of all-purpose cleaner, toilet bowl cleaner if responsible for that and tub/tile cleaner)

  • Laundry Bag/Basket

  • Laundry Detergent, Clorox and Dryer Sheets (Yes, all whites together, then colors…practice at home beforehand)

Tools and Emergency Supplies 

  • batteries (mainly AA’s and some AAA’s, a few C’s and D’s)

  • duct tape (so many uses, a staple)

  • flashlight

  • tool kit (you know, hammer, screwdriver, pliers, screws, nails, etc)

  • basic sewing kit

  • first aid kit (including band-aids, ace bandages, etc

  • Neosporin

  • Emergen-C

  • Pepto Bismol

  • Imodium

  • Cough Drops

  • Hydrogen Peroxide

  • Nail Clippers, Nail File, Tweezers

  • Cotton Balls

Supplies To Take To Classes or To Prepare for Classes


Yes, you are leaving school to attend classes and to study. These may not be the most important college dorm room essentials as they relate to your living situation, but you cannot leave home without them:

  • Again, your computer or laptop

  • A desk lamp

  • Ethernet Cord

  • Extension Cord

  • Power Strip

  • Memory Sticks

  • Headphones

  • Pens/Pencils

  • Pencil Sharpener

  • Printer and Printer Paper

  • Scissors

  • Stamps

  • Stapler

  • Envelopes (various sizes)

  • Backpack

Essential Items To Stay Organized


You will be in a dorm room, not in a home with plenty of rooms. In a small space, be mindful that it can get cluttered and down right messy rather quickly. It is so important to stay organized. It is important to be mindful of your space. The following college dorm room essentials may help:


  • Bulletin Board (a must if not already provided so that you can post fliers, schedules, important announcements, etc)

  • Calendar (it may be one thing to have everything on your phone, but visually have it on a wall for reference)

  • alarm clock

  • traveling soap container/s

  • Over the Door Hooks (hang your robe, your jacket, your sweater, anything that doesn’t belong on the floor)

  • Storage Baggies (large freezer bags, these bags are great for organizing and storing anything, not just food items)

  • Paper plates, plastic ware, disposable cups

  • Under-bed boxes (if you are able to store beneath the bed, if not, see if you can create storage space with bed lifts)

  • Storage bins (various sizes, plastic ones are readily available at any discount department store, please search the websites’ ITEMS tab for purchasing suggestions)

  • Mini-fridge (check to see that it is not already provided)

  • Microwave (again, check to see that it is not already provided, many college dorm rooms already come microwave equipped)

  • Coffee-maker (K-cups, sugar, creamer, etc)

  • Bottled Water and/or Water Bottle

For Your Entertainment 

Remember your downtime. If staying in your room, have all essential items to enjoy yourself. Hanging out in your dorm room is a wise choice. But don’t forget to change it up. Have variety in your “free time” choices. Go for walks, go to the gym, visit historic sites, get to know your environment as you create a balanced life, complimenting the reason for being away from home. You were sent away to prepare for a self-sufficient life, able to cope and to survive as a young adult in a world with endless possibilities.

  • Television

  • DVD Player

  • iPod Dock

  • mp3 player

  • Laptop

  • Cell phone Charger

  • Kindle or Nook for reading enjoyment (or good old-fashioned paperback novels)

  • Favorite Snacks


So, leaving home or going off to college requires a lot of thought and a lot of referring to lists. These lists will serve you in leaving home adequately prepared to succeed. As a student, you must not only be prepared to succeed academically, but to create the perfect space conducive to learning and to relaxing. Good luck on your journey to succeeding on campus and to consequently succeeding in life. Please consider ordering and/or purchasing items on this website as they are items that compliment these extensive lists of college dorm room essentials.