An Exhaustive List of Dorm Essentials

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Student Lifehacks
student in a dorm room

If you are planning to begin your new life chapter by going to college in September, you should be already thinking about a list of dorm necessities that will make your university life comfortable and transition from home barely noticeable. By thinking about the things you might need in the long run at university, you will make your college time productive and you will be able to save some money while also being sustainable.

Below we have created an exhaustive List of Dorm Essentials by taking into account the needs of a student at an average university where you are going to share your room with a roommate, and where you will have a bed with a mattress, a desk with a chair, a closet, a shared bathroom, and a common kitchen. It is always a good idea to check with your roommate about the things he or she is also going to bring on campus to avoid duplicates (like a mini-fridge or a coffee maker, for example) and to save valuable space. It is also worth verifying with your dorm about what things they will not let you install in your room to make sure you avoid penalties at the end of the year. The List has subcategories of things so that you orient yourself easier among all the stuff you need to pack.

Stuff for Studies

This is one of the most important sections in your list and it is worth noting down such things as cables or a plug adapter if you are considering doing an exchange program abroad.

  1. Tech
    • Laptop and/or tablet + case for them
    • HDMI port for your PowerPoint presentations (connection to the school computer)
    • Headphones or microphone+speakers
    • Surge protector
    • A4 printer  – check! with your roommate (no need for two)
    • Printer cartridges (on campus they are always expensive or finished)
    • Printer paper
    • Plastic boxes for organizing your stuff
  2. School Basics
    • Backpack
    • Wheeled Cabin Bag (for weekend traveling)
    • Notepads and folders
    • Office stationery (pens, pencils, tipp-ex, highlighter pens, etc.)
    • Textbooks (you can buy or rent them cheaply on BooksRun)

Stuff for Cooking

cooking essentials for the dorm
Designed by valeria_aksakova / Freepik

Although there are always numerous cafes and fast-food chain restaurants available on any campus, it is always good to have the option of preparing a healthy dinner yourself at a fraction of the cost! Moreover, by having some necessary kitchen essentials, you can easily invite friends for dinner or prepare yourself a treat when you are doing an all-nighter!

To turn a dorm room into your new home you will need:

  • Dishware (plastic sets and ceramic cups/dishes)
  • Coffee maker (check! with your roommate and  your dorm)
  • Electric kettle
  • Toaster/microwave  (check! with your roommate and your dorm)
  • Mini-fridge (check! with your roommate and your dorm)
  • Plastic bags, foil, cling film (always handy)
  • Bag clips
  • Basic kitchen tools: small cutting board, peeler, paring knife, can opener, colander, spatula, tongs, pot holders, dish scrubby
  • Bulk mineral water (a pack of 6 often costs as much as 2 separate bottles)
  • Cookbooks


Good sleep is what makes a good student! To ensure you continue having sweet dreams even when you move on campus, you need to take some of the bedding essentials with you. It would be useful to check with your dorm if they provide covers and pillows for their students. In this case, your life is much easier and you can take only a couple of pillowcases and sheets. We should acknowledge that normally that is not the case so you should be prepared to bring the following with you:

  • Sets of sheets/pillowcases
  • Extra blankets (for you friends or when it is cold)
  • Pillows
  • Duvet covers
  • Bath/hand/dish towels
  • Anti-bedbug spray

Stuff for Cleaning/Laundry

An Exhaustive List of Dorm Essentials 1
Designed by Freepik

Whether you plan on spending time on your own in your room or inviting your friends to stay over, you need to make sure your room is tidy and clean. To make this happen, you should check with your dorm if there is a vacuum cleaner to be borrowed (normally there is). You might find it useful to bring the following with you:

  • Basic cleaning products: surface cleaner, glass cleaner
  • Cleaning cloths and rags, dishwashing gloves
  • Rubbish bin and rubbish bags
  • Iron
  • Washing liquid, fabric softener, stain remover
  • Laundry hanging rack
  • Hangers
  • Laundry Basket
  • Sewing Kit

Stuff for Entertainment

We are happy if you are planning on working hard during the semester, but still it might be worth agitating your parents for purchasing your Netflix or Amazon video subscription service. This might help you relax in the evening and present an occasion to invite your friends to watch a new series together at your place. You might also consider bringing a flat screen TV on campus to turn your room into a home cinema !

Personal Comfort and Care

For your productive studies and stable health it is important to ensure you have decent lighting all the time when you are reading something. We advise you to spend some money on a good table lamp which can be adapted to suit the height and direction of light when needed. You might also need:

  • Fan
  • Space Heater
  • Full height mirror (check! with your roommate or your dorm)
  • Chair Pads

In terms of your personal care consider the following toiletries: toothbrush, deodorant, shampoo/conditioner/hair mask, razor, soap, shaving cream, lotions, creams, dental floss, comb brush, hair dryer and other hair appliances, flip-flops for the shower.

Security & Safety

You never know when you hurt yourself or when the power will go out in your dorm. You need to make sure you take the following items together with you:

  • First Aid Kit
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Basic medicines that do not require prescriptions: painkillers, vitamins, cold/flu medicines
  • Flashlight
  • Basic Tool Kit: screwdrivers, hammer, pliers, adjustable spanner
  • Locks: for a bike, for your suitcase
  • Weather protection: umbrella, sunglasses, sunscreen, rain boots, gloves

In the beginning, it might look like you are going on around the world tour but trust us: these things will simplify your new life at college and guarantee happy and productive times there! It is definitely worth investing a bit of effort now, especially when you can get a hand from all your family!

Iliana K