Getting ready for college? If so, here is a breakdown of some dorm room essentials you will need and why. Although it has been more years than I would like to admit, it seriously feels like last week that I was not only packing up my car, but my parent’s truck to start my first year of college. It can get rather stressful awfully quickly about what to bring or what not to bring. Should I pack this? Do you think my roommate will pack that as well? However, don’t forget about space. My college dorm room felt like a postage stamp compared to my bedroom at home. So be sure to ask yourself this question as you pack up your belongings, "how will I fit all this into my room?"

Call your roommate ahead of time if possible

Packed CarCredit: iStockPhoto

One of the biggest pieces of advice I can offer is this. If you are able to touch base with your roommate before you head off to college, do so. Besides making sure that you are not rooming up with a person who will drive you up a wall, you will want to see what items they are packing with them as not to double up on something.  For example, I was thinking of heading out to the store to purchase a mini-fridge.  Had I not contacted my roommate before doing so, I would not have found out that he already had one and I would have wasted valuable time and money in getting one. Last but not least, you want to make sure that your roommate is comfortable with sharing their items.  The last thing you want to see is your roommate having a melt down because you used their radio without prior permission.

What to bring and why

Bedroom items

dorm roomCredit: iStockPhoto

What should you pack for your bedroom?  Listed below are the nine most popular items that you should have with you for your dorm.   

1.  Alarm Clock.  If you don’t have a smart phone, then you need something to get you up for those early morning classes after a long night of cramming for an exam.

2.  Bed Linens.   Comforter, sheets, pillow cases, etc. and always have two sets with you. Having two sets will help you with the frequency of laundry that you will need to do. However the thing to keep in mind with bed linens is the size of the dorm room beds. Are the beds a regular twin or extra-long twin? If you can, call ahead and find out that answer to save yourself a potential headache.

3.  Hangers.  My college dorm and the dorms of my friends at various colleges did not provide one single hanger in the closets.  So be sure to have plenty of extras with you. 

4.  Laptop computer.   Most colleges do have a computer lab for the students to use, but having your own laptop is a huge asset and advantage to you.  You will be able to write your papers at all hours and be able to work on them wherever you like. 

5.  Electronics.  A DVD player and television are a must.  Be sure to take my advice and touch base with your roommate about these items. You could definitely save yourself some money and packing space if your roommate already has these covered.

6.  Laundry basket.  If you plan on doing any laundry on campus or bringing any laundry home with you, you need a way to carry it all. 

7.  Clear storage boxes.  These are another great item to bring with you because they will help you out greatly with organizing and with the lack of space that you will have to keep it all. The more items you can store away under your bed but be able to find easily is a major plus.

8.  Bed raisers.  If you have not seem these before, they are a simple and great item to bring with you.  Bed raisers are wooden or hard plastic pegs that go under each leg of your bed frame and raise it up 6 inches or more.  This may not seem like a lot, but some beds are really low to the ground and you may want your bed a bit higher for comfort.  Also, these bed raisers are perfect for helping you organize and store a few more items under the bed. 

9.  Decorations.  I don't know what the inside of your dorm room looks like, but if it was anything like mine, it was plain white walls.  So if you want to add a little creativity to your room, be sure to pack some posters, pictures, etc.  However keep in mind that most dorms have a monthly or bi-weekly inspection.  With that being said, do not pack or hang anything that is off color or crude.

What to bring and why



What should you pack for the bathroom? There are three major items that you will want to make sure that you have.

1. Bathroom towels.  Most dorms do not provide you with towels.  However if they do, do not expect them to be any thing great.

2.  Shower tote.  A shower tote will make it so much easier for you to bring your shampoo, conditioner, soap, etc. with you to the shower.

3.  Flip flops.  If you are in a dorm that has a community bathroom, then flip flops or shower shoes are a must. For the sake of your health and hygiene, you do not want to go bare foot and stand in whatever is potentially on that shower floor.

What to bring and why

Personal items and documents

Besides your bedroom and bathroom essentials, there are two other big items that you will need to have with you.   

1.  Medications.  If you take any kind of medications, you will want to bring enough with you until you are able to go home and refill them. If you are unable to bring enough medications with you, then you definitely want to make sure that you have access to a nearby pharmacy either on or off campus to refill your prescription.

2.  Important documents. A driver’s license, state ID and a copy of your birth certificate are all great things to have with you. If you plan on having a part time job while studying, then you will need to make sure that you have all your important documents to fill out the necessary forms.

Shower Tote

Bed Raisers

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