College dorm essentials


A screenshot from lihn truong’s dorm room video! (Photo Credit: Isabelle Brookshire)

Isabelle Brookshire, Copy Editor & Creative Writing Editor

Hello readers! In this article, I’m going to walk you through the things you’ll need if you’re going to dorm in college. Now, you may be asking—Isabelle Brookshire, class of 2022, how are you writing this? You’re still a senior in high school… Fear not! Your beloved, most favorite writer has done her research… Many, many YouTube videos in, and I finally have enough knowledge to share with you in article form. 

I’ve watched many videos, far and wide. However, a couple stand out from the millions and millions of ‘college dorm tour vlog!!’ and ‘what you need to bring to college… NOW!’ videos. 

All my sources lie here:

And here’s a couple of fun bonus dorm move-in vlogs:

I definitely recommend watching their videos!!!




-Cheap shower sandals

-Laundry basket & detergent

-Mattress topper

-First aid kit & Emergen-C

-Command strips

-Self-heating kettle & Brita filter


-Desk lamp

-Mini Fridge


-Tide pen


-Bed risers


-Lint roller

-Tea & coffee

Here’s the ‘necessary & truly essential’ list!:

Headphones: I mean this is pretty obvious. If you like music, you’ll want this. IF you want privacy, you’ll want this. Whether it’s in your dorm room or out ‘n about around the campus, you do not want to forget your headphones! They double as a way to focus during studying and a way to spend time doing something fun!

Cheap shower sandals & a shower caddy: You’ll most definitely want these if you have a communal bathroom. I imagine most of us would rather not step on the dirty, shared shower floor of strangers… As for the shower caddy, you’ll need to bring your shampoo and conditioner somehow.

Laundry basket & detergent: Dirty clothes. I’ve heard recommendations for laundry baskets in the form of a backpack or side bag, so choose whatever is most feasible for you! Plus, detergent is an essential!

Mattress toppers: College dorms are infamous for having rock-solid mattresses. If you’d like to protect your precious back, I—rather, all my sources—deeply encourage a mattress topper. It goes on top of your mattress and provides 2-4 inches of extra foam… goodness? IDK. I’m doing the best I can. 

First aid kit & Emergen-C: This is pretty essential wherever you go. Got a papercut? Healed. Scraped your knee on the sidewalk? Saved. Feeling like you caught a cold? Emergen-suc-Cess. Accidentally laughed so hard you started falling backward and dislocated your shoulder in the process? It wouldn’t be able to relocate your shoulder for you, but it might be a comfort to look at. 

Command strips: If you’re planning on decorating at all, bring some command strips. Most dorms (from what I’ve seen) don’t allow tape, so bring some command strips instead. Actually, instead of listening to me, you should probably check the rules of your college dorm. If they don’t allow tape, you know what to do!

Self-heating kettle & Brita filter: I’ve heard raving reviews of both of these things, so if you take anything away from this article, get. these. The self-heating kettle will boil water for you in your small, little dorm and can help you make tea or coffee right from your desk! The Brita filter is a huge water filter/purifier that essentially saves your life if you don’t trust the tap water/hall water or if it’s too far. 

Onto the ‘necessary but also not really’ section of this article:

Power strips: In college, we’re guaranteed to use 15,000 cords in our rooms, whether it be our computer cord, charging cord, desk lamp, fairy lights, mini-fridge, or so on. 

Desk lamp: Speaking of desk lamps, it’d be good to have extra lighting in your room in case you’d like to do some late-night studying. Also, you never know if the lighting absolutely sucks in your dorm, so just in case. 

Mini fridge: Speaking of mini-fridges, I’ve heard really great things about having one. My only fear is that your roommate also gets one at the same time as you, but that’s why you should communicate with them before! 

Robe: If you have a communal bathroom, this will help you when you’re in transit to and from your dorm room. You could always use a towel, but a robe is easier and comfier.

Tide pen: I’m sure none of us want our favorite clothes to be forever ruined by a stain, right? Just by bringing a tide pen with you, you could be saving your future favorite pair of pants.

And lastly, the ‘not really necessary’ stuff that’s just nice to have:

Bed risers: If you like to have as much space available in your dorm as possible, get bed risers! They raise your bed (safely) so you can put stuff underneath it, think of it as extra storage space! 

Slippers: You know. Slippers. Good idea for dorms in general. 

Lint roller: There’s lint everywhere. On the floor, on your bed, on your clothes! Oh my! Whatever shall you do? Use a lint roller. 

Tea/coffee: This is associated with the self-heating kettle. If you have a kettle in your dorm, you might as well make tea or coffee! Also, if you take your tea with honey or take your coffee with creamer, it’s up to you whether you have a place to put them in your dorm. 

Of course, there will be more things you’ll need along the way, like sheets and pillows and decorations and a broom and so on, but that’s part of the process! Make sure (if you’re dorming with a roommate) to contact them before and see what shared items they’re bringing! You wouldn’t want two mini fridges, would you? Either way, this experience is exciting! If you’re going to dorm, I wish you luck and all the best memories!!!