Back To School: Dorm Room Must Haves

By Lisa Poirier

(PCM) Packing for college can be a very hectic time for students and parents and you’re bound to forget something in all the chaos. Follow the list below for a comprehensive list of “must-haves” for your new dorm room!

1. Alarm Clock. You may think the alarm on your phone will be just fine, but the one time you forget to charge it or you lose it at a party, will be the time you have to make sure you’re up at 7:00 AM for your final.

2. Bedding. Double check the size of your bed before getting to school. Many colleges use Twin X-Long beds that require special sized sheets. It’s always a good idea to have an extra set of sheets so that you can wash one set and have one on the bed. Make sure to pack a comforter or bedspread and maybe an extra blanket or two.

3. Carpet/Throw rug. Is your floor wooden or cement? There is nothing less inviting than bare feet on a cold floor in the morning. One way to fix it is by bringing an area rug or carpet. Plus, it will be a great way to add some color and homey feel to your room.

4. Mini-Fridge/Micro-Fridge. You will need a place to keep frozen meals and drinks cold, as well as heat them. You can buy your mini-fridge and microwave or the handy micro-fridge, which has a microwave built on top of the fridge. Make sure whatever you buy fits the electrical requirements of your dorm. Some schools have a service where you can rent a micro-fridge or mini-fridge from them and have it delivered to your room.

5. Computer. This seems like a real no-brainer, but make sure the computer you are bringing fits all of your needs. Does it have enough space for all of your music, plus all of the paper’s you will be writing and readings you will be downloading? Do you want to take your computer to class to take notes? Consider everything you will need your computer for before shelling out the money for one that won’t work for you.

6. Dishes and Silverware. You won’t spend all of your time eating at the dining hall. You’ll need some plates and silverware for the ramen noodles and frozen meals you’ll be eating at 3am some nights. Buying real plates instead of plastic ones are not only green, but they’ll save you money in the long run. You can buy them at the dollar store or similar stores.

7. Fan. One of the first things you should do is find out if you have air conditioning in your dorm. Nothing is worse than being stuck in a hot room without any flowing air!

8. Hangers. There will not be enough room in your dresser. I repeat there will not be enough room in your dresser. Hangers are a must, especially for nicer clothes.

9. Iron/Ironing board. There is a good chance that you will need to get dressed up at some point during the year and when you pull out the wrinkled shirt from the bottom of your closet, you’ll need it ironed. Some schools have an iron you can use, but it will be much easier if you have your own.

10. Laundry bag/Laundry detergent/ Rolls of quarters. At college you have to do your own laundry. Shocker. Make sure you have a bag or hamper to carry your clothes to the laundry facility. Also, you have to bring your own laundry detergent and fabric softener. Find out if you will need quarters to operate the laundry machines. Some colleges just require you to use your ID, but others still need the coins.

11. Medicine. Make sure to pack all of your prescription medicine, as well as some Advil or Tylenol. You never know what will happen at school and when you’re away from home you often forget that you don’t have the medicine on hand as soon as a headaches hits. Bring an entire medicine box with cold remedies, a thermometer, throat lozenges, and a stomach settler at the least.

12. School Supplies. Don’t forget to pack notebooks (spiral and composition), pens, pencils, binders, stapler, printer paper…everything else you might need to do your homework. You can buy this from the school store, but they are usually more expensive there, so buying them from your local office supply store will be cheaper.

13. Sewing Kit. It surprised me how much I used my sewing kit at school this year. As a poor college student, you get crafty and start to repair the big rips in your jeans or the hem on the shirt yourself.

14. Shower Caddy. Unless you have a private bathroom, bring a shower caddy to carry around everything you need for the bathroom.

15. Toiletries. Pack your shampoo, conditioner, face wash, toothpaste, toothbrush, mouthwash, and everything else you need for when you’re in the bathroom and getting ready. I suggest buying a lot of this in bulk because most of it doesn’t go bad and you will always need it.

16. Posters/Pictures. One of the best parts of your room will be your ability to hang up just about anything you want. Bring posters and pictures that express who you are and how you want your room to feel. Check the school rules on what to use to hang up posters on walls and make sure you have what you need.

17. Flip Flops. These aren’t just for summertime anymore! Have a pair to wear in the shower to keep from catching anything.

18. Lamps. Many dorm rooms don’t have overhead lighting, so a few standing lamps would be a great thing to consider packing.

19. Bathrobe. Nothing would be worse than being caught in your towel in the hallway, or even locked out of your room, so make sure to bring a bathrobe for your trips to and from the shower.

20. Printer. Some colleges have printers you can use for free or you have credit through the school, but usually it isn’t enough. Your own printer will come in handy for when you’re up late writing an essay and the printing center isn’t open.

21. Hooks. Having a few extra hooks to attach to the walls will be more useful than you realize. They’re a great place to hang up towels or other wet articles of clothing.

22. White Board. Bring a whiteboard to hang on your door so that you can leave messages and people can leave messages to you.

23. Mattress Pad. The mattresses at school aren’t usually very comfortable and some schools provide you with a mattress pad, but bringing your own is always a good idea. Double check what size you’ll need though!

24. Contacts and Glasses. If you wear contacts or glasses have extra contacts and extra cleaning solution packed so that you don’t lose a contact and have nothing to replace it with.

25. Hair Dryer. A hair dryer is important to have for those days you are running late or are getting ready to go out in a hurry. Don’t forget hair brushes, combs, and other hair accessories as well.

26. Under the bed storage containers. Face it. Your dorm room will be small. The best place to store everything will be under your bed. Long, clear, plastic containers are perfect for storing extra items, shoes, and sweaters.

27. Dish Soap/Sponges. You will not have a dishwasher at school, but you will have a kitchen sink, so pack dish soap and sponges for when you have to clean your dishes.

28. Cleaning Supplies. There will come a time where you are tired of living in the dust and dirt in your room, so make sure you pack paper towels and other cleaning supplies such as anti-bacterial wipes.

29. Batteries. We guarantee something you own has batteries and when you need them, you won’t have them.

30. Calculator. There will be times when you need this, even if you are an English major.

31. Cell Phone Charger. Your cell phone will be your life line at school for all things social and otherwise, so make sure you have a way of keeping it charged.

32. Calendar. You’ll want a big calendar to write down all of your assignments and engagements in one place so that you can see them all at once.

33. DVDs/Movies. Despite all the work that you’ll have, there will be down time where you’ll want to relax and watch a movie.

34. Personal Choice Reading. When you aren’t swamped with reading from class, and assuming you like to read, bring some books to read that interest you. Some magazines are always great to read outside on a nice day too.

35. Extra light bulbs. You’ll need extra light bulbs for your lamp and depending on the kind of lighting the school provides you with, you might need to replace those bulbs also.

36. Water Bottle /Brita Pitcher. The water in the dining halls at school will be fine, but back in your dorm it could taste a little funky. A Brita pitcher and a water bottle to carry around your filtered water will be more helpful than you realize.

37. USB. Working on group projects and doing presentations is just part of college. A USB will help to transfer your presentations and papers to other computers.

38. TV./DVD./Gaming System. Relaxation will be key to not being too stressed out about your workload. Being able to kick back, watch your favorite television shows and movies or play a video game will allow you to distress, and even have some friends over to socialize.

39. First Aid Kit. Along with medicine, having some extra band aids, antibacterial cream, and an ice pack will be important for keeping you safe at school. Yes, the school health center has these things, but when you cut yourself shaving or stub your toe, it is easier to have this stuff in your own room.

40. Most colleges say no toasters, hot plates, candles, and spider lamps. Make your year easier with your RA and read the rules before you go to school so there aren’t any disappointments come move-in day.

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