Moving into the dorms as a college freshman can be intimidating before you get there. Most freshman have never lived on their own and have never had to figure out how adulting works. Nobody knows what they’re doing and it is hard to have any guidance on what you need to know. I am here to help college freshman create a functional and cute dorm room that will feel like a home away from home. Here are 10 dorm essentials every college freshman needs to have when they move into their dorm.
1. Space saving hangers
The closet space in the dorms can be extremely limited. If you have more than three bulky sweaters you’re screwed. Safe saving hangers are a college life saver and definitely a one of the best dorm essentials. When I moved into college I brought all of my clothes on regular bulky hangers and fit about a quarter of my clothes. If you’re like me and can’t sacrifice a single article of clothing, go to Walmart or literally any store that sells hangers and buy the space saving hangers. These are a fashionista’s best friend and they helped me fit all of my clothes in my closet. I will never buy a regular hanger again after this discovery.
2. Extra chairs
Chairs made the dorm essentials list because they can help you make friends. Making friends in college can be really hard sometimes! It can feel really lonely during your first few weeks at schools, so adding some extra seating to your room can make the dorm feel welcoming. Pro tip: keep your door propped open, so people feel like they can come say hi without having to awkwardly knock. Then if you have extra chairs you can invite them to stay and hangout and they will do it because they’ll have somewhere to sit! A lot of people loft their bed and keep a chair or two under there. If this isn’t for you, you can also just keep folding lawn chairs under your bed to pull out when people come over. Get creative with safe saving and you will have a great place for people to hangout.
A microwave is a one of the main dorm essentials. Most freshman live off of Ramen Noodles and leftovers, which requires a microwave. Even if you have a communal microwave in your dorm, just buy your own. Nobody will ever clean the communal microwave and it will always have a weird smell that seems familiar, but nobody quite knows what it is. You will also never have to wait in line to use the microwave. There are just too many things that are really great about having a microwave to not have one. There are plenty of options that aren’t very expensive and it is very much worth the investment for this must have item on the dorm essentials list.
4. Mini fridge
Unless you’re into moldy room temperature food, invest in a mini fridge. I promise you there will be plenty of late nights where you’re studying or partying after the dining halls close. Coming home at 2 a.m. starving is never fun, so keep a mini fridge stocked with some late night snacks. This is at the top of my the list for dorm essentials in my opinion.
5. Shower caddy
This is one of the dorm essentials to have even if you don’t have a communal shower. If you have a communal shower you definitely need to have one of them. Unless you’re down to carry your shampoo, conditioner, body wash, razor, shaving cream, exfoliant, loofa, toothpaste, and toothbrush while walking down the co-ed dorm in just a towel, buy the shower caddy. Limit your possibility of having a towel malfunction and store everything in one little caddy. It is also a great organizer to have in your dorm room. If you don’t have a communal shower, you should still get one so you can store things in your room instead of the inevitably tiny bathroom.
6. Mattress pad
Unless you live in the most boujee dorm ever, there is no way your dorm room mattress will be anything other than a lumpy plastic hunk of plastic. If you ever want to have a good nights sleep, this is one of the dorm essentials. Buy it now. Thank me later.
There will be plenty of times when your roommate is asleep and you need to some late night cramming for your huge test the next day. Don’t be that really annoying roommate that keeps the lights on and get a personal lamp. You can also lend your roommate the lamp when they need to study, so it is a win win for everyone! This is one of the most stress preventive dorm essentials.
8. Organization dorm essentials
Your dorm will be tiny and you will have more things than you have storage. You need to get creative and fine ways to save space. Buying desk organizers or a rolling cart can save your room from being a total mess. Dorms do not have enough square footage to simply throw everything on the floor. Make sure all of your things have a place they belong. Your roommate will thank you.
This is another one of those classic make sure your roommate doesn’t secretly hate you preventing dorm essentials. Nothing is more annoying as a freshman than when you are trying to study and your roommate is watching The Office on max volume. Just use headphones. If your roommate wanted to watch The Office, they would probably be watching it. Do everyone a favor and keep the volume low and plugged in.
10. Disco ball
You don’t technically need this one, but it will definitely guarantee that you will have the coolest dorm room on your floor. I hope this gif inspires you to order one immediately.
What could you not live without in your dorm? Let us know.
My name is Kayleigh Hughes and I am a senior at the University of Arkansas majoring in Communication. I'm just a 20-something college student trying to figure everything out like everybody else. I love to travel, sing, and adventure. I'm just here trying to do everything that makes me happy.