Haven’t thought about move-in day even though it’s only about a month away? No worries. For the past few weeks, I’ve been asking orientation advisors and college friends what they think of as their dorm essentials. These items will guarantee a more successful move-in day and a smoother transition into dorm life.
For Dorm Organization/Cleaning
A lot of freshman students choose not to bring a vacuum because it can take up so much space in their dorm rooms, or because RA offices usually have shared vacuums readily available. Many dorms have built-in carpet, which can be a hassle to clean without a vacuum, so it’s always nice to have a mini, portable vacuum in hand for weekly dorm cleaning.
2. Assorted tapes
Duct and double-sided tapes come in handy during emergencies, such as wire/cord issues or wardrobe faux pas. They are also helpful with dorm decoration, if you want to spontaneously DIY with your roommate.
3. Ziplock bags (Freezer to Storage)
Ziplock bags are the chameleons of the storage accessories world. They come in a variety of sizes and can store anything and everything!
You’d be surprised how easily forgotten they are. Just put them on your list.
5. Laundry detergent/softener
It takes awhile before you’ll work out the kinks of dorm laundry. A few of my friends told me they’ve been using 5-10 oz plastic travel bottles to carry laundry detergents and softener. It’s nice to keep your cleaning supplies light when you are running to the dorm laundry room with piles of clothes.
6. Cut-anything scissors
For decorating your dorm room (or when you can’t open that bag of Doritos).
7. Sheets that actually fit
Dorm beds aren’t regular-sized beds. Be aware of stretch covers that probably won’t fit your dorm beds. You should always double-check the size of dorm bed sheets (the school usually gives you the specific size) before you buy a whole set of sheets that won’t fit.
Chargers are often forgotten because they are packed last. It’s hard to go through life without chargers, so please don’t forget.
9. Power strips that your RAs are okay with
Different residential halls will have different requirements on types of power strips students can bring. Check your dorm’s requirement and bring one!
A printer that allows you to print via Wi-Fi from your computer is perfect for the dorm. It’s—to my surprise—very cost-effective. You can find a decent Kodak printer for under $100 at Best Buy.
Planners keep life organized and easy, especially during your first few weeks in college.
For The Bathroom
12. Shower caddy
Shower caddies become surprisingly useful during your time at the dorms, according to my orientation advisor, especially when you have a community bath situation. Even if you have a private bathroom, it’s always nice to have all of your toiletries organized and ready when you shower.
13. Shower shoes
It’s easy to forget shower shoes when you have a million other things on your packing list. When you have a community bath at your dorm, you should DEFINITELY remember to bring shower shoes.
14. Toiletries/make-up bag
You should never over-pack “the bag”, but you shouldn’t forget your favorites and basics. Sunscreen, lip balm, soap are the most common yet forgettable ones. Bring a few beauty products that you’ve used and trusted for years—Chances are that you won’t have the time or energy to shop during your first few days.
15. Wallet and important documents
Don’t wait until you need them to realize you’ve forgotten to bring your credit cards, insurance information, official IDs, etc.
16. First-aid kit
It’s not hard for freshmen to get sick during their first months of college due to stress and weird sleep schedules. Many of my friends wish they brought First-Aid kits with Band-Aids, hand sanitizers, wipes, pads, cold medicine (and any other medicine you might need).
For The Stomach
17. Water filter
A visit to my college friend (Hi, Lala!)’s dorm reminded me how useful water filters are. They are affordable and convenient, providing you with tasty, non-tap water in under a minute.
18. Water bottle
No matter how many free water bottles you think you will get in your freshman year, it’s always safe to bring a trust-worthy water bottle from home. Free stuff is exciting; leaky water bottles are not.
19. Electric tea kettle
An electric tea kettle resolves the hot water crisis at dorms. If you are a consistent tea drinker or a big fan of quick meals, you should definitely invest in anelectric tea kettle.
20. Tupperware/basic utensils
Even if you are on your school’s meal plan, you should always bring a few Tupperware/ microwavable cookware and some trusty utensils. Most dorms have shared kitchens, so you might need your own cookware if you plan on trying those mug recipes from Pinterest.