Top College Dorm Essentials

College is just around the corner so if you haven’t started your back-to-school or back-to-dorm shopping, now is the time to get a jump on shopping for your college dorm essentials! Shopping for your college dorm or apartment can be overwhelming. Your focus should be on your course load and classes when you first come to college. Having a college dorm checklist can significantly take away any stress around shopping.

You want to make sure you get everything you need and be prepared for the semester. Dorm essentials can range from school supplies to bath towels. Here’s a list of dorm essentials broken down by category to help you shop smarter. (And download your printable college dorm essentials list here).


It’s important to make your dorm room bed feel as comfortable as possible. Though the beds are normally smaller, it is possible to get a good night’s sleep. Creating a nice place to sleep and lounge every day is important. When buying bedding for college dorm rooms, make sure you know the actual size of the bed. Dorm room beds are often twin XLs but some can be twins or even full beds. Double check with your college so 

your bedding fits perfectly on your dorm room bed. Here’s our list for a comfy bed.

  • Sheets
  • Duvet
  • Duvet cover
  • Pillows
  • Throw blanket
  • Mattress topper

Check out top bedding options for your dorm room.


Having the right bathroom products can upgrade your college dorm life. When you have the products you like to use at home, you’ll feel more like yourself. Whether you have a communal bathroom or a private one, it’s important to keep track of your bathroom things. A shower caddy is the number one essential for your bathroom at a college dorm so students will easily be able to access all their bathroom needs at once. Here’s our list of bathroom essentials for your college dorm room.

  • dorm room items


  • Conditioner
  • Soap
  • Shower caddy
  • Washcloth
  • Towels
  • Razors
  • Shower shoes
  • Bathmat
  • Hand soap
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Skincare regimen
  • Toilet paper
  • Deodorant
  • Lotion
  • Nail clippers
  • Tweezers
  • First Aid kit

School Supplies

Your school supplies for college will vary because of your course load. Some college students only need a notebook for their classes while other students need more. Check your class syllabi to see which school supplies you’ll need most. Being prepared with the right supplies will eliminate panic when you need something later on in the semester. You don’t want to have to buy overpriced supplies at the bookstore because you didn’t have anything with you. Here’s our list of school supplies.

  • Pens
  • Pencils
  • Batteries
  • Notebook
  • Sticky notes
  • Folders
  • Index cards
  • School bag
  • Flash drive
  • Calculator
  • Highlighters

Check out our full supply list and where to get all the supplies you need.


Depending on the climate where your college is, you’ll want to pack for the weather. During the fall semester, it’s smart to pack for colder weather, and during the spring semester, you’ll want to pack for warmer weather. You usually don’t have much space in your dorm room closet so you don’t want to bring too many clothes. Here’s our list of clothes to bring.

  • Jackets/sweaters
  • Long sleeve shirts
  • Short sleeve shirts
  • Tank tops
  • Shorts
  • Jeans
  • Sweatpants
  • Socks
  • Undergarments
  • Shoes


Your college may have rules on the type of kitchen appliances and food you can have in your dorm room. It’s important to know the rules before buying any kitchen supplies or food. This essentials list may also vary if you have a dorm kitchen on your floor or if you have a dining plan. Here are our kitchen and food essentials for your dorm room.

  • Snacks
  • Condiments
  • Mini fridge
  • Water filter
  • Sandwich bags
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Tupperware
  • Utensils
  • Plates
  • Bowls
  • Cups


Keeping your dorm room clean is important and keeps your space hygienic. You’ll want to treat the space with respect so you’ll want to have the right supplies to clean it. If your college has cleaners that come to your dorms frequently, this may not be as essential for you. If not, here is our cleaning essentials list for your dorm room.

  • Disinfectant wipes
  • Toilet brush
  • Sponges
  • Disinfectant spray
  • Laundry detergent
  • Broom and dustpan
  • Trash can
  • Trash bags
  • Paper towels
  • Stain remover


For the things that don’t really go in a category but are still essential to dorm room life, this is the right list. These miscellaneous items can help you stay organized in your dorm room throughout the college semester.

  • Hangers
  • Storage bins
  • Mirror
  • Futon
  • Shoe organizer
  • Extension cord
  • Fan
  • Lamps
  • Calendar/board
  • Command hooks


There are so many possibilities for decorating your dorm room. You can do chic, modern, or even boho. The items you need for your decorations vary so it’s important to know which style you like best. We suggest around three to 5 pieces of decor to bring your touch of style to it.

When you’re properly prepared with dorm room essentials, you set yourself up for a successful school year. College students need to feel at home in their dorm rooms so they can study easily and not be stressed out in their environment. With this list of college dorm room essentials, you’ll have everything you need from snacks to shower shoes.