There are a ton of things that you will need to start your first year living on college campus, so to make it easier to separate the necessities from the optional, here’s a post of things that (I feel like) are necessary for your first year living on campus.
Before you buy anything on this list, make sure that you know if your campus allows them. For example, some campuses allow coffee pots while others have a strict policy against them.
Lamps & Lighting
Dorms are notorious for bad lighting and it really isn’t all that false. I’m lucky enough to have two lights in my dorm room (which is really weird for a single), but in my first dorm room, I only had one light for a large square box-type room (It didn’t help that my bed was lofted and all my stuff was under the bed). I bought this lamp for the side of my bed (warning: It’s really-really bright) and this light for my desk (not as bright, but I like it for when my bf or my roommate was sleeping.
Bedding & Comfort
Dorms aren’t just known for bad lighting. The beds are usually pretty hard (the ones for my campus are extra firm like cardboard and covered in plastic). My parents bought me this mattress pad from Bed, Bath, & Beyond. If you wait until right before school starts, everything goes on sale, so save yourself some money and wait! They bought it at 40% off.
Also don’t forget your comforters, sheet sets, and pillows. If you already have these from home, don’t fret about getting new ones! I actually got a Duvet Cover to cover up my old comforter so it would match my theme.
Speaking of comfort, CHAIRS! You will probably be given a desk chair as well as some chairs in your floor lounge(s). You will probably want something more comfy to sit in your room with, though. Kohl’s currently has sales on Butterfly Chairs, Dish Chairs, and tons of other chairs. (Note: The bungee cord chairs look cool, but they really hurt your bottom and they break fairly easily).
Dorm room usually have very little storage. I would suggest going to visit your college dorm to see how much storage exactly you have. I ended up getting a fairly large closet with two shelves, a lock box, and 3 more shelves on the ground. In addition to all that, I also got a dresser and a side-table. I know some people, however, that just have a closet and a dresser! You’ll probably want some type of closet storage, plastic storage bins, and/or some shelves. Make sure they all fit though. I had a friend bring this whole shelving unit to campus only to send it home with his parents a week later. You might also like to bring along some baskets and/or decorative storage bins to place on the shelves.
I personally also love to have a monitor stand in my dorm room. My grandfather made me one, but you can also find a ton online. I mainly use mine to put letters or homework under. I also put my keyboard under there if I have little or no space for it.
Bath & Beauty
First and foremost: Bring anything you think you’ll need. Straighteners, curlers, etc… If you can find out how to curl your hair with a straightener, only bring the straighter. Dorm rooms get messy super fast, so don’t try to bring everything. I can’t tell you how many days though that I thought “I’m going to put my hair up today” and then left it down because I had no hairspray to keep fly-aways down.
Shower shoes! You will need these. I got mine at 5 Below for $2, so they’re not expensive at all. You won’t want to be walking around in the bathrooms barefoot though, trust me.
Shower Caddies are sooooo helpful. You’ll want to take everything you need to the shower in one trip, so you’ll need some help. These handy little things usually have compartments for numerous things; sometimes they even have little toothbrush holders! Make sure you get a portable one, however. If you will be sharing your bathroom with only a few people in a cluster, you guys may also just decide to leave your stuff in the shower. If you’re going to be living on a floor with 30+ people, however, you’re going to need a portable one.
Robes and Towels… I’d say if you don’t like robes, don’t bring one. I got mine from my grandma and I have never used it. I usually just bring my pajamas into the shower room with me and get dressed after I shower. Towels though you’ll need, don’t be silly.
You’ll need a laundry basket as well as your choice of soap & fabric softener. Learn to do laundry at home, if you don’t already know. It will make it easier for later on when you have to do your first load of laundry and have no idea what to do. You may also want some kind of stain remover in case you or a friend get sick or spill something on your clothing/bedding
If you haven’t already, I highly recommend the pod soaps for the washer. They make it so much easier and all you have to do is toss the pod into the washer and let it go. Dryer sheets are also a favorite.
Food & Dining
You may or may not get a microwave on your campus. If you do need one though, wait for them to go on sale and then get one from your local supermarket. You’ll probably also want some kind of coffee maker or coffee pot, so look into those as well!
You’ll probably want to eat in your dorm room. Whether it’s reheating pizza or making ramen or even making your own dorm-room-cuisine, you’ll need silverware. I got all of my dishes at different points in time, but I had a friend buy this set from Kohl’s and they love it. I bought this set of forks/spoons/knives from Walmart a few years back as well. (They go on sale, don’t worry). You’ll also want to get some cheap napkins.
If you have a bathroom that you have to clean, buy some bathroom cleaner. If you have just your dorm room to keep clean however, you don’t need that. If you have carpet floor, you may want to buy a small vacuum cleaner. If you have tile, you’ll probably want a cheap broom. Some dorms will already have these available to you, but you may also have some floor mates that hog all of the cleaning supplies the entire year. We lost our bucket at the beginning of the year and didn’t find it again until the guy moved out.
It’s also a good idea to get some floor cleaner if you have tile. I also invested in buying a small mop since I had friends in my room to drink and play Cards Against Humanity quite often.
Electronics & Entertainment
You’ll get bored. Make sure to have either a laptop or a desktop with you for when you get bored or have homework to do (I have both). You can also bring a TV and video game consoles with you as well. If you like to listen to music, a good set of speakers may also be what you need. Just be considerate of others on your floor and don’t get in trouble. Some CAs or RAs will write you up if your music is too loud at unreasonable hours.
Don’t forget your chargers! I forgot my laptop charger and had to go laptop-less for a week.
You will probably also want some kind of fan and alarm clock. You can get these pretty much anywhere. I usually use my phone for my alarm clock though. Way cheaper!
If you have any questions at all, you can message me anytime! I won’t leave any questions unasked :) Please feel free to add your own as well if you feel like I have missed anything!