30+ Things You’ll Wish You Brought to College | Easy Dorm Room Essentials

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This post is all about useful items that you’ll wish you brought to college once you get there.

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This post is all about things that you’ll wish you brought to college when you first started. These are the unusual items that you find would have been helpful to have, but you know you’ll need them in the future.

No matter how many college packing lists you consult, there will probably always be at least one or two items that you’ll wish you had packed to bring along to college.

Sometimes you won’t know that you needed an item until you’ve had time to settle in to dorm life. Then you need an item, and you can’t find someone to borrow it from.

Fortunately, you can always pick things up as you go. Finding out that you need something is a good time to remind your parents that college students love to receive care packages featuring items that they want and need.

This post is all about things that you’ll wish you brought to college—and why.

Here is a list of things that you’ll wish you brought—or wish you brought more of—to college.


You can find computer printers and other equipment all over campus, but when it’s late at night, raining, or every computer lab is filled to maximum capacity or the printer isn’t working, it’s great to have your own printer in the privacy of your own dorm room. Keep plenty of printer paper on hand, especially during mid-terms and finals, and worry less about being at the mercy of a public printer.

Flash drives

Flash drives give you more space to store important files, videos, and photos, helping to save storage space on your other devices. They also make it easier to share files with family and friends.

Cell phone stick-on wallet

A detachable wallet makes it easy to store a few cards on the back of a cell phone when you need to run errands, but you want to have fewer things to keep up with while you’re on the go.

Noise-cancelling headphones

Noise-cancelling headphones can make it possible to study in your dorm room, in the coffee shop, or whenever you need to concentrate while noise is happening around you.

Laptop lock

A laptop lock may provide a way to help secure your laptop when you have to leave your dorm room door unlocked or open, or you want to study in open spaces, like the library or a cafeteria.

HDMI cord

You’ll need this if you want to attach your laptop to a TV to watch a movie or streaming program on a big screen. Perfect for watching your favorite shows with friends in a common area or living room.

Portable charger

Speaking of studying outside the dorm room, a portable charger makes it possible to charge your laptop or other electronics when you are away from your desk or when other charging stations or outlets are in use. Look for a portable charger that allows you to charge your laptop, phone, and other electronic gear that you use the most.

Post-It Notes

Post-It Notes are a must have for marking pages while you studying, writing reminders, and leaving notes for friends. Bright colors make it easier to find notes and pages that you are looking for.


It’s college, so there is always a party going on somewhere. Make sure to have a few clothes that you can wear to a theme party, whether it’s a Hawaiian shirt, a cowboy hat, an athletic jersey, or an extra bed sheet to use for a toga.

Going-out clothes

College is all about being social. You never know when your friends will want to go out, or when it’s time to go to a fancy restaurant to celebrate someone’s birthday. Have a nice outfit ready to wear when it’s time to go out to celebrate a special occasion.

Towel wrap

Communal showers are a fact of life for many students, and few people like juggling a shower caddy and towels while sneaking down the hall to take a shower. While a big, plush bathrobe is awesome, it can be difficult to find a place to hang it while you’re in the shower. Enter the towel wrap—a genius idea that allows you to wear your towel hands free so that you can worry about other things, like remembering to bring your razor or running into your crush early in the morning.

Mesh shower caddy

A mesh shower caddy is perfect for storing shower essentials, like body wash, shampoo, and conditioners, plus it can store other beauty essentials when it’s not being used for the shower. Mesh design makes it easier for the bag to dry once you’re out of the shower.

Shower sandals

You can never have enough pairs of flip flops or shower sandals when living in a communal shower situation. These shower shoes provide height, which helps to keep your feet more elevated and thus further away from the shower floor and that mysterious hair ball that always seems to pop up when you’re in a hurry.

Extra towels

It’s always good to have an extra supply of towels handy, just in case you don’t get to your laundry when you expect to.

Socks and underwear

Similar to having extra towels, it’s always good to have a stash of clean socks and underwear in your room.


Somehow your favorite sweatshirts tend to disappear at college. Whether your college BFF borrows them or whether some other type of covert action takes place to separate you from your favorite sweatshirt, we recommend having a few favorite sweatshirts on hand, so that when you loose one, you’re not out of luck when it’s time to throw on your favorite sweatshirt for studying or hanging out.

Fuzzy slippers

Fuzzy slippers can help keep your feet warm when you live in a dorm with tile floors. Plus, they look good and everyone will wonder where you got them.

Plush mattress topper

A mattress topper can be a game-changer when it comes to making your dorm bed more comfortable to sleep on.

Extra sheet sets

Keeping more than one sheet set on hand can make it easier to change bed linen in-between laundry days. Plus, fresh bed linen helps some people sleep better.

Plush blankets

It can get really cold in a dorm room during winter. Adding layers to your bed can make for a more comfortable sleep experience and help to keep you warmer.


College dorm rooms are small and space is precious. But if you plan to have friends or family visit, then having a futon can be a good place to entertain and have people sleep. It provides a seating area, plus it’s more comfortable to sleep on a futon than on a cold, hard dorm room floor. This is one of those big items that you may want to coordinate having with a roommate.

Backrest lounger pillow

Helps make leaning against a wall more comfortable if you are reading or studying while sitting on your bed. Plus, it makes a great way to display your favorite throw pillow while you are doing other things.

Under-the-bed storage containers

Under-the-bed storage containers are a great space-saver when it comes to small space living. Use under-the-bed storage to store blankets, pillows, clothing, and other goods.

Bedside tray

A bedside tray table can be helpful for storing small items while you rest or lounge on the bed.


Bring photos of family and friends (including your pets) to remind you of home and to reminisce when you get homesick. A photo collage or photo grid is a great way to share aspects of your life with your new friends and acquaintances at college, and it can be a great way to get to know people.

String lights

String lights are one of the most common features of many college dorm rooms. Use a set of LED string lights to brighten up your room and add style to your living space.

Laptop lap desk

Laptop desks provide the perfect “table” for resting your laptop on while you work away from your desk. Use it to balance your laptop while you lounge on the bed, on the sofa, or in your favorite cozy chair.

Electric kettle

The electric kettle can become one of the best things of your college life. Use an electric kettle to make hot water to make hot chocolate, tea, instant oatmeal, just add water packaged soups, and ramen in the comfort of your own dorm room. This is one of those things that you can use after college in your first apartment, if it lasts that long.

Single-serve coffee maker

With a personal coffee maker, it’s easy to make your favorite cup of coffee before rushing off to class, work, or study.

Extra coffee pods

Coffee pods for the particular coffee machine that you use are a good item to request from family and friends to receive as part of a care package.


Snacks are fuel for studying and hanging out in the dorm. Things like dried fruit, nuts, protein bars, and protein cookies can make great snacks for keeping around the dorm.

Cookware and utensils

If you live in the dorm and participate in a meal plan, then you’ll never imagine that you could get tired of cafeteria food and want to cook in your dorm’s communal kitchen, if you’re lucky enough to have one. There are times when you’ll wish that you had brought some basic cookware and utensils to campus. Don’t forget dish soap and a sponge to wash your dishes and an all-purpose cleaner for wiping up shared surfaces.

Basic first aid kit

The first time that you get a paper cut and wish that you had some antibiotic cream and a bandage, you’ll wish that you had a basic first aid kit handy. Consider adding basic over-the-counter medications like pain reliever and cough drops, to your kit.

Makeup wipes

When you’re too tired to wash your face, makeup wipes are there to help you out.

Mini steamer

Setting up and storing an iron and ironing board can be a real task. A mini steamer allows you to steam wrinkles out of your clothes—plus, it works well for smoothing out wrinkles on suits, skirts, dresses, and other items that you may need for special events, jobs or internships, or interviews. This is one of those items that you will probably continue to use after college.

Laundry detergent pods

Once you find out how easy and convenient it is to use laundry detergent pods to do laundry, you’ll wonder where they’ve been all your life. No more lugging heavy bottles of liquid laundry detergent down to the laundry room.

Stain remover sticks

Stain remover sticks are a lifesaver when you get a stain on your clothes and it’s not yet time to do laundry or you are far away from home. You’ll want to pack one in your backpack, laptop bag, handbag, and any other place to can put a stain remover stick to always have one with you.

Laundry bag

A laundry bag can be a convenient way to carry your clothes from the dorm room to the laundry room when it’s time to wash.

Lingerie bags

Lingerie bags can help protect delicates while putting them in the wash.

Foldable drying rack

Many of your nicer clothes–like sweaters and going-out outfits, are hang-dry or “lay flat to dry” only. There are other types of clothes that also benefit from hang or flat drying, rather than being put in the dryer, where they can become misshapen or shrink. A foldable drying rack makes it easy to hang clothes up to dry. Try drying your bras on one–game changer!

Plenty of hangers

Hangers–especially space-saving hangers–are a must have for storing clothes in a small dorm closet. It can help to have different types of hangers, from satin or velvet hangers for delicate clothes, to larger coat hangers for a winter coat and other bulky clothing.

Command hooks

Command hooks are a must have for mounting pictures, art, and wall decor in your dorm room. You can also use them for extra storage–like hanging bags and other necessities.

Extra long charging cords

Extra long charging cords can come in handy when outlets are short in supply–or located in the worse possible place to fit a shorter cord.

Power strip

A power strip with surge protection can be handy when you need to maximize your charging capabilities if your dorm has limited outlet space.

Tool kit

A small tool kit can be helpful when you need to assemble small furniture in your dorm room.

Sewing kit

If you wear clothes, then one of the best things that you can learn to do is basic sewing skills. A mini sewing kit can provide you with what you need to make small, basic repairs on clothes, like mending a sock or sewing up a tear. On this note, extra safety pins are always a good thing to have as someone always seems to need one.

Cleaning supplies

College life comes with its share of dust and spills, and having basic cleaning supplies, like paper towels, an all-purpose cleaning spray, a duster, and a dustpan with hand broom can help you keep your living space clean and fresh.

Compact vacuum

This bag less vacuum is great for taking care of small cleaning jobs, and it costs less than $30.

Oscillating fan

An oscillating fan can be a lifesaver when it comes to cooling down or providing air circulation in a small space.

Rain boots

If you go to college in a place that is often rainy, then you’ll want to invest in a pair of rain boots or water resistant boots to get you from place to place on campus.

Water resistant jacket

Similar to rain boots, a water resistant jacket can make it more comfortable to travel between campus buildings on a rainy day.


Have you ever noticed how when you need an umbrella, you never have one? A mini umbrella that’s easy to carry in a backpack can keep you ready on days when rain is expected.

This post showed you 32+ things that you’ll wish you brought to college when you first started. It’s never to late to catch up—especially when it comes to finding things that will make your life easier, cleaner, more organized, more comfortable, and more fun!

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