While exciting, moving into a college dorm room for the first time can be a little overwhelming. Between school-issued packing lists, recommendations from friends and the jam-packed college dorm sections in retail stores, it’s hard to know which items will be true college essentials.
Dorm room preferences depend on the school, residence hall and the college student, but there are five dorm products every college student needs to have—no matter what.
While this may seem like an obvious dorm item to buy, twin extra-long bedding can be hard to find. Many stores package sheets and bedding as twin/twin XL, but don’t be fooled. Standard twin XL mattresses are 39" wide by 80" long, so it’s always smart to check the dimensions of the sheets, comforter sets and toppers before you buy. There is nothing worse than arriving to school with sheets that don’t fit and leave you short-sheeted!
This is one of those items that schools may list under the “Maybe" category on its packing list. But a mattress topper really is an essential item for college students. You’ll need to sleep well in order to do well in school and succeed in any of the activities you’re involved in on campus. You won’t get a good night’s sleep on the thin, years-old school-provided mattress. A good mattress topper, whether you prefer memory foam or a featherbed, is paramount to sleeping well and succeeding in college.
Living in a dorm is much different from living at home, especially when it comes to sharing a bathroom. Many residence halls have community bathrooms and showers, meaning dozens of students share them. You won’t be able to store your shampoo and conditioner in the school bathrooms like you do at home, so every student needs a caddy to carry shower supplies down the hall. Shower caddies do much more than hold your bathroom items, however. They also keep your toiletries off the community shower floor, which can get pretty gross to say the least.
Most residence halls have a laundry room available to students, however that laundry room is oftentimes in the basement or on the first floor of the hall. A hamper is good for holding dirty clothes in your dorm, but not all hampers are easy to carry down the stairs to the laundry room. That’s why laundry bags are so great—they’re easier to carry than traditional hampers and can hold just as much laundry. Whether it’s your first time doing laundry or you’re a seasoned pro, a laundry bag is vital to cleaning those clothes.
When moving into a residence hall with dozens of strangers, it’s always best to err on the side of caution. Having a small safe or lockbox where you can store your passport, some cash and other valuable items is a necessity for college students. A safe will keep your most precious items secure and give you peace of mind, so you can stress less and focus on more important aspects of college life—like studying!
If you still have space in your dorm room and are looking for other useful items to bring, check out: 16 Items to Turn Your Dorm Into Your Home