Getting ready for a new year at college, including purchasing all the best dorm room essentials, can be quite overwhelming. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Regardless of whether you’re heading back to the dorms or starting your freshmen year, there are a few basics that college students need to purchase ahead of beginning the new year. To help you figure out precisely what you need, we’ve compiled this handy dandy list of essentials to make your back-to-school shopping even easier.

However, it’s extremely important to note that different colleges (and sometimes even different dorm buildings at the same college) have specific rules on what you can and cannot have in your room — especially when it comes to kitchen supplies, extra furniture, and decorations — so it’s be sure to check your school’s website or ask other students. Seriously, you don’t want your RA (or your parents!!) to confiscate that mini-fridge or coffee maker that you specifically picked out. 

So, without further ado, scroll down to find the ultimate packing list for your college dorm room. From shower necessities to desk lamps to kitchen supplies and backpacks, we’ve got you covered with all the dorm essentials that can fit in small spaces to help you start this year as worry-free as possible. 

Dorm Items 

Mattress Pad

Catch those much-needed ZZZs with these uber soft mattress pad options. Simply place one on top of those uncomfy dorm beds and prepare to sleep like a baby. 

EASELAND Full Size Mattress Pad Pillow Top

LUCID 3-inch Ventilated Gel Memory Foam Mattress Topper


Since you have to maximize your minimal dorm room closet space, it’s best to snag some hangers to keep your clothing neat and organized. 

Amazon Basics Slim, Velvet, Non-Slip Clothes Suit Hangers


Deck out your dorm room bed with a cute comforter and some ultra-cozy sheets and pillows to make the space feel like home. Also: a good night’s sleep is imperative to waking up for that super early 9 AM lecture. 

Utopia Bedding Bed Sheet Set

Waffle Duvet Cover and Sham Set

70s Retro Swirl Color Abstract Comforters

Beckham Hotel Collection Bed Pillows

Shower Stuff 

Regardless of whether your dorm room has a shower in it or a community one, you need a few essentials. Make sure you have a shower caddy, some towels, and flip flops on your list. And, if you have a shower in your room, grab a bath mat to prevent the floor from getting all wet. You’ll thank us later. 

TRIDENT Soft and Plush Bathroom Towels

Under the Bed Storage

Hear us out: Dorm rooms have limited storage, so it’s best to fit things wherever you can. These underbed storage containers are super compact and fit A TON. Trust us, they’re game changing. 

storageLAB Underbed Storage Containers

Laundry Necessities 

Yes, you have to do your own laundry while you’re away at college, so make sure to grab these essentials ahead of the big move. 

Rolling Slim Laundry Basket

Downy Wrinkleguard Liquid Laundry Fabric Softener

Shoe Rack

TBH, shoes take up so much room in closets, so it’s super important to take advantage of your dorm room space by incorporating a hanging or standing shoe rack. 

Whitmor Hanging Shoe Shelves

Organizing Stuff  

While it may be inevitable for your stuff to get messy, you should attempt to keep your space as neat as you can. Storage bins of all sizes can never hurt and they’ll give everything a specific spot, which will help you stay organized in the long run. 

HAY Collapsible Storage Bins

Large Storage Bins – Set of 2

Desk Items 

These items are crucial to college, IMO, so make sure to add them to your list ASAP. While newer dorms have A.C, some don’t have any, so it’s important to snag a desk fan to try to keep yourself cool in those scenarios. The mini fridge is also great for storing snacks, drinks, and other yummy items. 

MOSITO Digital Wooden Alarm Clock with Wireless Charging

Amazon Basics 3 Speed Small Room Air Circulator Fan

Frigidaire 1.6 Cu. ft. Single Door Compact Refrigerator

3gal Open Vanity Trash Can Gray

Desk Lamp 

Planning to stay up late studying or do homework while your roommate goes to sleep? Snag one of these desk lamps for the perfect amount of light. 


Before you head out for the day, make sure you check your adorable ‘fit in one of these mirrors. The over-the-door mirror is best for hanging on the back of a closet door and the wall mirror 


Clean up all those chips you spilled on the floor and keep any dust or dirt at bay with one of these vacuums. The dustbuster is better for smaller spaces, whereas the Dyson would be great for off-campus apartments. 

BLACK+DECKER Dusbuster Handheld Vacuum


If you need steam your silky dress or suit ahead of a big presentation or rushing a sorority or fraternity, one of these portable steamers should definitely be on your list. 

BLACK+DECKER HGS011 Easy Steamer


Make your dorm room your own with some cute decor like these string lights, TK wall art, or an area rug. Half the fun of heading to college is decorating your dorm, so make the most of it! 

Set of Vintage Magazine Summer Print

Twinkle Star 300 LED Window Curtain

Other Room Essentials 

Although these items may already be on your list, they’re super helpful. Since you have limited outlet space, a power strip is a great addition to ensure you can keep ~all~ your devices fully charged. In addition, Command Strips are great for putting up decor, adding in some hooks, and more, so it never hurts to have a few around. 

Command Large Picture Hanging Strips

General Electric 6 Outlet Power Strip

Tech Essentials 

The latest tech will make your college life a tad bit easier, regardless of whether your taking virtual or IRL classes. 


Keep your notes, assignments, and schedule in tip-top shape with one of these laptops


Hear us out: If you don’t want to spend $$$ on copies in the library, set up a wireless printer in your room. It’ll majorly save you when you need to print out assignments, readings, or papers that need to be handed in. 

Canon Wireless Pixma TR4520 Inkjet All-in-one Printer


Host an impromptu dance party or play your favorite tunes with one of these wireless bluetooth speakers. 

Marshall Uxbridge Voice With Amazon Alexa Bluetooth Speaker

Sony SRS-XB13 Extra BASS Wireless Portable Compact Speaker

Portable Phone Battery 

Say goodbye to worrying about a dead phone battery. Simply charge this portable charger up when you charge your phone at night and plug your phone into it whenever you need a power up. 

Energizer MAX Ultra-Slim High Speed Universal Portable Charger

2-Pack Miady 10000mAh Dual USB Portable Charger,


If you have a long commute or walk to class, you’ll want a pair of wireless headphones to listen to your favorite tunes—especially in the morning before coffee. 


Computers not your thing? Take notes, do assignments, or browse the web on one of these tablets. The best part? They weigh way less than any laptop ever could. 

Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 Lite 8.7″ Tablet with 32GB Storage

It goes without saying that a phone is a necessity at this point. How will you post a cute photo from your new college on IG or make group chats with all your new friends? 

Apple iPhone 13 5G 128GB – Blue

Smart Watch

Keep track of your steps, calendar, and other very important items with a smart watch like this one from Apple. 

Apple Watch Series 3 (GPS) 38mm Aluminum Case

Wellness Products

These are the true essentials of this list. Stay healthy! 

Disposable Face Masks 

Regardless of whether your school imposes masking or not, you should always have some disposable face masks on hand, just in case. 

Multicolor Disposable Face Masks

Hand Sanitizer

IKYK: Germs are not cute, which is precisely why you should have always one of these cute little hand sanitizers on hand. 

megababe Squeaky Clean Hand Sanitizer

First Aid Kit

If you happen to fall wall running to class or accidentally injure yourself somehow, a first aid kit filled with band-aids, creams, and other essentials, will come in handy. 

First Aid Only 299 Piece All-Purpose First Aid Kit

Safety first!

Body Massager

Coming into college as an athlete? Grab a body massager to help relieve muscle aches and prevent body soreness ahead of your next practice. 

Kitchen Essentials 

Don’t depend on the dorm cafeteria and keep these cooking basics on hand. 

Reusable Water Bottle +  Cutlery

Staying hydrated is super important, so you should always keep this reusable water bottle from Hydroflask with you. It can be refilled throughout the day and will serve as a reminder to drink water. 

Plan on making your own meals in your dorm room? Keep this reusable cutlery set around so you can enjoy ~all~ your delicious culinary endeavors. 

Coffee Machine

Trying to save some $$$ on coffee? Invest in a coffee machine like this one from Nespresso. Aside from brewing deliciously flavored caffeine, it’s super easy to maintain and makes coffee super quickly when you’re running late to your early morning lecture. 

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