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If you're not sure what to bring to college this year, here is the ultimate list of college essentials for guys to help you out! From bedding basics to secret must-haves you won't be able to live without!

college essentials for guys

Whether you are living in a dorm for your first year of college or moving into an apartment, there are a few college essentials you won't be able to live without. While I know most guys' favorite pastime doesn't include planning or packing, it is something that has to be done to prepare for college living.

To make planning every guy’s move to college a little easier, I have made a comprehensive list of every single thing a guy needs to make sure they have when moving into college. From dorm essentials to school supplies, this is the ultimate list of college essentials for guys he won't be able to live without. 

PS. If you are a guy living in an apartment next year, you will also need furniture (and decor)! I have an entire post dedicated to apartment furniture + bedroom ideas for guys here: 29 Cool College Bedroom Ideas For Guys (Suggested By College Students).

This post is all about college essentials for guys.


1. Mattress/Mattress Pad

Here is a little piece of advice: whatever you do, do not forget to buy a mattress pad. Dorm mattresses are the most uncomfortable thing ever, so if you want any chance of getting a comfortable night’s rest at school a dorm mattress is essential.

Dorm rooms come with mattresses already but if you are living in an apartment that is not fully furnished you will need a mattress as well.

2. Sheets

You can’t forget to buy sheets for your bed at college! Sheets are a simple but essential part of your bedding you won’t want to forget.

3. Comforter

Depending on the size of your bed at home, you may be able to use your old comforter. But most dorm beds are twin XL, so chances are you will need a new comforter.

Target, Bed Bath and Beyond, and Amazon have hundreds of comforters for guys that will make your bed at college look and feel much more put together.

4. Sleeping Pillows

Make sure you have one or two good sleeping pillows! These are an essential part of making your bed at school feel as comfortable as it does at home.

5. Mattress Protector

Dorm mattresses are usually super old, so there is no telling how many guys have slept on them before you. A mattress protector will give you a little peace of mind when it comes to the cleanliness of your bed but will also protect your mattress from spills.

6. Air Mattress

More likely than not you will have people visiting you, so it's a great idea to have an air mattress handy just in case! It doesn't have to be anything special, but better to have something instead of making your friends sleep on the floor.


7. Shower Caddy

Shower caddies are a bathroom essential no matter what your living situation is at school. If you are living in a community dorm, buy a mesh caddy to bring your bathroom supplies back and forth. Guys with personal bathrooms can use an organizer that goes over the shower head.

8. Shower Shoes

Every single guy needs to make sure he has shower shoes as a part of his college essentials list for guys. Community dorms (especially guys dorms) are filled with germs. To protect you from athlete's foot, dirt, and all the other gross germs on bathroom floors, make sure you have a pair of shower shoes.

9. Bath Towels

A towel set, like this one, is the perfect bundle to buy to prepare you for college living. All you really need is a couple of bath towels, washcloths, and possibly hand towels if you have a sink in your dorm.

10. Bath Mats

No one likes stepping out of a warm shower in general, but stepping out onto a cold floor is even worse. If you have your own bathroom you will definitely want a bath mat for your bathroom.

11. Shower Liner And Curtain

If you're living in a traditional dorm with community bathrooms you can disregard this! However, if you are living in a suite-style dorm or an apartment, you can’t forget this bathroom essential! Find a shower curtain you like and don’t forget to use a plastic liner to keep water inside as well. You will also need a curtain rod and hooks to finish hanging everything.

12. Plunger And Toilet Brush Set

This is another one of those items that you can leave off your shopping list if you are living in a college dorm with community bathrooms. But if you have a bathroom of your own, you will definitely want a toilet brush to clean and a plunger for… well, you know.

13. Toiletries

Don’t forget all your bathroom toiletries! This kit from amazon has basically everything guys need in their bathroom.

14. Dopp Kit

I honestly hadn’t even thought of this college essential for guys until I saw all my guy friends using them. A Dopp kit is the perfect way to store bathroom supplies especially while traveling. 


15. Laundry Hamper

Leaving dirty laundry all over your floor is the easiest way to dirty up your room. One of the most important college essentials for guys, that you may not have even thought of, is a laundry hamper.

PS. The laundry hampers with removable bags make carrying laundry to washing machines in your dorm so much easier!

16. Hangers

The best advice I can give to college students moving in is to pack even more hangers than you think you will need. You will likely be buying clothing while you are in school, so buy extra hangers for new clothing. Velvet hangers are the best to use since they prevent your clothes from falling. Don’t forget pants hangers too!

If you are working with a super small amount of closet space, these space-saving hangers from Amazon will be your holy grail product.

17. Desk Organizer

Desks in college can quickly become messy since you will be working at them frequently. Keep a small desk organizer like this one from Target by your workspace to keep your writing supplies organized.

18. Shoe Organizers

Make sure you have some way of organizing your shoes! If you have the room in your closet, you can use a shoe rack like this one. But if you are tight on space, over-the-door shoe organizers are the perfect alternative.

19. Baskets

Baskets are a holy grail item when it comes to organized living. When I say every college student should have a few baskets, I mean it. You can use baskets to store all kinds of clothing, school supplies, electronics, and other small items. Using baskets to organize your room will make cleaning up and finding things in your room 10X easier (plus, they serve as great decor too?).

20. Under The Bed Storage

You will most likely have under-the-bed storage regardless of where you are living in college, so make use of it! Buy storage bags and containers to store season clothing, shoes, and all other items you don’t use as frequently; this will save you a ton of room in your dorm/apartment.

21. Folded Clothing Storage

Some dorms have built-in drawers already, but if yours doesn’t, you will need to buy organization products to store your folded clothing. You can either use an inexpensive dresser like this one from Amazon or use hanging closet organizers. These are a must if you want to keep your clothes organized and off the floor.


These are just a few of the cleaning essentials guys need in their dorm rooms! To find all the cleaning supplies guys need in their college dorm, check out this post: 18 Dorm Cleaning Supplies Every Single College Freshman Should Have.

22. Clorox Wipes

If there is one college essential for guys to clean with, it is Clorox wipes. These are the best and easiest ways to clean pretty much any surface in your college living space.

23. Small Vacuum

If your room at college has any carpet at all, you are definitely going to need a vacuum. There is no need to purchase a huge, $200 vacuum cleaner though. This small vacuum was the one that I used at school, and it's still going strong. It is the perfect size to keep in small dorms or even your college apartment. 

If you don’t have carpet anywhere in your room, you can get away with just a broom and dustpan.

24. Air Freshener

Keeping a room clean and smelling fresh is hard enough but keeping a guy’s room from smelling bad is a whole other feat. To tackle this, make sure you buy Febreeze and an air freshener to keep in your room. Not only will you feel cleaner in a fresh-smelling room, but every girl that comes over will appreciate it as well.

25. Trash Can And Trash Bags

No matter how big or small your room is, you are going to need a trash can. The size you get it up to you, but the bigger trash can the fewer trips to the trash dump you have to make.

26. Laundry Supplies

Now that you’re moving out and your mom is no longer there to do your laundry, you need to make sure you have all your laundry supplies together! In short, this includes laundry detergent, stain remover, dryer sheets, and bleach.

PS. The all-time best laundry essential for college students is Downy's Wrinkle Releaser. This stuff is way easier to use than a steamer or iron and makes your clothes look just as good!

27. Bathroom Cleaning Supplies

College guys’ bathrooms are undeniably one of the grossest spaces I have ever seen, so how about we change that? ?

If you are living in a dorm with community bathrooms, you can skip buying bathroom cleaners since the janitors will take care of it for you. But if your college living situation includes your own bathroom, these are the three main bathroom cleaning supplies to buy.

28. Dawn Dish Soap

Dawn is a college cleaning essential you can’t forget if you have a kitchen area. Keep at least a bottle of Dawn dish soap around in order to clean dishes.


29. Ziploc Bags

At some point in college, you will definitely need Ziploc bags. These are great for packing lunch on the go, storing leftovers in, and so much more you wouldn’t even think of. This variety pack from Amazon has every size you could possibly need while at school.

30. Brita

Finding ways to save money in college is always a good idea! Using a water filter to turn tap water into clean drinking water is an investment that will save you a surprising amount of money as opposed to buying plastic water bottles.

The Brita is the perfect size to keep in your fridge. Just don’t be that roommate that never refills it 

31. Dishes And Utensils

Dishes definitely need to be added to your college essentials for guys list! If you are living in a traditional dorm, only buy disposable dishes and utensils that you can easily throw away. I can promise you that washing dishes in a community bathroom sink is not fun.

But, if you are living in a suite-style dorm or apartment with a kitchen having reusable dishes is a must!

32. Coffee Maker

If you are a coffee lover, you cannot forget to bring a coffee maker to college! This Keurig is the perfect size to keep in any dorm or small apartment.

33. Chip Clips

No one likes stale food, right? Chip clips are one of those things you may not have even thought of but are such an inconvenience to not have. Make sure you have chip clips to keep your food fresh and prevent waste!

34. Mini Fridge

Most traditional dorm rooms have a mini-fridge in them already, but if not, this should be at the top of your list when shopping for college essentials for guys. This fridge is the perfect size to keep snacks and drinks in. Plus, it has a small freezer portion too.

If you are renting an apartment in college, your apartment will most likely already have a fridge. But if you are living with roommates, and want to keep some of your groceries separate, it doesn’t hurt to have a small fridge in your room too!

35. Microwave

Like mini-fridges, most college dorms come with a microwave. But if not, don’t forget to buy this kitchen appliance!


36. Rug

college apartment essentials for guys

Rugs are the best way to instantly make any college room feel way more comfortable. You don’t have to have anything fancy, just pick out a rug you like to cover the old flooring in your dorm or apartment. I can promise you that rugs really will make all the difference in your room at college.

37. Lamps

Dorms usually have the absolute worst lighting, so it will be important to have additional lighting in your room. Buy a lamp to keep on your nightstand and a desk light to use while doing homework.

If you are living in a suite-style dorm or an apartment, you will most likely need a lamp in your living room too.

38. Throw Pillows

To make your bed (and couches if you have them) feel more comfortable, use a couple of throw pillows. Target, Amazon, and Home goods all have many options (even the pickiest guys will like).

39. Curtain And Curtain Rod

Most dorm rooms have at least one window, and while it may be small, you will be surprised just how much light gets let in. If you are a late sleeper that hates to get woken up by the sun, make sure you add blackout curtains and a tension rod to your list of college essentials for guys.

These also come in especially handy for mid-day naps!

40. Wall Decor

While your college dorm or apartment won't be nearly as nice as your space at home, you can still add decor to make it feel as homey as possible!

Have fun decorating your walls with decor that you love to make your room feel more personalized. Picture frames, tapestries, and LED lights are always a go-to option when it comes to decor for college guys.

41. Throw Blankets

Yes, even guys need to bring a couple of throw blankets to college. Choose a couple of simple but comfortable throw blankets for your friends to sleep with while visiting or to use during the colder months.


42. Extension Cords

No matter if you are living in a college dorm or an apartment, extension cords are essential. Buy one or two for your living spaces to make sure you have enough plugs to charge your electronics and appliances into.

43. 10 ft Phone Charger

You will definitely remember to bring your phone and laptop to college but don't forget the chargers with them too! The 10ft phone chargers are especially great when it comes to dorm room living since a lot of the wall plugs are in inconvenient places.

Having a super long charger will make charging your phone in a comfortable place so much easier. Keep a few of these on hand in case you lose or break one!

44. Earbuds

You really don’t get the full experience of being a college student if you aren’t listening to music 24/7 while walking to the class hungover, right??

But, in all seriousness, you will definitely want to bring earbuds or Bluetooth headphones to college!

45. Bluetooth Speaker

You will obviously want to play music in your dorm or apartment while in college, so a Bluetooth speaker is a must. If you have a good speaker already just remember to bring it with you, and if not this JBL speaker is one of the best!

46. Batteries

You never know when something you need to use requires batteries! This is one of those college essentials that you will be so grateful you thought of when you need it. You probably only really need AA batteries and AAA batteries, so this pack is perfect to add to your list of college essentials for guys.


47. Luggage

Every single college guy needs to have a piece of luggage on hand while at school. You will definitely need luggage for traveling home or visiting friends at other schools. A duffle bag like this one is the perfect size to take home during break or while visiting friends on weekends.

48. First Aid And Medicine

Chances are you are going to get sick at some point in college. Actually, I am going to tell you right now... you will. Being around lots of people all the time and living in close quarters makes it super easy to catch a cold. Keep a variety of medicine around for when you do get sick so that you aren’t having to run out to the store while feeling bad.

Emergen-C is a life-saver when it comes to preventing sickness, and Advil is just a must for headaches after nights out. Make sure you have other first aid supplies too, such as bandaids and Neosporin.

49. Tool Kit

You really never know what will need fixing around your college dorm or apartment, so it is really helpful to have a tool kit. Having one will come in especially handy during move-in and move-out too.

A tool kit like this one is a perfect size and has all the basic tools you might need while in college. I recommend adding super glue to your tool kit too!

50. School Supplies

While college is insanely fun, the whole reason you are going is to learn, so you will obviously need school supplies! You really don’t need too much when it comes to school supplies in college, but you will for sure need a backpack, writing utensils, and maybe a few folders to keep work in!

51. Reusable Water Bottle

Instead of wasting money on plastic water bottles, keep a reusable water bottle with you in college.

Hydro flasks are the absolute best when it comes to keeping your drinks cold all day long while walking to and from class.

52. Fan

If you are one of those guys who just can’t sleep without a fan (my bf is very serious about his fan, too), you will definitely want to bring one to college.

Dorm rooms tend to get hot in the summer, so having an extra fan will make your room temperature way more comfortable. Even if you have a ceiling fan in your room is always a good idea to have an extra one if you get hot easily.

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