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Moving into your college dorm this year? Here are all the dorm must haves that will change the way you live this year! 

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The Dorm Room Essentials *for 2024* is officially live!

Click here to read the must-have dorm room essentials for 2024 you need to know about.

dorm must haves

Graduating high school and moving into college is one of the most exciting times! But, all the planning that comes with it can be super overwhelming. Packing up all your things and moving into a college dorm can be really stressful and leave you constantly wondering, "What am I missing??"

When I moved into my college dorm, I realized there were so many dorm must haves that totally went right over my head. You most likely will remember all the main stuff to bring; your clothing and dorm room decor, but there are so many other dorm must haves you will want to have when moving into your dorm.

To ease your stress a little, I have put together a list of all the dorm must haves that saved my life, as well as the dorm must haves I totally forgot about until I needed them. These are all the dorm must haves you will need to live in your freshman dorm this year!

This post is all about dorm must haves.

DORM BEDDING ESSENTIALS:

1. Mattress Pad

This mattress is pad is one of the best ones out there! I used it in my freshman dorm room and have put all my friends onto it ever since.

Dorm mattresses are old, hard, and uncomfortable, so to get a good night's rest, you will definitely need to add this mattress pad to your list of dorm must haves.

2. Sheets

When it comes to bedding, one of the first things you will need to have is a set of sheets and pillowcases. Make sure you know exactly what size your bed is before you buy. Dorm beds are usually either a twin or twin XL (had no idea that existed before moving in), so buy according to size!

3. Comforter

A good comforter will completely change the look and feel of your dorm bed. There are thousands of different comforters you can buy, so it is completely up to you what style and color you get! But, no matter which one you buy, a good comforter is one of the most important dorm must haves!

4. Throw Blanket

You will definitely want to keep a couple of comfortable throw blankets in your dorm room. I mean, who doesn't love snuggling up in bed with a comfy throw?

These will literally save you in the colder months and make your bed feel (and look) so much more comfortable.

5. Sleeping Pillow

You will probably only need one but make sure to keep a good sleeping pillow on your bed! The size and thickness of the pillow are up to you, but make sure you have one that is super comfy to sleep on.

6. Bed Skirt

Since dorm rooms are so small, you have to optimize storage space; this means utilizing all the space under your bed. But, keeping a ton of things under your bed can make your room look messy, so to keep all your storage out of sight, you will need a bed skirt! 

Amazon and Dormify both have bed skirts that perfectly fit the size of your dorm bed. Definitely add this to your list of dorm must haves if you want to hide storage and create a super stylish dorm room.

DORM MUST HAVES - BATHROOM:

7. Shower Caddy

It would be such a hassle to try and carry all your bathroom products to the dorm bathrooms without a shower caddy. Pretty much everyone should have this on their list of dorm must haves, but if you don't already, here is your reminder!

The mesh shower caddies are the way to go to allow water to run out the bottom and prevent mold and mildew in your stuff.

8. Shower Shoes

There is no telling how many people have walked in and out of the dorm showers before you, so you will definitely want a pair of shower shoes to wear while in the shower and walking around the bathroom; this will prevent your feet from getting dirty while walking back to your dorm room and protect you from gross germs on the bathroom floors.

9. Towel Wrap

Walking back and forth from your room to the showers while trying to hold up your towel is one of the most annoying things ever. Having a towel wrap will allow you to carry your things to the bathroom without having to worry about your towel falling down.

10. Towel Set

Towels are pretty much a no-brainer, but you definitely don't want to forget them when moving into your dorm! Make sure to have two or three large bath towels, a couple of hand towels, and washcloths for showering!

DORM ORGANIZATION MUST HAVES: 

11. Baskets

If you want to keep your dorm super organized you will need to have baskets! You can find super cute baskets on Amazon, but Target, Home Goods, and other home decor stores have amazing options as well.

Keep anything from clothing to school supplies in baskets in order to have everything in one place and keep your room looking spotless.

12. Under The Bed Storage

Under the bed, storage is your best option when it comes to creating extra storage space in your dorm room. You will want to make sure you have extra boxes and containers for seasonal clothing and other items you won't be using all the time.

You will love these cloth storage bags because they are light and easy to bring in and out of your dorm on move-in day, and flexible enough to fit in small places under your bed. These will keep your clothing organized and protected throughout the entire school year.

13. Hangers

One of the most obvious dorm must haves for your closet is hangers, but there are definitely certain options that will keep your closet more organized and maximize your space. Velvet hangers are the best to keep your clothing from slipping off. Make sure to also buy hangers with clips on them to hang pants and strapless tops on as well!

One of the coolest products you can buy for your closet is space-saving hangers. These allow you to hang five times the amount of clothes that you normally would, which will definitely come in handy while living in your dorm room.

14. Vanity Organizer

To keep all your makeup organized and your vanity clean, you will need a vanity organizer! Target has super cute gold ones, but really any vanity organizer is a must have when it comes to dorm room organization!

15. Drawer Organizers

To keep your drawers organized, you will want to make sure you have drawer dividers and organizers. These are so helpful to organize small jewelry, underwear, bras, hair ties, and other cosmetic products. These will seriously keep your drawers so much more organized and make it way easier to find what you need.

15. Drawer Organizers

To keep your drawers organized, you will want to make sure you have drawer dividers and organizers. These are so helpful to organize small jewelry, underwear, bras, hair ties, and other cosmetic products. These will seriously keep your drawers so much more organized and make it way easier to find what you need.

16. Jewelry Organizer

There is nothing worse than wanting to wear a necklace and finding it tangled up on your counter. To prevent this, you will need a jewelry organizer! These are great to keep all your jewelry organized and help prevent small earrings and rings from getting lost.

17. Laundry Hamper

Having dirty clothes lying around your floor is the easiest way to dirty up your dorm room. Having a laundry hamper will keep all your dirty clothes in one place and keep your floor a lot more clean.

18. Over The Door Shoe Organizer

An over-the-door shoe organizer is one of the most important dorm must haves when it comes to closet organization! It will keep your shoes organized and maximize your closet space.

You can even use these to organize snacks, school supplies, and other small items in your dorm room.

DORM CLEANING BASICS:

19. Trash Can

There isn't too much to be said about this one, other than you will hands down need a trash can in your dorm room. Buy a smaller size like this to keep under your desk or by your bed!

20. Clorox Wipes

If you could only have one cleaning product in your dorm room, it should be this one. Clorox wipes can be used on pretty much any surface and are the easiest way to clean your dorm room. Keep a few packs on hand to wipe down nightstands, desks, door handles, and spills!

21. Vacuum

If you have any carpets or rugs in your dorm room, you will need a small vacuum to clean with; this is the exact vacuum I used in my dorm freshman year, and it worked perfectly. It is the perfect size to have in your dorm room with the same power as a normal vacuum!

22. Air Freshener

After living in your dorm room for a while, your room may start to smell kind of gross (dorm rooms smell weird anyways). Since you won't be able to use candles in your dorm room, you will want to make sure you have an air freshener on hand!

23. Laundry Supplies

Now that you are away from home, your mom isn't there to do your laundry (LAUGHING EMOJI), and it's time to learn how to do your own laundry and exactly what products you will need when you move into your college dorm. 

Make sure to have laundry detergent, dryer sheets, and my all-time favorite product, Downy wrinkle releaser. It is impractical to bring an ironing board to your college dorm and you won’t even need one if you have this spray.

DORM ROOM DECOR:

24. Throw Pillows

Okay, so I guess throw pillows aren't technicallyyy a dorm must have, but if you want to really pull together the look of your dorm room and make it feel like a home, you will want a few throw pillows on your bed. 

Target, Home Goods, Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters, and Society 6 are some of the best places to find super cute throw pillows. Adding matching throw pillows to your bed will seriously pull together the entire look of your room. Plus, it will make your bed extra comfy.

25. Wall Decor

Dorm room walls are so blank that the room feels bland and empty. To fill up your wall space, decorate with super cute wall decor.

You can use wall hangings, tapestries, photos, and really any other decor to match your dorm room aesthetic. Bulletin boards are a super popular way to cover a lot of wall space and create personalized decor above your bed.

26. Picture Frames

Moving away from friends and family is so hard! To make it feel like your people are just a little closer, you will want some stylish picture frames to hang in your dorm room.

You can mix match frames or buy a set to make an adorable collage wall in your dorm room; this is a great way to make your dorm feel like home and decorate blank wall space.

27. Rug

While a rug may seem less like a dorm must-have and more just decor, I can promise you will want a rug in your dorm room. Not only does it make your dorm room feel much homier and more inviting, but it will also cover the tile flooring. I promise you will not want to step onto that cold floor in the mornings!

Whatever rug you chose in your dorm room, you will be sure to love the look and feel of all year.

28. Side Table

Dorm beds are usually pretty tall, so you will want a tall enough nightstand to use when you are on your bed. Keep a lamp, cute decor, and other items you want to be easily accessible on your dorm room nightstand.

It is always a good idea to get a nightstand with drawers to add extra storage in your dorm room. You will need it!

29. Curtains

If your dorm room has any windows in it (which it probably does), you are 100% going to need some curtains to block out the sun! My dorm room window was pretty small (and over an air vent), so I got these smaller curtains to hang above it.

Blackout curtains are the way to go if you want to keep your room dark during the mornings. In order to hang your curtains, you will need a curtain rod! I recommend buying a tension rod to hang your curtains between your window frame since you can't drill holes. Just make sure to measure the size of your window so you know what size tension rod to buy!

30. Lamps

Dorm room lighting is pretty much the worse kind of lighting you can have, so you will want to have lamps and additional light sources. Keep a lamp by your bedside table and your desk for lighting to read, study, and just hang out.

Target has a ton of cute lamps, but you can really find stylish lamps to match your dorm room at any home store!

TECH ESSENTIALS:

31. Extension Cords

You will most likely have more things to plug in than places to do it. Bring an extension cord or two to make sure you have enough power sources for all your lamps, chargers, and fans. This extension cord from Amazon is great because it has three USB ports in case you lose the block for your charger.

32. Phone And Computer Chargers

You will obviously remember to bring your phone and computer to your dorm room but don't forget the chargers with them too! The 10ft phone chargers are the best when it comes to dorm room living.

A lot of the wall plugs are in inconvenient places, so having a super long charger will make charging your phone in a comfortable place much easier! Keep a few of these on hand in case you lose or break one.

33. Fan

When I was a freshman, there was one time a student's mom complained her daughter was too cold, so the entire dorm shut off the AC. Literally SO annoying, but things that that may happen when living in a community dorm room.

Make sure to have a fan in your dorm room if you tend to get hot. There is nothing worse than trying to sleep in a hot and humid dorm room!

UNEXPECTED DORM MUST HAVES:

34. Over The Door Mirror

We all want to be able to take a look at our outfits before going out, so you will want to make sure you have an over-the-door mirror. Having an over-the-door mirror will be a lifesaver when it comes to picking your outfits. Plus, an over-the-door mirror will save space in your dorm!

This is one of the least expensive ones you can find, so if you want a mirror but don't want to pay insane prices, this is the one to buy!

35. Tool Kit

A tool kit is one of those dorm must haves that will come in handy when you are moving in but will also be needed for random tasks throughout the year. Make sure your tool kit has a hammer, screwdriver, and scissors.

36. Damp Rid

Damp Rid was one dorm must have that didn't even cross my mind until I moved in. Our dorm room was seriously so humid that our mirror would be fogged up.

If you are living in a newer dorm room, you may be able to get away with skipping this product. But, if you are living in an older dorm that tends to get musty, you will 100% want to keep these on hand.

37. Command Hooks

You aren't allowed to drill holes in the dorm room walls, so you will need command hooks if you are planning on hanging anything up. Command Hooks can hold a surprising amount of weight (I hung my backpack on the metal ones all year, and they never fell) and are super easy to take on and off the walls.

Make sure to have a variety of sizes to hang picture frames, purses, lights, and any other wall decor you may have!

38. Medicine

These three things saved me when I was living in my dorm freshman year. There is nothing worse than waking up with a headache after a night out and having no Advil around. 

Emergen-C is every college student's holy grail when it comes to living in dorms. Because everyone is so close together, people tend to get sick really easily. Plus, the air vents in the dorms usually all connect, so there's a pretty good shot if your neighbor is sick, you may get sick too. 

Any time you start to feel sick, drink Emergen-C to boost your immune system; this prevented my friends and me from getting sick so many times, so it is definitely one of the top dorm must haves when it comes to medicine.

39. First Aid Kit

First aid kits are one of those things you may not have even thought to keep in your dorm room until you have a cut that needs a bandaid. Make sure you have a first aid kit with all the essentials such as bandaids, Neosporin, and alcohol pads.

40. Water Filter

Because you most likely won't have a fridge with filtered water, you are going to want a water filter. You won't want to drink tap water and who knows how dirty the water from dorm water fountains is.

Having a water filter will not only make sure you have clean drinking water all the time but will also save you from spending money on water bottles constantly.

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