25 Dorm Essentials to Make Life Easier

You will absolutely love living in a dorm if you have these items.

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This post will show you the dorm essentials to make your life 10x easier and more organized.

Dorm essentials to make life easier - photo of a cute and organized dorm room
Photo: Dormify

Getting used to dorm life takes a while. After all, we don’t really know what exactly we need until we get into a routine on campus. Of course, there are obvious necessities like bedding, school supplies, etc., but some things just don’t occur to you until you’re inconvenienced.

The first time living in a dorm can be difficult sometimes, but if you have the right products and all the things you need, it will take you no time to get comfortable.

If you are looking for the best dorm essentials to outfit your space freshman year, or even if you just want to improve your room as a seasoned college student, this post will show you 15 dorm items that will always be essential.

Related reading: 10 College Essentials You Didn’t Know You Needed

1. Storage Bins

Most of the time, dorms will have limited closet space, so you really need to prepare by purchasing storage items so that you can make sure that you can still bring all the clothing items in your wardrobe that you love!

If you are obsessed with clothes, like me, and have a huge wardrobe, these foldable storage bins will be an absolute lifesaver.

They are perfect because you can buy a pack of them for a low price, and they are foldable, so they won’t take up too much space to store them.

What’s also great about these is they are a decent size for holding a good amount of clothing items, but they also will fit under your bed so that they won’t take up space in your room.

2. Bedside Caddy

A bedside caddy is perfect if your dorm bed is on the top bunk or even if you have a roommate and don’t want to disturb them at night.

This bedside caddy from Dormify is my all-time favorite because it is non-slip, and it has multiple compartments so that it can hold all of your essentials.

This will ensure that if you are on the top bunk, you will have everything you need because getting down from your bed, especially at night, can be a hassle. Also, even if your bed is on the bottom bunk, this item is great because you won’t be disturbing your roommate by getting out of bed. (Plus, it’s just great if you’re feeling lazy!)

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3. Desk Organizer

Since dorm rooms are usually smaller in size, this means that your desk will most likely be small as well.

This can make it hard sometimes to study at your desk with limited space, so you will want to make sure to keep your desk clean and organized.

This is why a desk organizer is definitely an essential dorm item. If you are looking for the perfect one, this desk organizer has several compartments and even drawers to fit all of your desk items, from your iPad to your post-it notes. Plus, it’s clear so that you can find everything.

4. Desk Lamp with Charging Port

For those of us who have a roommate, a small desk lamp is a must-have item. This will make sure that you can still do work at night if your roommate is asleep.

If you need a desk lamp, I definitely recommend this one because it comes with multiple brightness levels so that you will get just the right amount of light that you need depending on what time of the day it is. Also, it’s small, so it concentrates the light where you want it so that it won’t disturb someone sleeping nearby.

Related reading: 95+ Cute Dorm Room Ideas & Inspiration

5. Dry Erase Calendar

If you, like me, love planning out your schedule, you will definitely need a dry erase calendar board.

These boards are perfect for dorm rooms because you can place them on your desk or even hang them on your wall like this dry-erase board to make sure you are getting all your things done for the month.

No need to buy another calendar because as soon as the month is over, you can start fresh by using the dry-erase feature.

Also, you can even write little notes to yourself or things on your to-do list to make sure you are really on track.

6. Mattress Topper

One of the most essential items for living in a dorm is a mattress topper. Believe me, this is an absolute must because dorm beds can be very uncomfortable.

To make sure you are getting enough of a good night’s sleep and the rest that you need, you should purchase this memory foam mattress topper.

This mattress topper can make any bed feel like you’re at a 5-star hotel. You can even choose to get it in two inches or three, depending on how much cushion you want for your mattress.

7. Wall Mirror

Your dorm will also most likely not have a mirror at all or may have a mirror that’s too small. So, you should definitely plan ahead and purchase a wall mirror for yourself.

This mirror is perfect for any dorm because it can be used as either a wall or door mirror.

Some dorms have different rules about hanging mirrors on walls or doors, but even if you can’t hang them on your wall or door, you can place them in your room so that you can check your outfit before you leave.

8. Mini Fridge

If you want to have cold beverages or even if you love snacking and want to store some food in your dorm room, you will need a mini fridge.

This one is perfect because it is not too big so it won’t take up a ton of space. Also, it comes in this adorable pink color, which can also add some color to your room!

Related reading: The Best Mini Fridges for College Dorms & Small Spaces

9. Laundry Bag

You may not have thought of this dorm item, but it is definitely essential. While living in a dorm, you will most likely have to travel with your laundry to get to the laundry room.

Therefore, you will have to have a way to carry all your clothes. To make it much easier for yourself, you can purchase this laundry bag backpack.

This laundry bag is a good enough size to make sure you can carry a decent amount of laundry with you, and the backpack feature will make it much easier to carry around.

10. Echo Show

You may have heard of Amazon Alexa, but you may not have seen the Amazon Echo Show. After trying out this item myself, I definitely think this is a must-have item for dorm rooms because of all the features that it has.

This item makes it extremely easy to set alarms every day, check the weather before you leave your dorm, or play music and videos.

You can even video chat with your family and friends, which makes this item even more fun to have in your dorm room! If you want to treat yourself, definitely pick this up and thank me later.

11. Shoe Rack

Since you will most likely not have a lot of closet space, you may also want to consider where you are going to put your shoes.

Just throwing a ton of your shoes on the bottom of your closet can cause them to get dirty or even worn-out looking. This means you will want to get a storage item to organize your shoes, like this shoe rack!

With this item, you can place it on your closet floor or even by your door in your room so that your shoes will always stay clean and organized.

12. Pillow Protectors

This is another item that some people may not have thought of as a dorm essential, but this can really help you adjust to living in a dorm, especially for people who have allergies.

Pillow protectors like these will make sure that you are not only protected from allergy issues that you may have while living in a dorm because it is a small space, but also it can protect you from potential bed bugs as well.

13. Recyclable Coffee Cups

If you have a coffee addiction or even if you like to make tea, having recyclable paper coffee cups is a great item to have in your dorm.

This will make it so easy for you to grab your coffee and go in the morning if you are in a rush, or if you want to take your drink with you on your way to class. While reusable items are great if you live in an apartment, it’s a lot more of a pain to do dishes in the dorms, so single-use biodegradable cups are definitely the way to go.

14. Extension Cord

Extension cords are also an essential item for living in a dorm because, a lot of the time, you will not have enough outlets for all your things. (Why do they make so many rooms with only one usable outlet?)

Having an extension cord like this 6-outlet extension cord will make sure you have an outlet for everything in your room, and it is an 8-foot cord, so you won’t have any issues reaching it.

15. Shower Speaker

A lot of you will probably be sharing a dorm bathroom with many other people, which means you will have to travel to the bathroom to shower.

So, if you are one of those people who like listening to music in the shower, you definitely should purchase this portable shower speaker!

16. Comforter

When it comes to outfitting your dorm bed, it’s important to consider the specific dimensions of the mattress, just like you would with sheets.

Additionally, since your dorm bed will likely serve as a multipurpose spot for studying and relaxation, finding a comforter that strikes the right balance between softness and durability is crucial. 

17. Pillows

When it comes to packing for your dorm, don’t overlook the importance of choosing the right pillow. A comfortable and supportive pillow can make all the difference in ensuring a restful night’s sleep, ultimately contributing to improved academic performance the following day.

Remember, a good pillow goes beyond just comfort. It plays a vital role in maintaining proper spinal alignment and reducing the risk of neck and shoulder pain.

18. Desk Bookshelf

Maximize the open space above your desk with this versatile shelf that offers the perfect solution for organizing your textbooks. Displaying cherished picture frames and keeping your beloved beauty products within reach.

Designed with both functionality and style in mind, this shelf is the ideal addition to any workspace or vanity area. Its sleek and modern design seamlessly blends with any decor, adding a touch of elegance to your surroundings.

With multiple spacious tiers, this shelf provides ample storage space. Whether for your growing collection of textbooks or allowing you to keep them neatly organized and easily accessible. The sturdy construction ensures that your books will remain securely in place, even during the busiest study sessions.

19. Multicolored LED Strip Lights

If you’re a fan of the vibrant and captivating ambiance created by multicolored LED strip lights in your bedroom at home, why not extend that same captivating vibe to your dorm room? Invest in an additional set of these mesmerizing LED lights to bring those exact vibes. Then transform your dorm room into a space that reflects your personal style.

Adding a second set of multicolored LED strip lights to your dorm room, you can create a captivating and vibrant atmosphere. That sets the perfect mood for relaxation, studying, or hosting gatherings with friends. These lights offer a wide range of colors and customizable settings. Allowing you to effortlessly adjust the ambiance to suit your preferences at any given moment.

20. Throw Blanket

Bedsure Fleece Blanket Throw Blanket Pink

Prepare yourself for the potential draftiness of dorm rooms by ensuring you have a cozy throw blanket on hand. Trust me! You’ll be grateful for its warmth and comfort during those cooler nights or late-night study sessions.

A throw blanket serves multiple purposes beyond just providing warmth. It adds a touch of style and personality to your dorm room. Enhancing the overall aesthetic and making it feel more like a home away from home. Choose a throw blanket that matches your personal taste and complements your room’s decor. Whether you prefer a bold pattern or a soft, solid color.

21. Alarm Clock

Alarm Clock for Bedroom, 2 Alarms Loud LED Big Display Clock

Navigating early morning classes can be a daunting task, but fear not! A compact digital alarm clock can be an invaluable tool for any dorm room, ensuring you never miss an important class or appointment. With its discreet design and user-friendly features, this alarm clock is a must-have item.

Featuring a large display, this alarm clock makes it effortless to check the time at a glance, even in the midst of morning grogginess. The clear and easy-to-read digits eliminate any confusion and ensure you’re always aware of the time.

22. Hanging Closet Organizer

Amazon Basics 6-Tier Hanging Closet Shelf Organizer With Pockets

Make the most of your limited closet space with the help of a hanging closet organizer. This practical and versatile storage solution is perfect for maximizing small closets. Consider investing in the SimpleHouseware hanging closet organizer, a reliable option that offers convenience and efficiency.

Stay organized, save space, and simplify your dorm room experience with this versatile storage solution.

23. Foldable Chair

Elevate the style and functionality of your dorm room with the addition of a faux fur saucer chair. This trendy and comfortable chair is designed to provide both comfort and convenience. With its cozy faux fur material and foldable design, it is sure to become a favorite spot for relaxation and socializing.

Whether you’re hosting a study session with friends or need a cozy spot to unwind after a long day. This faux fur saucer chair offers the perfect combination of style and functionality. Embrace the comfort and convenience it provides, and make a statement in your dorm room with this versatile seating option.

24. Stereo Bluetooth Speaker

JBL Flip 6 - Portable Bluetooth Speaker

Achieving quality sleep in a college dormitory can sometimes be a challenge due to various disturbances like snoring roommates or noisy neighbors.

Luckily, a powerful stereo Bluetooth speaker can come to your rescue by acting as a sound machine, creating a soothing environment for uninterrupted sleep.

25. Foldable Lap Desk

MIIRR Foldable Lap Desks for Laptop, 23.6 inch Laptop Tray Table

Enhance your productivity and comfort in your dorm room with a foldable lap desk. This versatile and practical accessory provides a convenient surface for studying, working, or enjoying leisure activities from the comfort of your bed or any other cozy spot.

The foldable design of this lap desk allows for easy portability and storage, making it an ideal choice for students who are constantly on the move. You can effortlessly fold it up and tuck it away when not in use, saving valuable space in your dorm room and ensuring it’s ready to go whenever you need it.

It is portable, waterproof, and can stick to any shower so you can bring it with you!

Which dorm essentials from the list are your favorite?

For more on dorm shopping, be sure to see our guide to Target college essentials for your next Target shopping trip.

What item are you most excited to try? Which items are you going to purchase? Which items do you think you will love?

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