9 dorm room essentials for your freshman year

by Kailey Herbrich

When moving into a new space for the first time, especially a college dorm, it can be terrifying.

Your room is the only space considered your own in college, and you will probably even have to share that with another student.

Suddenly that one tiny room turns into a study space, kitchen, changing room, and bedroom all in one.

So what do you bring for a room that does it all?

To ensure you arrive on campus feeling prepared, here’s a list of dorm essentials.

Comfortable bedding

Dorms usually come with standard twin mattresses that often don’t accommodate the needs of the students who are sleeping on them.

Higher-quality bedding is crucial to your college experience. 

A study by Perelman shows that a good nights’ sleep helps students to learn, memorize, retain, and recall better, along with improving ability to creatively solve problems.

Sleeping well can prevent you from catching the colds that are going around campus, and it can also help you learn new information more easily.

Make your dorm room bedding a priority, and you will both see and feel the benefits.

Mattress topper

Dorm mattresses are selected for their durability, not their luxury.

These mattresses are often reused semester after semester, making them worn down and uncomfortable. 

With a mattress topper, you can transform even the most lumpy, stiff mattress into a comfortable sleeping surface.

While microorganisms like mold can cause allergy and asthma symptoms, a moisture-resistant, antibacterial, and hypoallergenic mattress topper can reduce those symptoms, protecting you from germs.

Mattress toppers also provide built-in cooling features, perfect for dorms that are  not air conditioned.

Your bed is your safe space in college. It is the one place you have all to yourself, so you might as well make it the best it can be.

Storage bins

Storage bins are essential when living in a dorm to keep your things organized and functional.

Most dorms are tiny, so you are going to need a lot of storage to keep extra clothes, shoes, snacks, etc.

Clear plastic storage bins are the best for easily seeing what’s inside them and fetching what you need.

You can usually store them under your bed to save valuable space and keep your room clean. 

Then, by the time you move out, your things will be already stacked and ready to transport. 

Brita filter

In college dorms, you get your drinking water from a water fountain or bathroom sink. 

These can get contaminated very quickly, so investing in a Brita™ filter is a good idea.

Brita filters cut chlorine taste and odor and reduce other contaminants found in water.

Since the drinking water in dorms is coming from a shared water source, it is nice to get peace of mind.

Using a Brita filter can also save you money as opposed to purchasing water bottles everyday.


You’re going to be spending a lot of time in your dorm room, so choose decor that keeps you cozy and happy.

Decorating your room allows you to showcase your unique personality. 

Many people get homesick while at college, so displaying photos and mementos  of your friends, family and pets can make you feel more at home.

Add fun decor and furniture to turn your dorm into a cool hangout spot for friends to come over.

It could also be fun to coordinate with your roommate on how you want to decorate your room, decide color schemes and discuss who is bringing what poster.

Shower Caddy

One of the biggest adjustments of living in a dorm is having a community bathroom.

As your bathroom storage space shrinks, you need an efficient tool to transport your items so they stay dry, hygienic and organized.

Because of how crowded community bathrooms can get, you need to only take necessities with you. 

Besides large items like shampoo and conditioner, you need to fit smaller ones as well, such as your toothbrush and moisturizer. 

A hard shower caddy is recommended in that they are far easier to clean and dry. 

Laundry Hamper 

Living in a dorm has its own set of laundry challenges, which is why it is critical to keep your clothes clean, well-organized and in good condition.

Laundry hampers typically have a lid or cover to keep dirty clothes out of sight and contained.

This makes it easier to clear space in your room and keep your clothes off of the floor. 

You want to get an easily-portable hamper that will make going up and down the stairs to do laundry much simpler.

Choose a hamper with a liner in it as well, so you can wash the liner and ensure your clean clothes stay clean.


When it comes to college dorms, space is limited, so making the most of the space you do have is crucial.

An ottoman can be used as a storage space in which you can keep clothes, books, blankets, games, shoes, food, etc. 

Ottomans can also act as extra seating if you want to have your friends over.

These furniture pieces are multifunctional because not only can you use it for hidden storage, but you will also need one to use as a step stool to get into your raised bed.

Getting up into those loft  beds is a struggle in itself, and an ottoman is a helpful step in these situations. 

Cleaning Supplies

It is important to keep your dorm room clean, including disinfecting every day and minimizing clutter.

A recent study indicates that women’s dorms have 1.5 million colony forming units (or measures of a clump of germs), per square foot, and men’s rooms have about 6 million CFU/sq.

That is a lot of germs, which is why you should disinfect your room daily, and deep-clean your dorm at least once a week. 

A clean space leads to a clear mind, by maintaining your space and eliminating clutter, you allow your mind to focus on the task at hand, instead of getting distracted, which is important in college. 

Some essential start-up supplies are a small vacuum, a mop, microfiber towels, disinfecting wipes, all-purpose cleaner, air freshener and dishwashing liquid.

%d bloggers like this: