Are you getting ready to move a child into their first college dorm? After moving two children into college dorms I have learned a thing or two about what really is essential. I compiled a list of items that are essential for dorm living.
This post was originally written three years ago when we were preparing to send my first child off to college.
I have updated it and added affiliate links for your convenience at no extra charge. You can read the full disclosure on the disclosure page.
Wow, summer is going by so quickly.
It is hard to believe that it is time to begin preparing for sending our kids off to college.
This is such an exciting and emotional time that it is often easy to forget something or to over buy unnecessary items.
It is really important that we send our kids off to start on the right foot with the essentials for dorm living.
Here I am sharing dorm essentials in my dorm room design checklist.
I have separated it into sections to make it easier for you to keep up with and included a printable for your convenience at the end of this post.
Here are a few other post about dorm room decorating and other items to decorate a dorm with.
Here is one about the perfect plants for dorm room.
Another post sharing these simple steps to creating a cozy dorm room.
Now onto dorm design checklist.
Recommended bed and bath essentials:
Some of the needs may vary according to which style dorm room your child will live in and weather they have a private or shared bathroom.
These are the items that both of my college kids needed when they were in a dorm with community bathrooms.
Bed and bath essentials
Bed and Bath
- extra-long twin sheets
- mattress pad
- egg crate padding
- pillows and pillow cases
- towels and washcloths (only enough for a few days due to lack of storage)
- shower shoes/flip flops
- shower caddy
- area rug to cover hard floors
- desk lamp (extra bulbs) check your particular dorm room some provide these
- full length mirror , check your particular dorm as some have these already
- plastic bed risers
- dryer sheets or essential oils and dryer balls
- drying rack (only if necessary)
- laundry bag
Personal care essentials
Personal hygiene products/toiletries
- shaving accessories
- girls may need a hair dryer/curling iron/strainghtener
- prescription medication if needed
- ATM card
- driver license
- insurance cards
- jar coins for washers/dryers is needed, most dorms now use a school card for incidentals
- cell phone/charger
- ethernet cable
- gaming system (if your child is a gamer)
- power strip with surge protector (UL approved)
- computer paper
- headphones or earbuds
- waterproof backpack
- 3m(tm) Command ™ adhesive products
- message board
- plastic food storage containers with sealing lids
- plastic forks and spoons
- can opener
- umbrella/rain gear
- trunk for storage if there is room if not clear plastic bins with rollers for underbed storage
- sports equipment
- small fan
- dorm fridge/microwave if not provided
- kcup single coffee maker per dorm specs
- lap desk for doing work on their bed
Those are the dorm room essentials, now onto the fun essentials of creating that home like feel.
Dorm room design ideas
Another good idea is to send your child with some framed photos of friends and family.
Regardless of how excited they may be to leave home, they will most likely get homesick and those photos may offer some comfort.
Find out what the policy is for decorating their room and from there decide on what to hang on the walls.
For our daughters dorm the walls were a yellow cinderblock, yuck.
We used teachers putty to hang everything on the walls from lighted garland to family photos and posters.
This helped to distract from the ugly walls.
Because the walls were bumpy and pourous we could not use peel and stick wallpaper but in some dorm rooms you can.
For my son’s dorm room all he wanted was a giant flag from his university and we again used teachers putty.
Something else to consider is to have your child contact their future roommate so that they may coordinate items they are bringing.
This will cut out duplicates of items they can share.
Essentials that vary for each university
Furthermore, some universities require that their students supply their own dorm refrigerator, that may be something to add to your list.
We were lucky in that our child’s university supplied dorm refrigerators for each room to be shared.
While there are still few weeks, in the interest of time I have utilized the www.ocm.com website so that you can order all that is needed for a dorm room in one click to have it delivered to their school.
I can not speak to the quality of these items as I have never used them but it is super convenient.
I feel it is important to say as much as we mommas want to be in charge of decorating their rooms to feel like home.
It is their home away from home and they should be the ones deciding on style of decor and such.
They have to be comfortable in their own space, this is such a big transition for them and it is really key for them to feel at home as much as possible.
There are a few sites like the fore mentioned that sells college dorm bedding sets that include all the necessities of home, you may want to check with your child’s particular school as they all have different requirements, therefore, they may have a different site to use.
Shopping resources for design essentials
Shopping at your local Marshalls and TJMaxx are also great resources for dorm room essentials.
They usually have a wide variety of styles to choose from but you have to shop early, especially this year when supply seems to be low with most things.
Another great resource for shopping for desktop essential would be 5 Below if you have those in your area.
That is a great place to get budget friendly, yet cute things needed to corral all the desktop items.
You can print my room essential checklist off and/or the blank one and add your own items if you would prefer that.
Good luck designing those dorm rooms, and share some pictures with me after you move your child in.
Till next time