Essential 10: REAL Dorm Room Must-Haves

Okay, so some "College Dorm 101" checklists will spout off a ten-page list of stuff like an espresso machine, treadmill, Xbox, and waffle iron. You're smart, so you know most of the stuff on these lists is unnecessary bupkus. But what should you actually bring, beyond the basic bedding, laptop, clothes, and toiletries? Most of us Outblush editors have survived college dorm life, and we've put our collective heads together (ow!) to bring you the ten extras that really will make life in that 10x12 cinder block cell a bit more tolerable.

1 - Plastic Shower Caddy ($4) - Keeps your shampoo/leg razor/toothbrush/et al in one easy-to-transport container. Tip? Store it in your closet on an old washcloth, so water doesn't leak on the floor.

2 - Plastic Dinnerware Set ($22) - Broken china? Not so fun to clean up the morning after a drunken party study session. Plastic is easy to clean, and we happen to lurve the bright colors.

3 - Bed Rest Pillow (AKA "Boyfriend Pillow") ($13) - Invaluable for sitting up in bed to study or watch a movie, especially if your room has no space for a futon.

4 - Tool Kit ($60) - Don't be the girl who wanders the halls on move-in day, begging to borrow a hammer or screwdriver! You'll use the stuff in a tool kit more often than you'd think, even after graduation.

5 - Over The Door Storage Hanger ($38) - We like the one pictured, since you can put anything from shoes to earrings to Post-It Notes in it. Hang over a door, closet door, or even tack up to the side of a dresser.

6 - Bathrobe ($29) + Plastic Flip Flops ($4) - Communal shower floors = gross, so showering in plastic flip flops will protect your feetsies. Likewise, walking down the hall in a terry bathrobe is far less accident-prone than trying to hold a towel around yourself.

7 - Lap Desk ($27) - Need to study in bed? This provides a nice flat surface for your laptop or books. We love that this one also has a cupholder.

8 - Coffeemaker ($15) and/or Electric Teakettle ($13) - Coffee. Duh. The teakettle will come in handy for everything from hot chocolate to Top Ramen.

9 - First Aid Kit ($22) - As we recall, no one ever seemed to have Band-Aids or Pepto Bismol. Obvs, you can make your own with your preferred brand of bandages, painkillers, antacids, etc.

10 - Modular Cube Storage with Drawers ($20) - Since you can put this together in a few different ways, it will work well in a variety of oddly shaped spaces. The cloth drawers are also collapsible - bonus!

Calling all college graduates! What's the one thing you wish someone had told you to bring to your dorm? Let us know in the comments!



Posted on 08.05.10 at 2:10 PM

a dust buster or small vacuum


Posted on 08.05.10 at 4:48 PM

Check with your dorm guidelines, but I used my toaster oven A LOT. I hated cafeteria food, so I made myself lots of mini Boboli pizzas. A microwave and mini fridge are also helpful.


Posted on 08.06.10 at 8:17 AM

With things like the coffee makers, make sure you check with your dorm first. We weren't allowed hotplates, coffee makers, microwaves, really any type of heating device. Apparently someone in the dorm blew up a pop-tart once or something(i.e., drunkenly tried to microwave it with the wrapper on). It sucked. I hated waiting for the community microwave.

Also, when you have limited closet and/or drawer space, these 2 things are the best-

A swing arm pants/jeans hanger:

and this sweater shelf, which I used for the 100million t shirts I own:


Posted on 08.06.10 at 10:25 AM

Condoms and ear plugs :)


Posted on 08.07.10 at 1:47 PM

one of my most-used items in my dorm was clorox wipes. they make it so easy to clean up and there's an eco-friendly version. and, when you're packing for school, don't bring anything you're not sure you'll need. you won't use it.

ah to be in college again...


Posted on 08.08.10 at 3:56 AM

I agree about the sweater shelf. That was the best thing I ever bought for my dorm!

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