After unprecedented years of navigating hybrid learning, evolving mask guidelines, and vaccine requirements, the experience of dorm living may finally be returning in all its pre-pandemic glory! It is an exciting time in life. From high school graduation, to receiving college acceptance letters, to gearing up to move into the dorm, life is full of anticipation and promise. It’s also bursting with important questions! One of the biggest ones: What do I bring with me? Starting from scratch in a space of your own can be intimidating If you’ve always lived in relative ease under your parents’ roofline. Your childhood bedroom is a place of comfort and familiarity. How will you bring these same feelings (and more) into your new space? How will you ensure the area is conducive to learning, fun, and ultimately SUCCESS?
For incoming campus-bound freshmen, furnishing your dorm room is pretty much a crash course in small-space, communal living. And since it’s a space you’ll be making a lot of memories in, you’ll want to make sure you’ve got the best organizing products and space saving measures in place to make it feel cozy, welcoming, and just like you. This is where we come in. We have compiled the ultimate list of dorm essentials to ease your transition and leave you feeling more prepared for this next big step. Whether you’re the student or the parent of one, read on for all the information you need on dorm room essentials.
Surge Protector Power Strip
Dorm rooms aren’t known for their generous square footage. You and your roommate will be clamoring for the little space that you have, so make sure you can safely share the outlets with a surge protector power strip. This is an electronic device that protects equipment and appliances from damage caused by power surges. NewEgg Insider states, “Electrical surges are a short overvoltage spike in power lines. These are common during thunderstorms. But they can also happen from switching electrical loads and electrostatic discharge events that can occur anywhere between your devices and the electrical grid. An electrical surge can cause damage to your electronics, so it’s important to protect them with a surge protector.” And according to the good people at DoItYourself, there are a number of reasons to use a surge protector in a dorm room, including protecting devices from power surges, safely plugging in more electronics (allowing for harmonious sharing of the precious available outlets), and easily shutting off multiple electronics at once. Let’s take the advice of the experts and equip every dorm room with a surge protector or two!
The university experience should be focused on studying, ideally, but there will also be a fair dose of dancing, partying, and memory making. For amping up the atmosphere, whether in the dorm, out on the quad, packed along for a scooter ride, or at a party, you can’t go wrong with a portable speaker. Each of these has seriously impressive audio quality for its compact size. They come in a variety of styles and colors so you can be sure to find one that fits your personality. Be the life of the party at all tailgating events, barbeques, and impromptu late night dorm gatherings.
According to study.com, “Background music may improve focus on a task by providing motivation and improving mood. During long study sessions, music can aid endurance. In some cases, students have found that music helps them with memorization, likely by creating a positive mood, which indirectly boosts memory formation.” All the more reason to add the Morpheus 360 Sound Ring II or the Belkin SoundForm Elite to your “must-have” list of dorm essentials!
Dry Erase Board
A dorm room isn’t complete without a dry erase board. Whether you hang it outside your door or keep it in your room, it is a useful tool. Purposes can range from sharing fun messages or helpful reminders, keeping track of assignments, exams, and due dates, or mapping out social activities. Having all this information at a glance keeps it fresh in your mind and aids in organizational success. It allows you to easily plan your days without overbooking yourself or dropping the ball on an important assignment. According to an article written for University of Nebraska Omaha students titled The Importance of Organization in College, being organized means you won’t miss deadlines, you feel less stressed, you have more free time, and you can prepare for busy weeks in advance. Dry Erase Boards are an important factor in enhancing the productivity, communication, and efficiency in your new space.
Sometimes the most overlooked accessories are the ones you need the most. Whether you are living in off-campus housing or in the dorm, a mattress protector is a non-negotiable bedding essential that keeps your sleep surface from becoming a hotbed for germs. A mattress cover may not be as eye-catching as a colorful duvet cover, or as lounge-worthy as the decorative pillows on your bed, but it is every bit as important. In fact, according to Serta, a mattress cover is the very best bed accessory because it helps to reduce dust and allergens from building up on the mattress over time, which can be a helpful solution for allergy sufferers. It’s a critical layer of protection between your mattress and your fitted sheet that even the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America says can reduce allergy symptoms. Mattress covers such as the Duck Brand Twin/Full Bed Cover slide right onto your mattress like a fitted sheet, and the feel is soft on top but thoroughly backed with waterproof lining underneath. You’ll hardly notice any difference when you have it on your bed, and that’s a good thing.
Having a good desk setup is crucial, and the chair you choose is a key component to having the perfect study area. You’ll be spending a shocking amount of your college years sitting on a chair, studying and preparing for exams…making this purchase a critical one! This is reason enough for you to invest in a desk chair that’s both comfortable and supportive. The importance of this cannot be overlooked as you can develop back pain, poor circulation, and other problems by sitting on an uncomfortable college chair for long periods of time. An ergonomic chair will help you maintain a good sitting posture throughout your study sessions, preventing discomfort and improving your study time and productivity.
Getting the perfect desk chair for college is not only important for your health and comfort, but it can also serve as an accent piece in your trendy new space! Toss a colorful pillow on it and you’ll have the perfect seating for the occasional guest in your home away from home. You can never go wrong with additional seating. Give your guests a nice place to kick back and relax during those late-night hangouts!
Small-space living means utilizing hidden storage and vertical space. One of the best ways to maximize dorm space and enhance your decor is to use adhesive wall hooks such as the popular line of removable hooks and strips produced by Command Brand. Attach hooks to the ceiling to hang up lights or a divider curtain, or hang up some fun dorm wall decor. You could even use them to prop up a trailing plant’s vines! We all know that good mental health is key to physical health and overall wellbeing. But did you know that your surroundings, including your home/room decor, can have a significant impact on your emotions and mental wellness? Make the best use of every available inch of your dorm room by bringing in items that spark joy while simultaneously serving to keep your space tidy. Remember, removable hooks are your friends! Once you have the organizing bones in place, you can beautify the space with your favorite items. These unassuming products can be used for more than displaying posters—they are organizing and design superheroes capable of tidying up your necklace collection, as well as suspending your curtain rod for that added splash of color over your windows.
Caddies and Containers
What is the best way to tell if a dorm room is truly organized? Open up the drawers. If every drawer is just a dumping place for junk, they’re not being used to their full potential. Clear plastic drawer organizers are a great way to help compartmentalize smaller items (like makeup, desk items, and small gadgets) so they can be easily located. Clutter is inescapable in tight spaces. But no matter the size of your space, Brooklyn-based professional organizer Allison Dunn, the founder of Neat Rules, says, “You want to get rid of clutter so that you can really focus on the things you need to use on a day-to-day basis.” The best way to do that, she says, is to “create a system where you only keep what you need, and everything you need is accessible, so you can be more productive.” Once you’ve cleared out the junk and zeroed in on your essentials, the next step, of course, is to keep them in order through the use of ingenious products such as the Deflecto Stackable Caddy Organizer which will solve many of your clutter problems instantly!
Sure, your dorm will probably have a microwave in the common area, but most likely, it is going to be an older model that may not work as effectively as the one you bring yourself. Plus, it’s likely that somebody will be using it when you need it. Avoid the drama, and bring your own microwave. For the most part, dorms allow small kitchen appliances that don’t use an open flame, heating plates or coils, like mini fridges, microwaves, blenders and electric kettles. Having a personal microwave available in your room at all hours of the day and night will certainly come in handy! You’ll be glad you have one whether you need to zap some popcorn, whip up a bowl of ramen, or make your own single-serve brownie. Avanti and Lorell both make some excellent compact options to suit your popcorn popping needs. Space is at a premium, so make sure to select the best microwave to fit your space.
Access to food is especially important for college students. According to the article, College Student Eating Habits, by Heidi Zwart with Better You, college students’ eating habits don’t support the health necessary to perform at a high level, physically, mentally, or academically. Busy class schedules and late nights often lead to inconsistent eating habits. Without time to eat, meals are often skipped, especially breakfast, and late night study sessions lead to binge eating. Gain control over your nutritional needs by setting yourself up for success with a personal microwave.
“Education is the best provision for life’s journey.” — Aristotle