What Will Your College Freshman Really Need in the Dorm?

What are the 10 most useful items your student will need for college?|parentinghighschoolers.com

Written By Melanie Studer

Melanie Prather Studer has spent the last thirty years as a mother and teacher- preschool through middle school. When her kids became teenagers, Melanie started keeping notes and doing research to help her children get a head start on getting into college and ultimately out into the real world. She shares real world ideas and solutions for raising teens in today’s world.

July 5, 2020

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Best 10 Items Needed for a Dorm Room

Hey, it’s approaching soon–moving your kiddo into their freshman dorm…  That bittersweet day when your baby-not-baby heads off to college.  How can this be?  Just yesterday he was crawling around in his diaper!  Just yesterday she was playing with her baby doll and twirling around the house in her little tutu!

You blinked, and now they are practically grown!  Seriously, we have to think about moving them out of our houses and into a dorm room at college.  It’s not so bad if you are organized to begin with.  I am here to help! *This post may contain affiliate links.  This means, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you click the link and make a purchase.

teens|college prep|dorm room|dorm

Our teens are no longer babies crawling on the floor

Now that your teen is on his or her way out the door, here are the top 10 items that they will need for their dorm room.

First, remember that space is limited, so making careful choices is important.

Second, if you have a girl, then she will probably want to decorate and make her room super cute.  If you have a boy, then for the most part, he could probably care less.  My 2 boys are of the care less sort.

The following items are not decorative, but super useful for any college student.

They are in no particular order of importance, but all will be necessary!

Please check out my comprehensive lists on Amazon.  I created lists for Dorm Room Essentials and College School Supplies,  These are pages we created on Amazon’s website where you can actually go shop right from the list!  Check them out!!

What Will Your Freshman Really Need in Their Dorm Room?|www.parentinghighschoolers.com

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Grab everything all at once and have it all delivered right to your door!  You are welcome:)

    1. Multi-plug outlet/charger–this has outlets, USB ports, and a timer.  This is a MUST!
    2. Extension cord(s)–this one comes in 4 different sizes and can come in a 2 pack.
    3. White board–keep track of schedule, lists, write note to roommate etc.  Here are some great accessories!  Pens, graphic chart tape in various colors,  and white board crayons for fun.
    4. Rug–This is for comfort, as well as style.  It can be a basic monotone rug or multi-colored or patterned one.  Stepping onto a rug is so much nicer than a plain, tiled floor!  Don’t forget a rug gripper pad to keep it in place, and a small vacuum to keep it clean:)
    5. Command hooks–many different sizes for hanging everything!  Small, medium and large are all available.  These can be used for a million reasons around the dorm room.
    6. Shower caddy–So handy for the dorm shower, even if you have a suite setup, it keeps all your “stuff” together!  Don’t forget to pick up a pair of shower shoes while you’re at it!
    7. Prop-up bed wedge–great for sitting up to do homework or watch a great movie!  Get comfy:)
    8. Amazon Prime for Students–This is the best!  Videos, books for college and your kindle app, and lots more.
    9. Laptop computer–Every school is different, so you need to have your student check to see which computer is recommended.  My oldest son got this for graduation, and he loves it.  My middle son got this for his 18th birthday, and he loves it.
        1. Laundry basket –Don’t forget to grab detergent, stain stick, and dryer sheets while you’re at it.  Also, check out this tiny air purifier that just plugs into an outlet and is the size of your fist.  It does not require a filter, and would be great in a dorm room for freshness.  It will eliminate odors, bacteria, and allergens.

  1. There you go.  All of the most useful items already in a list for you!  Remember to check out our more comprehensive lists for Dorm Room Essentials and College School Supplies.

Fall semester is quickly approaching.  Enjoy your last month of summer!  Get some hugs in if your kid will let you, and make family time happen!  We are thinking of you because we have been there.  I am going through it for a second time this fall, so I know how quickly this all goes.  Sending my love to you all in this really bittersweet time!

What Will Your Freshman Really Need in Their Dorm Room?|www.parentinghighschoolers.com

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Another place with good gift ideas for teens, some of which would be good for dorm rooms, is this post.

Check out my Pinterest board- Dorm Room Ideas with all sorts of ideas or College Hacks for even more ideas!  Good luck and have fun!

Your student should try Amazon for College Students!  * Unlimited FREE Two-Day Shipping (with no minimum order size) * Exclusive deals and promotions for college students

Prime Student 6-month Trial

Do you still have a younger teen at home?  Have you read my book, College Bound:  The Ultimate List of Conversations to Help Your Teen Through High School-get started reading, the younger the better!!

Check out my parent toolkit for the high school years here!

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  1. I remember those early dorm days but happy to have a college graduate! Good luck mom,

    • Thanks, one senior, one sophomore, so no more dorms for 4 more years! Congratulations on your graduate!

  2. I am a proud parent of a rising college freshman who is about to embark on this journey and I appreciate your insight. It is an extremely exciting time for the student and parents alike. This information helps since I feel the impulse to purchase items that will accommodate living in a dorm however not really focusing on what is essential. Thanks for sharing!

    • Such an exciting time! I am glad that you found my list! I put it together after moving our son into his dorm last fall, and we realized that there were definitely things needed that we hadn’t brought or even thought about! Hope it helps you in the next few weeks:)
      Enjoy your last few weeks with your soon-to-be freshman!

  3. As a college student I agree with everything except the rug because how many of your children will actually vacuum it and take care of a spill when needed. The answer is not many . So many people ended up getting rid of their rugs at Christmas break because they were so gross. If you are going to go with a rug use an outdoor one it will be easier to clean.

    • Completely agree with the cleanliness part! Both of my boys were in super cold dorms, and needed one especially in the mornings.
      They did replace their rugs at semester even though they had a small vacuum to use. I’m guessing it was more of the spills that were gross, and not small pieces of trash. Thanks for the indoor/outdoor rug idea!

  4. This is a great list. I think we bought most everything on this. I would add the plastic bins with the drawers were very useful. She also found a desk light with USB ports at walmart. They also have an outlet shelf that plugs into an existing outlet that has USB ports.

    • Awesome ideas! I will have to look those up to add to the list. Thanks!


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