The Basics: Here Are the Top 15 Things to Bring to College
Hip2Save may earn a small commission via affiliate links in this post. Read our full disclosure policy here.
If your kiddo’s headed to college, you may wonder what the best things are to bring to make dorm life easier. We’ve got our top 15 based on feedback from the Hip2Save community. Every campus offers different amenities and has different rules (so be sure to check with your school for details).
1. Shower caddy
If you’re staying in a dorm, you’re likely sharing a bathroom with other girls (or guys). Place your toiletries in a shower caddy with holes (great for water drainage) to keep your items organized so you can easily grab them when you need to.
2. Mattress topper & protector
To make your dorm mattress more comfortable, invest in a Twin XL Foam Bed Topper (like this highly rated Memory Foam Mattress Topper on Amazon) to provide extra cushioning and comfort. Also, consider purchasing a Twin XL waterproof mattress protector like this one.
3. Under-the-bed storage bins
To add more storage to your dorm room, you may want to purchase under-the-bed storage bins or bags – plus they’re perfect for hiding your belongings when parents or guests come to visit! 😉These bins are priced under $20 at most stores, depending on size.
*Keep in mind that you may also need bed risers or blocks if you want to purchase larger containers or stack the bins under your bed.
4. First Aid kit
Be prepared! Create a first aid kit with all the essentials (a thermometer, band-aids, pain reliever, cough drops, allergy medicine, ice bag, facial tissues, hand sanitizer, odor absorber, etc.) for those months when mom is not around.
Also, you can occasionally snag deals on First Aid Kits at Target (like this previous deal) or the drugstores.
5. Laptop desk
Bringing a laptop with you? If your dorm does not have a desk, or if you’re looking for an easy way to study while lounging in bed, consider snagging an Adjustable Laptop Desk/Table. You can use it as a laptop table, reading desk, breakfast tray, or desk, so it serves many purposes!
6. Reading bed pillow
If you’re buying a laptop desk to use on your bed, you’ll definitely want to purchase a comfy reading bedrest pillow to lean on. These pillows are usually priced under $30!
7. Picture hanging strips & hooks
If you’re looking for a way to hang picture frames, towels, blackout curtains, or jackets without damaging the walls, doors, or cabinets, bring a variety of 3M Command Hooks and extra Hanging Strips with you! These hooks and strips come off cleanly with no surface damage and come in all shapes and sizes based on needed weight limits.
8. Portable safe
Want to keep your valuable dorm essentials safe while you’re away at class? Invest in a Portable Safe (such as this SWOL Safe – Portable Dorm Safe) to keep your valuables tucked away. And when you’re headed home for the holidays, simply take the safe with you.
9. Small fan
Because dorm rooms don’t have personal thermostats (and because you and your roommate may prefer different temperatures), it’s a great idea to bring a small fan with you for those warm days.
10. Mini fridge (if allowed)
If your dorm doesn’t have a kitchen (and if space allows), consider buying a small fridge with separate freezer compartment to store canned drinks, frozen meals, ice cube trays, and more.
11. Surge protector/extension cords
Laptops, appliances, electric toothbrush, electric razor…you can never have enough outlets in a dorm room! Consider a Surge Protector, as well as an HDMI Cable that’ll come in handy when you want to connect various electronics and computers to your TV.
12. Small sewing kit & tool set
Need a hammer or screwdriver for building a bookshelf or putting together a bike? Get a small tool set (many are priced under $20 on Amazon) with the essential tools you’d likely need for most household projects or small repairs.
And, when a button falls off or you accidentally tear a hole in your favorite pair of pants, don’t wait for mom to fix it! Be prepared by taking a small sewing kit with you.
13. Electric water kettle
Want to eat a hot bowl of soup or oatmeal OR just want to sip a cup of hot tea or cocoa on a chilly morning? An electric water kettle like this one will come in handy for those days when you need something quick and easy but don’t want to leave your room.
14. Laundry hamper with wheels
Save your back! Make carrying laundry easy by bringing a plastic laundry hamper with wheels to take the frustration out of this chore, especially when lugging your laundry around.
15. Quarters for laundry & vending machines
Planning to do laundry on-campus? Or just want to hit up the vending machines for a late-night snack (or in between classes)? Be sure to stock up on quarters before leaving home so you’re prepared and don’t have to borrow from your roommate or make a special trip to the store or bank.
Written by Mary for Hip2Save. Mary is a proud mom to 3 kids in Austin, TX, who thrives off running long distance, bargain shopping, warm weather, a yummy latte…and a little Candy Crush from time to time. She loves quality time with family & friends and sharing great deals with others.