If you’re heading off to college in the Fall, you’ve probably got a lot of planning ahead of you. Never fear, for we’ve saved you one task by tracking down the must have products for your dorm room.
Our list is one part fun and one part overly practical. That’s just how it works when it comes to setting up your dorm room. We won’t be looking at pieces of furniture or rugs or anything like that, nor personal effects like posters or pictures to hang up. We figure you’ve already got that side of things covered. After all you know your personal tastes best and who are we to assume you’re an iconic poster kind of person or not?
You know your taste best, right? Instead, these are the things you might not have already considered or that you simply need some solid advice on. Plus, there’s a little bonus at the end that’s a must have for some but maybe not everyone.
Comfy Twin XL Sheets: Bare Home Premium Microfiber Sheets ($22)
It’s important to be comfortable when you’re asleep or resting. Bare Home’s Premium 1800 Ultra-Soft Microfiber Sheet Set is the ideal middle ground of comfy without extra expense. After all, you’ll likely only use these sheets while at college (it’s pretty rare to find a Twin-XL length mattress outside of a dorm) so this isn’t a long term investment.
The sheets aren’t measured in thread count like cotton sheets, but they’re plenty comfy. They’re also a good fit, holding snug to your mattress. Wrinkle resistant and hypo-allergenic, they’re pretty low maintenance too which is ideal for dorm life. Don’t forget to pick out a fun color.
A Shower Caddy: Jovilife 8 Pocket Shower Caddy Tote ($9)
Sure, you can juggle a bunch of stuff every time you go to the shower, but wouldn’t it be easier to have a bag just for that? Buy the Jovilife 8 Pocket Shower Caddy Tote and you save yourself effort and space.
It has a built-in handle so it’s easy to carry to the shower with you, as well as hang up while in use. With quick drying breathable mesh, it wipes clean with a damp cloth, and easily folds away when not in use. It’s a cheap and essential organizational tool. Whether you share an en suite bathroom with a roommate or a whole gym-style bathroom with the dorm floor, this caddy will keep you organized and your space tidy.
Bluetooth Speaker: Ultimate Ears Wonderboom Bluetooth Speaker ($67)
There are thousands of Bluetooth speakers available, but we’re highlighting the Ultimate Ears Wonderboom Bluetooth Speaker, thanks to its versatility. A pod-like device, it has truly 360-degree sound with some great mids, basses, and highs.
It’s IPX7-rated which means you can submerge it in up to 3 feet of water for up to 30 minutes, so you’re fine to take it with you to the shower. Its short cord loop makes it super easy to hook onto things. Best of all? It floats so you can take it along to a pool party too! It’s perfect for nearly every college experience imaginable. The Wonderboom is the baby brother of our premium water resistant Bluetooth speaker pick, the Ultimate Ears Boom 2—if you want to check out that recommendation and others take a peek at our roundup here.
Want a more personal experience via some headphones? We’ve already looked at the best headphones for your dorm needs.
USB Charger: Anker 5-Port USB Charger ($23)
It seems like everything requires an USB socket to charge these days, doesn’t it? When your smartphone, tablet, fitness wearable, speaker, and headphones all require a spare USB socket, you can find yourself running out of room on your laptop or free wall sockets in your room. Instead, invest in a USB charger to consolidate your charging into one place.
The Anker 5-Port USB Charger is a great option and one I use myself. Plug it into a regular power outlet socket, and you instantly have 5 USB sockets spare. It’ll save you a ton of effort and hassle.
A Desk Lamp: TaoTronics LED Desk Lamp ($27)
Your dorm room will have lighting, obviously, but it’s almost always harsh overhead fluorescent tube lights. A good desk lamp lets you focus light where you need it and is much easier on your eyes. The TaoTronics LED Desk Lamp scored a best all-rounder entry when we looked at budget desk lamps recently, and for good reason—it’s a rock solid pick.
The lamp offers 4 different lighting modes with 5 brightness levels. There’s a 1 hour timer mode, as well as touch control options. Additionally, it doubles as a USB charging port for your smartphone or tablet. It’s just what you need when you’re studying hard.
Hooks: Command Wire Hooks ($5)
It might sound like one of the most boring things to buy for your dorm, but you’ll be surprised how useful these Command Wire Hooks are. They stick onto walls and surfaces, coming off safely and without causing any damage. Once stuck, you can easily use the hooks to hang up personal effects, coats, your shower caddy, or anything else imaginable. They’re a perfect fit for the conflict of “I need to hang stuff up” and “I’m not supposed bang nails into every wall”.
By being organized, you free up more room in your dorm, and everything looks way better than before. Suddenly, this purchase seems a lot more useful, huh?
Water Bottle: CamelBak Chute 1L Water Bottle ($14)
There are so many reasons why you need a water bottle, even if you don’t realise it just yet. You have glasses or cups, right? But, it’s easy to forget to drink, or spill the glass all across your stuff, or simply not bother washing up your old utensils. Plus, when you go out, you can’t take a glass of water with you in your bag.
Owning a water bottle like the CamelBak Chute 1L Water Bottle circumvents all these issues, and saves you the expense and waste of buying one-time use plastic bottles instead. It’s good to keep hydrated. Buy one of these and you’ll find it easy to drink extra water.
Games Console: Nintendo Switch ($300)
OK,OK… so maybe it’s not an essential but playing on a Nintendo Switch is an awesome icebreaker for you and your new dorm mate. It’s a great console for playing two player games without needing a TV, or to buy extra controllers. Plus, it doubles as a great system for single player titles too. Plug it into a TV and add in an extra controller set and suddenly it’s a great multiplayer setup too.
This is far from an impulse purchase but if you’ve been on the fence about buying a Switch for a while now, heading off to college is the perfect time to enjoy some quality gaming. We recommend purchasing The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild for your single player needs, and Overcooked for multiplayer fun. Check out our full rundown of couch co-op games for the system.
Image credit: Dragon Images/Shutterstock.