College is often the first time kids go away on their own, living far away from home in an entirely new setting. While it can be a little nerve-wracking for both parents and students, you can easily prepare your kids for the years ahead with the most important dorm room essentials.
If you’re a college student, prepare to encounter a few surprises along the next few months. If you’re a parent, you can’t be there to give your children all the comforts of home, these few dozen objects will help them get through the next four (or more) years on campus. Of course, it’s also nice to have a few gadgets as a reprieve from the non-stop studying. These items below won’t necessarily help students get through college courses, but rather, ensure that they make it through the day and show up refreshed for the next—plus we’ll be putting together a separate guide on the best school supplies in the coming days, so stay tuned.
Lampat LED Desk Lamp
It’s always good to have a strong, steady light while you’re studying. While reading in the dark might seem like it’s part and parcel to the college experience, it’s an unnecessary strain on your eyes. Saving your vision should outweigh the $30 price of this desk lamp
American Lifetime Day Clock
This alarm clock might look comically large, but after an all-nighter of studying—or whatever else—you’ll be able to see this clock no matter how bleary-eyed you are. Keeping track of time is not only important for getting to class on time, but also staying ahead of your school assignment due dates.
Anker Soundcore 2
You also probably want to play some music while you’re studying or just staying in the dorm. A bluetooth speaker is the best way to fill a room with sound and few are as loud as the Anker Soundcore 2. For just $20, this is a great wireless speaker to play “lo-fi hip hop beats to study and relax to” 24/7.
iwill Create Pro Laundry Backpack
Don’t be that person wears the same outfit over and over again every week without doing your laundry. Washing your clothes isn’t really that hard, and the iwill Create Pro Laundry Backpack is the perfect solution to ensure you get your laundry done every week. You can hang up the bag and use it as a makeshift hamper, then just sling it onto your shoulders when time to hit the school laundromat.
AmazonBasics 6-Outlet Surge Protector Power Strip
A power strip might seem like a no brainer, but it’s a surprisingly easy thing to overlook. Between your college laptop, desk lamp, fridge, and any other dorm appliances you have, you’re probably going to have a lot of electronics to plug in, so don’t forget to bring one or two of these with you.
Frigidaire 1.6 Cu Ft Eraser Board Mini Fridge
Your school might have certain rules about fridges, but if you’re allowed to bring one you definitely should. Having cold drinks, a place to store leftovers and snacks on hand is essential.
The Frigidaire 1.6 Cu Ft is pretty much the smallest mini fridge you can get, but if you can go bigger, I’d suggest going with the taller Frigidaire 3.2 Cu Ft that gives you way more space. Both units come with a freezer for storing frozen food and deserts and they also have an eraser board finish on the front door, which can be used to scribble down important notes or reminders.
Vornado 630 Fan
The Vornado 630 Fan is a compact fan, but it can move a lot of air—exactly what you need for a small door room. Instead of pointing the fan directly at yourself, though you could do that too, point this thing at a corner and it’ll create a large dome of turbulence and circulate all the air in a room.
Household Essentials Storage Cubes
Leaving all your stuff on a pile might seem like a reasonable way of being organized, but clutter builds up fast in a small space like a dorm. Household Essentials’ Storage Cubes is a much tidier solution for keeping all your school papers, supplies, snacks and anything else you might have.
Hamilton Beach Coffee Maker
Getting through College basically requires a steady stream of caffeine. However, going to the coffee shop every day gets real expensive, real fast, so you should get an affordable and reliable brewing machine like the Hamilton Beach Coffee Maker. This $50 machine will ensure you stay caffeinated 100% of the time to keep you awake in class every day. What’s more, you can also program it to make you a cup in the morning before you even wake up.
While it’s technically okay to eat cold pizza and uncooked instant noodles, there’s a better way. A microwave is basically your second best friend in college (the coffee maker is the first one), as it’ll provide you with hot food throughout your college career.
The AmazonBasics Microwave is one of the most affordable units you’ll find on the market. It even comes with Alexa functionality, so you can just tell it to heat up popcorn instead of having to punch in a cook time every time.
Taking a break from studying every so often is important and there’s no better way of relaxing your brain than vegging out on some TV. While you might think the only thing a student’s budget will allow for is an ultra-cheap 720p set, you can buy some truly amazing budget TVs for little money. The Hisense 55H8F, for example, is an incredible 50-inch 4K TV that only costs $400 and even supports HDR 10 content.
Nintendo Switch or Nintendo Switch Lite
Gaming is another great way to unwind and I’ve picked out the Nintendo Switch as the console you should bring to college. For one thing, it’s actually portable and it has the fastest instant on from standby ability, so you can easily get in some playtime in between classes.
If you find yourself, playing on the go more often—and don’t have a TV—go with the Switch Lite. Otherwise, the regular Switch is the best console to get and you’ll have a better time with local multiplayer.
Home-it Adjustable Bed Risers
Don’t just sleep on the biggest storage area in your dorm room. Home-it Adjustable Bed Risers are a great solution for lifting up your bed by three, five, or eight inches to give you extra space for your papers, books, clothes, and more. Most schools allow students to lift up their bed, but double check the rules for each individual college and university.
Utopia Bedding Quilted Fitted Mattress Pad
While you can’t bring your own mattress to college, you can certainly make your bed a little more comfortable with a mattress pad. The Utopia Bedding Quilted Fitted Mattress Pad essentially adds an extra two inches of memory foam on your mattress for extra comfort and softness.
Coop Home Goods Eden Pillow
Just as, if not more, important than making your bed more comfortable, you’re going to want a nice pillow to rest your spitting head after a long day. The Coop Home Goods Eden Pillow is the best pillow to plunk your head and money on in my opinion. Its filled with shredded memory foam that’s incredibly soft and it has a cooling gel lining.
While we’re on the subject of sleep, you’ll also want to get a few of these other essentials
- Bedsure Quilt Set Grey Twin Size
- Utopia Bedding Comforter Duvet Insert
- AmazonBasics Microfiber Bed Sheet Set
Mesh Shower Tote
Chances are your college dorm will have communal showers and you’ll definitely be sharing a bathroom with dormmates, so you’ll probably need a bathing kit holder like this Mesh Shower Tote. It’s a handy way to keep all your toiletries (i.e. your toothbrush, comb, soap, and shampoo) and the mesh material will ensure everything dries quickly after you’re done with your business.
Staples Binder Clips
Staples binder clips are essential for keeping your papers organized, but they have plenty of other uses. They’re also amazing for cable management if you clip them to the end of your desk and run wires through their wings. Alternatively, you can use them to hang up artwork, help store drinks horizontally in your mini fridge, and combine them into a makeshift smartphone stand.
Bounce Fabric Softener and Dryer Sheets
Dryer sheets aren’t just important for making your laundry smell nice, it’s also an all-important home air-freshener for your entire dorm room. Clip a couple of sheets to your air conditioner, heating vent, or room fan and you’ll be able to circulate freshness throughout your living space. Don’t forget to throw down a sheet or two into bottom your garbage can as it’ll help cut down bad odors emanating from your trash.
Honey-Can-Do Portable Laptop Lap Desk
When a dorm room only gives you a desk to work on it’s a good idea to get a lapdesk. This way you can also use your laptop or write while you’re sitting on top of your bed.