Space-Savers and Comfort Items for Every Dorm Room
While Pinterest and Instagram will give you tons of ideas to fill your (very small) dorm room, beware the trap of being over-prepared and over-packed. Leave the inspirational quotes and framed photos at home and think about what you would take if given just ONE suitcase or if all you could take were items you used EVERY day.
Here are a few ideas to get you started!
Laundry basket or bag
Make sure it has handles as you’ll likely be hauling a weeks’ worth (or more) at a time! I lived on the 3rd floor and laundry was in the basement, so having a light and easy way to keep dirty (or clean) laundry organized is a bonus. If you don’t have the space, a duffel bag works just as well, although it’s hard to keep clean laundry folded and tidy for the trek back to your room.
Travel cutlery and a telescopic stainless-steel straw
Avoid the plastic fork and straw conundrum by carrying your own. Late-night study sessions or quick jaunts to eat off-campus will mean a lot of plastic spoons and forks in your wake. Travel cutlery made of bamboo or steel will pull double-duty on your next trip and your travel straw will impress your favorite campus environmentalist! This is the straw that I use, but any variation is fine as long as it comes with a straw cleaner.
Refillable water bottle
Refill from campus water fountains and stay hydrated all year long. For those of you sensitive to water smell/taste, you might invest in a small Brita pitcher for your room or take a look at these all-in-ones from Amazon.
Ready to hit the showers? If you don’t have a private bathroom, you’re carrying everything with you down to the shared shower. A bag like this will keep all your essentials in one spot, organized, AND up and off shared surfaces.
I recommend a toiletry bag that will double as a travel kit for future adventures. My favorite is Rick Steve’s hanging Traveling Toiletries Kit, perfect when counter space is non-existent as well as that summer in Europe you’ve been planning. It has a sturdy hanging hook, plenty of space for odd-sized toiletries, and a removable mirror.
Dorm mattresses are as basic as it gets, so if you’re used to a soft, cozy sleeping situation, you’ll definitely want to invest in something more comfortable. The Tempur-Pedic Tempur-Topper Supreme gets high marks, but its high price-point isn’t financially friendly for the average college student. At half the price you can try the Malouf Isolus 2-inch Ventilated memory-foam mattress, or get something at Costco once you’re in town! Bed, Bath & Beyond has a “find your college” page that will help you determine if your dorm will have a regular twin or a twin extra long. Enter your college HERE and then look for the “School Info Sheet” at the top of the page. Here’s an example for Western Washington University.
Power Strip/Surge Protector
While incoming freshman are a part of the digital age, their dorm rooms were likely built in the 1950s. It’s not uncommon to have just 2 outlets in the entire room. Make sure your power strip has a long cord, as many outlets as you think you’ll need (plus one more) and USB charging ports. Check out the doughnut-shaped or tower-type surge protectors on Amazon for a different look and better fit for your space.
Here’s one you might not have thought about! Dorm room doors are heavy and don’t typically stay open on their own. These door stoppers can fit in holders that stick to the door itself, so when you’re not using it, you’ll always know where it is! Perfect for keeping the door open (or shut!).
This last one is the one we all wish we’d had in our college dorm. Bed risers/lifts raise your bed up to 7 inches. If your bed isn’t already high off the floor, these bed risers will quickly create more space for storage, laundry, and luggage. This set from Bed, Bath and Beyond features two power outlets and two USB charging ports.
Getting ready for college, a post-high school program, or even living on your own is an exciting rite of passage. Have you found any essential dorm must-haves? Let us know in the comments and best of luck to the students (and parents) doing their back-to-school shopping this month!
Pacific Learning Academy is a one-on-one school offering single courses and dual enrollment, as well as full-time middle and high school. Pacific Learning Academy is Washington State Approved via the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI — see listings HERE) and a nationally Accredited private school via AdvancED/Northwest Accreditation Commission (NWAC). High School coursework is approved by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). We also offer tutoring in all subjects from 6th to 12th grade, including test prep, either in-home or local libraries across the Eastside (Issaquah, Sammamish, etc…). See more at www.PacificLearningAcademy.com