There may be a million things that you might want to pack and take along when you leave for college. But, the limited space at your disposal and the sheer impracticality of it all make it impossible to carry a ton of stuff to the dorm room.

College is the place where you pick up skills and knowledge, and realize your potential to start on a fulfilling career path. You will not require all the good things you are used to in your home, but you will need the essential necessities to stay comfortable, stylish and happy in your dorm.

The average spending on dorm décor and school supplies is about $900 per college student in the US. Most of this is spent on ‘nice things’ like expensive bedding sets and wall décor, and other stuff like desk lamp, steamer, tea kettle, area rug, television and furniture. Trim down what you have to lug around at the end of each year and pack prudently.

5 Things You Should Absolutely Take With You To College

Here is a list of things you can consider taking to your new dorm room.

1. Bedding Set

Fancy bedding sets cost a lot, but you can get nice-looking and affordable ones . You can also use them you have at home, provided they are gently used and in good condition. Average-sized bed-in-a-bag options are also suitable for dorm décor.

Twin-XL sheets, comforter sets, pillows, mattress pads, blankets and throw pillows should be enough to make your dorm bed comfortable and give you restful sleep.

2. For the Shower

You will have to pack your essential toiletries and a durable shower caddy or shower tote that will help keep all your stuff handy and in one place. There is no need to go for fancy products; a washable mesh shower tote will be quite adequate.

Shower flip-flops and towels are other bathroom necessities you will need. A powerlock suction mirror or a peel-n-stick mirror will make dressing up easy. Adhesive storage pods or units made of clear plastic will help you organize personal items like cosmetics.

A high-grip and slip-resistant bath mat and a bath robe will complete your dorm shower essentials.

3. Stock Your Kitchen

Plates, bowls and cups are essential with just a couple of each being adequate. Forks and spoons must be taken along to the dorm, and you can skip on silverware and other expensive options. You can either borrow your mom’s unused cutlery or shop for new forks and spoons at the Dollar Store or at a local thrift shop.

Disposable plates and cutlery are handy, and will be useful when you have friends over for a movie night or when you are working on group projects. Tissues, paper towels and wet wipes are all useful in dorm living.

A mini refrigerator and a microwave will make meals vastly enjoyable in college. A refrigerator will come handy in storing perishable foods, drinks and leftovers. This will ensure that you do not go hungry while running between lectures and extracurricular activities. Having a mini fridge in your dorm room also allows you to stock up healthy and organic meals, and avoid takeouts. Microwave will allow you to heat leftovers and enjoy hot meals, and also dish up your own recipes once in a while.

A small six-cup coffee pot will see you through all-night cramming sessions.

4. Look Your Stylish Best

Though you will like to take your entire closet with you, the limited storage space in your dorm room makes it necessary to pick and choose.

Ideally, you should carry at least a couple of weeks’ clothes with you. A few sturdy pairs of pants, shirts, tees, dressy clothes and lounge wear will be sufficient. A pair of comfortable boots, heels, sneakers and wedges will be all that you require in the first year.

In addition to this, items of clothing that could come handy are something in patriotic colors for the 4th of July or other USA-themed celebrations, and a few Halloween costumes to make the most of the parties you will have lined up.

An ironing board is not required and neither is a steamer (unless you have tons of high-end stuff that cannot be ironed), but an iron will help you wear neat and crease-free clothes.

A laundry hamper or a basket is also a must to store your laundry. A foldable fabric hamper will help you save on space when not in use. Laundry detergent, fabric softener and stain remover should be on your checklist, along with a lint brush.

5. Storage Needs

Good storage facility will make your dorm life considerably easy. Modular shelving, hanging set of drawers, stackable storage cubes and adhesive hooks, all prove to be handy when working with limited space.

Shelving that can be fitted on top of desks help increase storage space. Hanging organizers in closets and inter-linkable hangers help maximize space in small closets.
Storage bins, baskets and under-bed storage trays will be useful to store your clothes, books and shoes.

To make your dorm room personal, warm and comforting you can bring along photographs and other knickknacks that give you a homely feel. Take along your senior yearbook from school or souvenirs from family holidays – it can be anything that reminds you of home and your loved ones. Your favorite stuffed toy, love seat or your dakimakura pillow cover, having something that you cherish with you can help deal with homesickness and perk you up.


College life gives you arguably the best memories of your life. So, whatever you choose to bring or not to bring with you, do take along your sense of humor and zest for life, and make them the best years of your life.

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This post is contributed by Nicola Reynor.