Top 10 Items to Bring to College: From the Girl Who Overpacked


Are you stressed about moving into your freshman year dorm? Don’t fret. You’ve found the right girl to help you with all of your dorm room needs!

Boho college dorm room

Source: Kaitlyn McDonald

Freshman year, I was known as the girl who overpacked and owned any item possibly necessary to survive college. With my expertise, I have compiled a list of the top 10 college dorm room items that I NEEDED when living on my own. These next four years are going to be full of excitement and challenges, but having a completely stocked room can make simple tasks a little easier.

Take a look at my list below of the not-so-common items that are absolutely necessary when living in a college dorm room. All of these items can be found easily throughout your college shopping endeavors (no deep internet searching here!). Also, be sure to subscribe to varied retailer’s mailing lists for updates on sales to make the most out of your college shopping experience.

1. Command Products

These products are the best non-damaging item used to hang anything around your college dorm room. With the brand’s different sizes, strengths, and designs, you can use them for anything. Some examples for use include a towel rack, adding pictures to walls, or even hanging a purse.

Command products for college dorm

Command Brand sells products for decoration, organization, bathrooms, or general purposes. Most large retailers (Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, and The Container Store, Houzz, etc.) carry a variety of command products at your fingertips.

Here's an awesome selection of Command products

2. Extension Cords

Braided extension cord black

Extension cords are an absolute necessity. Some dorm rooms only have one or two outlets located throughout the room (especially older dorms), which makes it difficult to charge or utilize all your devices at once. It is recommended to buy a variety of extension cords in different shapes and sizes to reach your bed, desk, and bathroom (if you are fortunate enough not to have communal restrooms).

Click here to view the black braided extension cord seen above. It's a durable and sleek solution if the cord is visible.

3. Desk Materials and Organizers

Poppin white desk set for a college dorm with a stapler, pen holder, tape dispenser, and paper tray

Throughout my two years of college, one of the most common questions my friends have asked me is if they could borrow my stapler, tape, scissors, or printer. Most college campuses have printing centers available for students, but some students (like myself) prefer a printer available at their fingertips.

Here's the link to the desk set above from Poppin.

Don’t forget your OfficeMax or Staples trips when completing your last minute shopping.

4. Full Body Mirror

Dorm mirror on door and wall

Surprisingly, most college dorms have few to no mirrors in each room or bathroom. Personally, I have found it necessary to have a full-length mirror, whether I used it for checking my outfit before I walk to class or taking a mirror selfie before a night out with my friends.

Here's a great deal for a dorm mirror from Target!

Quick tip: Hang the full body mirror on the back of the entry door or closet with Command velcro strips! This helps keep the mirror sturdy and at the wanted height for you and your roommate.

5. Professional Clothing

Business attire dress shirts for college

Before heading to college I had no idea that freshmen had the opportunity to sign up for and attend professional events. I would recommend bringing one collared shirt, blazer, and a pair of slacks for boys and a blazer and a dress for girls. Having the right outfit can reduce stress and allow you to focus on networking with the professional!

Target, White House Black Market, and H&M have affordable and high-quality options.

6. Mini Cutting Board and Disposable Utensils

Disposable fork, knife, and spoons utensils

Most dorms do not have a reliable or clean kitchen for underclassmen to use. Having a mini cutting board as well as disposable utensils allowed me to slice fruit and cook microwavable meals in the comfort of my own room.

Here's a set of knives, forks, and spoons from Amazon that are meant to look like the real deal.

These items are necessary if you oversleep, are running late to class, and don’t have time to hit the dining hall beforehand.

7. Shoe Storage

Shoe storage bench for college

If you’re anything like me, you definitely have a pair of shoes for every occasion! A shoe organizer can help keep your closet clean while also making it easy to find shoes for each outfit. Whether your storage container hangs over the door, sits on the floor, or is hidden in a storage cube, any version works!

Here's the link to the space-saving shoe bench above. 

8. Under Bed Storage Containers

OLLVIA Foldable Storage Bins

Most large dorm furniture retailers carry all shapes and sizes of under bed storage containers. These can be used to hold extra clothing or as additional storage for miscellaneous items.

Quick tip: use storage containers for medicines and cleaning supplies. This allows for easy access to these necessities while keeping them out of public areas.

9. Pictures and Decorations

Carter and Clyde magnetic picture board for college dorm

Decorating your dorm with pictures and items that express your personality can make it feel homier. Designing a room that’s inviting will distinguish your room as the go-to place for friends to hang out as well as a comfortable space you’ll want to return to after a long day of class to take a nap or watch Netflix.

Here's a popular magnetic picture board from Carter & Clyde.

My favorite stores to buy decorations from were Mixtiles, Paper Source, The Container Store, and small boutiques in my hometown. You can also make DYI decorations this summer in quarantine - just head to your local arts and crafts store and start your crafting!

*Michaels craft stores has daily discounts on their websites

10. Large Portable Blanket

College girl laying on a blanket outside and doing homework

Many college campuses have large grassy quads in the center of student life buildings. When the weather permits, students enjoy lounging outside to do work, tan, and hang out with friends. Having a large blanket for everyone to sit on is definitely a necessity.

If you're really looking to have a party, here's a 10-foot by 10-foot blanket from Big Blanket Co.

Quick tip: Create a collaborative playlist (either on Spotify or Apple Music) and bring a speaker outside to pass the vibe check.

*Spotify is my go-to


Embrace the process of moving into your new college dorm room! You will be living in this “shoebox” for the next 10 months, so it is important to make your environment positive and comfortable.

Don’t stress, life happens. If you forgot any necessity when shopping, Amazon is only a click away.

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