My Top 10 College Dorm Must Haves
College dorm move in season is back and in full bloom, and you know what that means…it’s time to start making checklists and start packing! Now I know first hand that packing for college can definitely be stressful and time consuming, especially when trying to fit your entire life into a few medium sized boxes. It can prove difficult to remember everything that you have to bring and with your hectic packing schedule you might have forgotten some key items to pack.
That is where I come in! I want to share with you my Top 10 College Dorm Must Haves (lifesavers!) to take to college so you start your year uber prepared. You won’t want to move in without these!
1. Brita Filter Pitcher
This is my absolute favorite dorm item. I live in NYC which its water has been tested to be on the cleanest in the nation, but I still don’t like to trust sink water. Now, the Brita might just seem like a water filter, but it supplies me the crispiest and cleanest water I can get for FREE. The Brita Filter has been by far my best investment. I started off my freshman year going once or twice a week to the local store to buy cases of water, which started to become costly. It was also a pain to have to get an Uber to help me take the case of water just 2 blocks down the street. This pitcher is also ideal if you are wanting to split costs with your roommate, you can both use it and pitch in for replacement filters. In the long run the Brita Filter can save you a ton of money!
- Cost: Around $20 depending on size, shape and style. Can be found at a local superstore like Target, Walmart or Amazon.
2. Noise Cancelling Headphones
Noise cancelling headphones are a great escape from the sounds and distractions that come with being in college. Whether you have an obnoxious artsy roommate who spends her time loudly singing and playing the guitar or you want peace and quiet in the library, noise cancelling headphones are your ticket to a sweet sound free release. My favorite pair are the Bose QuietComfort Headphones, and all though they do cost a pretty penny they are your best chance at a focused noise free study time. What’s really great about these headphones is that they are super comfortable and made to last, they also come with a compact case.
These headphones were a lifesaver during my first year of college, especially when I had to wear them to sleep to block out all the various sounds in the nearby hallway.
- Cost: Although Bose tends to run from $300+ there are cheaper ones out there. Can be found at a Best Buy or Amazon.
3. Mini Fridge
This one speaks for itself. A mini fridge or mini-microwave combo will make a world of difference especially when you are in a hurry and need to grab a quick snack or if you are pulling an all-nighter and the dining hall has closed. It’s always smart to have a well stocked fridge and/or microwaveable meals.
During my work days, I had to leave my dorm by 9am and had to quickly grab a snack from my fridge (conveniently placed near the door) and dashed out to get a good start to my day. So this dorm room must have is a no brainer and you can even split the costs with your roommates who will most likely be using it as well.
- Cost: Varies depending on size, style, and capacity. Most start around $80+. Can be found at your local superstore like Target, Walmart or on Amazon.
4. Dorm Room Decor
The picture above features some of my dorm room decorations for this past school year. Fixing up my dorm room was probably one of my favorites parts of the year. It’s your own personal little space that you can customize and organize from scratch even if it’s only for a short while. To make my room more “homey” I looked up dorm style trends and worked to put my own spin on it.
I bought a tapestry that featured the world map in ecletic colors and patterns which I think accurately symbolize my worldly personality. Above the tapestry I created a stringed up photo album of my favorite pictures of my parents, high school friends and my dog. I then commissioned a friend, an artist to create 4 CD’s art pieces based on my life journeys. They feature Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Florida, and finally NYU. These pieces worked hand in hand to tie my room together. My school also offered a free relaxing painting session where I created the portrait that says NYU, although not my best work it was relaxing and fun especially when I made it alongside good friends. I also like to have inspiring quotes and pictures of NYU/NYC.
Decorating your dorm room is such an exciting time, especially when everyone that walks in your room admires it and gives your praises to which you say “Oh this? This is just something I whipped up…” even though we all know it took at least a week to finish…But that can be our little secret 😉
- Cost: Priceless (Varies on how DIY savvy you are)
A fan is necessary to survive the first few months of living in your dorm (depending on where you live) because if you live anywhere that doesn’t get cold till December and your dorm building doesn’t turn on the AC for a few months….well then you’re going to have a tough time.
My fan has saved me countless times when the AC was either broken or turned off and a sudden blaze of hot days came pouring through the air.
- Cost: Varies based on size and power, but most can start at $10+ and can be found at your local superstore like Target or Walmart or on Amazon.
6. Office Accordion
You are an adult now..that means your parents will no longer be doing your bidding for you. A problem with the financial aid office? A health insurance screw up? An expired passport? Yup, that is your problem now! And what better way to seem like you are an organize adult with priorities than with an office accordion. It is a great tool to keep all your paperwork handy and in order.
I cannot count the number of times that I’ve had to go scouring through the jungle that is my stack of papers because the billing office called and they “didn’t get my scholarship check” even though I have the receipt that they received it. But lucky for me I have now become the master of “adulting” when it comes to organizing and have all my paperwork in order.
- Cost: $5+. Can be found at your local superstore like Target or Walmart or on Amazon.
7. Backpack Lock
A backpack lock can be something as simple as a clip, a keychain or a lock with a key. Doesn’t have to be anything too fancy. A backpack lock is useful for when you’re walking down the street or riding the subway, because although it won’t necessarily protect all your belongings it would alert you and if someone tries to open it because you feel the movement, and hopefully it would deter someone from even trying. It just adds another measure of safety to your everyday routines.
- Cost: Varies on style and use. Can be found at your local superstore like Target or Walmart or on Amazon.
8. HDMI Cord
An HDMI Cord is essentially a cord that uses an audio or visual port to for example connect a DVD player to a TV. I think it is essential to a college social life because most people use it to connect their laptops or video game consoles to the TV in the student lounge of your dorm. You wouldn’t believe how many times I had people come knock on my door asking me for a cord. This is the connectivity cord to your glowing social life in college. The Netflix marathoners and Football officials will thank you, hopefully with free snacks.
- Cost: You can find cords starting at $10 in at your local superstore like Target or Walmart or on Amazon.
A safe is always a good option to keep your valuables guarded. You never know what kind of roommate you are going to be placed with, they could be handsy or they might just like to leave the door open a lot (like my roommates did) and intruders can come creeping in. Some universities even offer safes to be placed (or are already placed) in your dorms. Either way it always a smart idea to keep your valuables (i.e. passport, SSN Card, wallet, etc) in your safe whenever they are not in use.
- Cost: Varies, but I have seen some safes starting as low as $25. Can be found at a local superstore like Target or Walmart or on Amazon.
10. Pepper Spray (If legal in your state)
Pepper Spray is a must have item when it comes to personal safety. Although I am not advocating violence or proclaiming something will happen, it is always best to be a step ahead. If you are walking home alone at night or riding the bus alone, you never know what could happen and you always want to be prepared. But be mindful this is not a toy and can seriously hurt someone. Also, this is not legal everywhere so check your state laws and university campus rules as well.
- Cost: $10+. Can be found on Amazon.
I hope this short guide inspired you to add a few more must have items to your shopping list. If you have any questions about college, scholarships, where to buy cool dorm equipment, best NYC spots to visit, contact me here. I wish you luck with your college move-in day and may the odds be ever in your favor!
If you would like my full dorm shopping list you can check it out here!