20 Essential Items for Your Dorm Room

There are so many “what you need for your dorm room” lists out there, but they are so long and you often find yourself thinking, “Will I really need that?” What items are essential and what items are unnecessary? Here are twenty items you ACTUALLY need for your first year in Blacksburg, according to students who have done it first. Most of the titles are linked to Amazon listings hand-picked by students so click on those and check them out!

Item #1: A power strip or two

Small dorm rooms have limited space and a limited number of outlets. As college students, we need as many outlets as we can get. Sometimes your laptop, phone, and headphones all die when you have a quiz due in five minutes. You will need to bring a power strip with multiple outlets. In my second year, I brought two power strips and I consistently used every single outlet. 

Item #2: Mini-fridge

This is absolutely essential! 

Item #3: Microwave

Small microwaves are generally inexpensive and they don’t take up a lot of space. You can stick it on top of your fridge.

Item #3: A large Brita, or any water filtration pitcher

Filling it up is quick and easy, and it makes the water taste so much better. They are also very cheap.

Item #3: Long phone charger

Chances are, the closest outlet to your bed will not be that close, especially if you have a lofted bed. You need a long charging cord; ten feet long is probably the best length. It is much more convenient to have a cord that is very long and versatile.

Item #4: Shower caddie and shower shoes

A shower caddie will help you conveniently transport all your shower things to the bathroom in one trip. As for the shower shoes, communal showers are disgusting, and you do not want to be barefoot.

Item #5: A thick mattress pad

It gives you that extra cushion for comfort! I’d recommend something memory foam and pretty thick.

Item #6: Noise-cancelling headphones

Sometimes, people choose the exact wrong time to be loud, like the night before an exam. Noise-canceling headphones will help you block out unnecessary sounds.

Item #7: Command hooks

Since we are not allowed to put nails or holes in the walls, command hooks are every college student’s go-to when it comes to hanging and mounting their things. Bring a few big packs, you will definitely use them.

Item #8: Febreeze, or any kind of scented spray

Sometimes the air quality of dorms is not the best. Some scented spray can help it smell a little better.

Item #9: Basic medical supplies, and Advil, NyQuill, and Tylenol

You will get a lot of headaches and random bouts of sickness in college. Make sure you have the medicine necessary to help you push through and submit that assignment on time!

Item #10: Laptop USB hub

These are so useful! You can plug a camera memory card in there, connect your laptop to a TV, and do so much more with a USB hub.

Item #11: Side table for your bed

If your bed is lofted, get a clip-on side table to put your phone, charger, and whatever else you need on it.

Item #12: Easy to clean utensils and plates

Having a few plates and utensils around is great for when you eat leftovers or try to cook something. Plastic is super easy to clean!

Item #13: Hand sanitizer

Dorms are dirty, and hand sanitizer comes in handy when washing your hands is not an option.

Item #14: Husband pillow

Even though the worst name is quite strange, husband pillows are so useful. They provide support for your back wherever you decide to sit, and you are going to need that support!

Item #15: Flash drive

You absolutely need to purchase a flash drive for college, especially if you plan on printing anything. 

Item #16: Laptop compressed air cleaner or slime for keyboard

Your laptop gets dirty for no reason. A laptop cleaner or some slime really helps get the dust out of the smallest nooks and crannies.

Item #17: Whiteboard

Whiteboards are great for both academic and fun purposes! You can use them to work out equations, or just to write down your plans for the day. They’re inexpensive and useful.

Item #18: Tide pods, not detergent

You are not going to want to deal with laundry detergent. Tide Pods are so easy to use and very portable.

Item #19: Snacks

Some days, you are lazier than others. Bring some of your favorite snacks for the days where you do not want to leave the comfort of your dorm.

Item #20: Desktop file and pen organizer

These can hold your papers, your pens, and other odds and ends you may have lying around. It makes everything look neat and organized.

Bonus Item #21: Pepper spray

If you’re a girl, make sure to bring some mace or pepper spray. A keychain one will do! If you ever get into a bad situation, you have an easily accessible, potent weapon to defend yourself.


Those are the 20 most essential items that you absolutely have to bring for your first year of college. If you purchase all these things, your life in college will be so much easier. Most of these things are relatively inexpensive and available almost anywhere. Check out the Amazon links and make some smart purchases! Go Hokies!


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