Shopping for your first dorm room isn’t easy, especially if you’re a guy who isn’t into spending a day at the store. Trying to pack for a weekend trip is difficult enough without forgetting something vital and kicking yourself later. Now imagine how much worse it gets for someone moving out on their own for the first time ever. Do away with long, tedious lists of every minute trinket you need for your room, down to the individual paperclip and necessary highlighter colors. With this list of 12 must-have dorm room essentials for guys, you’ll be able to breeze through the aisles and get everything you need as painlessly as possible.
1. Stylish Bedding
Your bed is the focal point of your dorm room. You’ll need extra-long sheets, a comforter, and pillows to start. You probably have all this on your bed at home already. However, a new bed with a potentially low-quality mattress can add extra necessities. If you’re at all concerned about comfort, you should add on a mattress pad and some throw blankets. The Black and Black Easton Comfort Pak gets you all you need in one bag. This deal in particular comes with the added bonus of towels and washcloths (so you’ll be able to check off item two on this list while you’re at it).
2. Towel Sets and Robe
You’ll need at least two sets of towels (more if you don’t plan on doing laundry once a week), and you’ll also want a robe to get you from the communal bathroom back to your dorm. Some guys aren’t as into the robe life. For them we’d likely try getting an extra-big towel instead to make sure you’re all wrapped up when out and about in your dorm hallways. We recommend picking towels that are easy to wash but also feel a bit luxurious. There’s no reason to be miserable with scratchy towels when a few extra bucks can make such a difference.
3. Shower Essentials and Caddy
The most basic shower supplies are your shampoo and conditioner. There are also loofahs, face wash, toothpaste, and brushes. Having two of everything will save you a trip to the store when you run out. You will also need something to carry all that stuff from the dorm to bathroom. That’s why waterproof caddies and carriers are best. Try to find one that has holes to let water out. This way you won’t end up with a little pond ecosystem growing where you left standing water next to your toothbrush. It’s also worthwhile to think about the things you take for granted in your bathroom at home, like nail clippers, Q-tips, or band-aids.
4. Kitchen and Dining Gear
Check your dorm rules to see if you can bring a microwave, coffee maker, rice cooker, mini-fridge, electric water kettle, etc. Even for guys with a meal plan, you’ll probably want the fridge to keep leftovers from the cafeteria. You’ll also want at least 2 sets of dishware, flatware, and glasses. Sticking to disposable cafeteria forks is all fine and good, until you decide to get food delivered one night and find that your delivery person forgot to grab you a set of utensils. A few dishes won’t take up much room in your dorm, and they’ll be more useful than you’ll probably expect.
5. Area Rug
Dorm rooms are notoriously drafty. An area rug to match your bedding that’s also easy to upkeep can keep your feet warm and bring your dorm room look together. Go for something soft and comfortable, but have a plan in place to clean it at some point. You may not be bringing a vacuum with you, so what’s the plan for washing if you spill barbecue chip crumbs on your nice rug? Have at least some idea of what you’ll do to keep your man cave from getting sty-like.
6. Comfy Seating
Fitting a full-size couch is probably not going to happen when your dorm is the size of a closet. But you can go with trunks and ottomans that don’t take up much space and look great. If you play your cards right, you can get yourself a piece that doubles as a storage container to utilize your space even better. Sometimes you can get sick of sitting on your bed all the time, or you’ll want something to prop up your feet while working at your desk for hours on end. Something versatile and compact like an ottoman can be a great addition to your dorm room.
7. Favorite Tech
For those of us who prefer to game on a console rather than our PCs, feel free to bring along your system and collection. This can get tricky, since you’re going to need to budget space for a TV hookup and seating. However, if you’re dedicated enough, you’ll take the hit and make it work. Printers are optional and usually unnecessary, since your college will have printers available to use at a low cost. But you’ll definitely want a laptop, USB, extra chargers, or portable battery packs. You should also have a few extra pairs of headphones on hand too. Another consideration, however, is having some sort of way to guard your expensive tech—think a digital safe or a discreet place under the bed to store away your goods. Now is also a good time to take a good, hard look at your security on your PC. Chances are you’ve been ignoring those McAfee popups telling you that your malware protection has expired. A university filled with rowdy kids studying STEM is the perfect place to get hacked. As you leave the nest, invest in some long-term, high-quality security for your devices.
8. Bedside Organizers
You’ll most likely spend most of your time in your dorm in your bed. You want everything within arms-reach (so you never, ever have to move from your napping position) but you don’t want your devices sprinkled all about your bed. Grab a bedside organizer that holds your books, phone, noise-canceling headphones, and other bedtime necessities. This is also a great place to attach your charger hookup so you can seamlessly plug in your phone at night, every night without fail.
9. Desk and Study Supplies
Organization doesn’t stop at the bed. Keep your desk a productive space with supplies like a stapler, rubber bands, paper clips, and pens. Unlike in high school, you can’t borrow these from your teacher or that drawer in your house that somehow has both AA batteries and tiny binder clips. Don’t forget, though: your desk at school has the potential to become just like that weird drawer in your kitchen. Have a plan to organize your stuff long-term, maybe with an organizer you can slide right into a drawer to separate out all your supplies.
10. Lighting Options
Dorm rooms with limited window light can transform from a temple for productivity to a dank gamer-cave. Having the right lighting is a must, and sometimes the yellowish ceiling light that comes with the room just doesn’t cut it. Standing lamps, bedside/desk clip lights, and reading light attachments for textbooks are a good start. You may want to spruce up your room with hanging lights for an extra touch of style, though you don’t need to make a whole carpentry project out of it if you don’t feel like it. Just have a few extra, convenient light sources around and you’ll likely be set.
11. Hampers and Laundry Essentials
You’ll need to get your laundry done by yourself. Grab yourself a large laundry bag or standing hamper and stock it up with detergent, dryer sheets, and stain spray. If you like your clothes neat and tidy, an iron and mini-sized ironing board should also be on your list. This may sound excessive, but think about it. Chances are your one good button-down is going to be wrinkly on that one day you have to go to the career fair. Have a de-wrinkling plan in place ahead of time so you don’t have to panic five minutes before hand. Also, now is a good time to learn how to do laundry. Don’t be part of the negative stereotype that is the college freshman who can’t wash his clothes. Have that awkward talk with your mom. Or better yet, just watch a video online.
12. Extra Storage
You’re probably wondering where you’re going to put all this stuff – no worries! With under the bed and closet storage, you can keep everything out of the way. Or, go with a trunk where you can store your items while still looking like it belongs in your dorm. As we mentioned before, this type of piece is also great to double as extra seating if you’d prefer not to tuck it away under your bed.
No need to stress about every little thing to bring to school. How could you when we made the perfect list for you? Just bring yourself, your brain, and your zest for life. And also an extra phone charger. It’s about to be the best four years of your life! Study hard and have a good time.