If you’re heading off to college (or even just living on your own for the first time), you’ll need more than a cat, a rat, or a toad when you get there. Apologies to non-Potterphiles for that reference. You already know you’ll need those long bed sheets and shower shoes and maybe a mini fridge, but here are 10 unexpected dorm items you may not have thought of that will surely come in handy…
Noise-cancelling headphones or ear plugs
Whether it’s a snoring roommate, noisy distractions while studying, or just a general need to be artificially alone once in a while, noise-cancelling headphones or ear plugs can are the best. The headphones especially are great because it’s also a visual cue to anyone around that you’re check out for a bit. These Bose headphones are stellar, or these for a more budget-friendly option.
A foldable drying rack
I don’t dry much of anything other than socks and undies these days, and there may not be any facilities to lay your clothes out to dry. They make really light and foldable ones that you can hide under your bed or slide next to your desk.
A streaming device
You’ll probably do a lot of your Netflixing on your laptop, but sometimes you’ll want to be social and watch something with friends. That’s when you’ll need either a streaming device (like Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire Stick, or Chromecast) or an HDMI cable. Some TVs come with casting built-in, but if not, you’ll all set to marathon old Golden Girls episodes with some friends and cheese sticks.
A portable speaker
Similarly, sometimes you’ll want to lure in new dorm friends with some tunes, a comedy podcast, or your own musical stylings from Soundcloud. We’ll let you make the judgment call on that last one. Either way, you’ll want something to cast to, like a Bluetooth portable speaker. They’re also easy to transport to parties or other rooms. This one is great.
A bedside organizer
One thing there is NO guarantee of seeing in a dorm room is a nightstand. They’re just not a standard offering, especially in those tiny efficiency-style rooms that are so common. You’ll want a place to store your phone, glasses, a book, and maybe a bottle of water when you’re sleeping or laying in bed (which you’ll do a lot when seating is limited).
I like this one since it has a bottle holder AND a USB charger and slides right under your mattress!
Living with someone else in close quarters (especially if you’re both rolling out of bed at the last minute to head to class) means that it’ll get RIPE fast. Grab some all-purpose cleaner in a nice scent, some paper towels (or better yet, reusable ones!), and maybe some Febreze to keep things smelling nice.
Tabletop and card games have gotten wildly popular and college is not immune to its charms. Bring along your compact favorites like Cards Against Humanity, Exploding Kittens, Secret Hitler, Werewolf, or Never Have I Ever.
A boot tray
If you’ll be living in a cold or rainy area, a boot tray is almost a necessity. Otherwise get ready to be cleaning up dirty snow prints all winter long. There’s no mud room in a dorm room.
A Halloween costume
It’s college, there will BE a Halloween party to attend if that’s your thing. If you don’t already have one stored away, there are tons of easy to pack and store ones to find. Be prepared so you don’t have to Google a costume store at the last minute or have to repurpose a kid’s costume from a big box store. Or maybe that sounds hilarious actually?
An external hard drive or computer backup system
Don’t be like me and lose a bunch of your senior project to a file corruption issue. Keep an external hard drive up-to-date or invest in a file backup system like one of these. Costumes and Netflixing are awesome, but homework is necessary.
Add to this list! What unexpected dorm items did you pack?