Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

Are you a smart and savvy pre-collegiette looking for answers to some of your most personal questions about college? You know, the ones about boys, classes, roommates and parties that your school’s guidance office can’t help you with? Jen is here to answer those questions! Whatever your concern, she’ll do her best to help you so you can make sure you don’t just survive college, but rock it!

What kinds of dorm essentials should I buy? –Jazzmin


There are so many dorm essentials to purchase before your first year of college starts, but thankfully, a lot of your appliances and home décor items will last you all four years. However, it’s really hard to remember every little thing you need to pack when you’re already stressing about all of your new adjustments! Luckily, Her Campus has made it easy to prepare for packing for college with our handy Ultimate College Packing List, which includes a giant list of essentials you should bring to college (broken up by category) so you don’t forget to pack anything important!

The following items aren’t absolutely essential, but they’re great to have to make your place feel more like home and allow you to organize your space effectively. Here are a few items I’d make sure you put on your list:

1. Bed risers

If your bed isn’t bunked, use a set of bed risers to prop up your bed frame. In doing so, you’ll create an incredible amount of extra under-bed storage space, which will prove to be helpful due to the small size of your new abode. The more space to stash your things, the better!

2. Wall decorations

Nothing makes a dorm room feel more like home than having decorated walls. Hanging up photographs of your best friends and your family will prevent homesickness and will give you something to talk about when you have friends over. In addition, picking out posters of your favorite actors, movies or causes to hang up will help show your new friends your interests and passions. Maybe you’ll find someone to watch Game of Thrones with!

3. White Christmas lights

A college staple, white Christmas lights are simple, yet inviting and comfortable. These lights work well for movie nights with friends or when you want to read or study, since the harsh lighting from standard dorm-room lights is often way too strong. 

4. Microwavable macaroni and cheese and on-the-go snacks

For the nights when you have so many assignments that you can’t even think about leaving your dorm to eat at the dining hall, having a couple cups of macaroni and cheese will be clutch. Some extra little snacks are helpful as well to take with you when you’re on your way to class.

5. Paper towels

Paper towels are great to have on hand when sharing snacks with friends, cleaning your room and painting your nails.

6. Bedrest pillow

A cozy bedrest pillow is a trusted companion for when you want to curl up in your bed to read a magazine without sinking into your mattress. There are so many designs and colors on the market, so you’ll be able to find one that matches your room and personality perfectly. Check out Target or Bed Bath & Beyond for some cute and affordable pillows.

7. Shower caddy

A shower caddy allows you to easily transport all of your necessary toiletries from your room to the bathroom without dropping or losing any of your belongings.


It’s normal to forget to bring an essential or two, especially if you’ve never lived in a dorm before. Even though this is true, don’t worry about it, since you can pick up anything else you realize you need at a Target, Walmart or drugstore near your school. If worse comes to worse, you can also have your parents mail you some necessities in a care package.

Don’t be too hard on yourself if you find you haven’t packed every little thing, since you’ll learn along the way what you truly need and what you don’t need! Then, every year of packing for college gets easier because you begin to pack less and less once you know what your needs are.

Fill out my online form.
Jen is a 2016 graduate of Messiah College, where she majored in journalism and minored in gender studies. She's a proud Bostonian who is obsessed with tattoos, puppies, magazines and Sephora. She's been reading Her Campus since high school and was thrilled to join the HC team as a National Contributing Writer in September 2013. She became an HC Beauty Blogger in February 2014 and continued to write on-trend beauty posts until July 2016. A few highlights from her time writing for HC included attending and writing about two BeautyCon events and Cosmopolitan's Fun Fearless Life in 2015. You can follow her on Twitter @JenFlanagan14 and on Instagram @jenlea14.