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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at CNU chapter.

With college season in full swing now, you might be realizing you’re missing some dorm necessities or maybe you haven’t even realized there are some key items you still need. We asked our members to share their “Random Dorm Must-Haves” to help you comfortably settle into your new place for the year.

Staying Cool is Key

When Ella thinks about her room must haves, her key is staying comfortable. “My number one must have is a fan! This may sound basic but it gets so hot and I think I’d die if I didn’t have my fan in my room. I think it’s also very important to have some fun decorations, lights, or things to remind you of home to make your dorm a safe space. College can be stressful, so having a space where you can feel comforted is great. Lastly, if you have a room with a bathtub, a tub tray to prop up your book or have a nice drink is my new favorite thing ever. It’s worth investing on in my opinion.”

Keep it lively

Sierra has a wonderful idea with plants and mental health tracking. “While there are probably a lot of practical things to bring, I’d say one of my top suggestions is to bring plants! They significantly brighten up the space and add a liveliness that other decorations just can’t. I also think they’re a useful tool to keep track of your mental health; I can often tell I’m stressed and need a vacation day if I consistently forget to water my plants. It’s an easy gauge to help you recognize if you’re forgetting to take care of yourself, which can definitely happen in college.”

Not for the faint of heart

Even though Brynne is new to campus, she’s ready to share some suggestions! “This is my very first year of college, I haven’t yet been here a month, and I can already attest to the fact that dorm living is not for the faint of heart. However, a few things have made my transition a little easier. Cute pictures from home are essential! I miss my family and hometown friends so much but having their faces around my room makes each day feel a little brighter. Another super important essential is a fan, a good fan to be specific. Dorms can get hot, especially at night, and a good box fan can work wonders. A mattress topper is another great dorm necessity. Because of my mattress topper, I have gotten some of the best sleep of my life in my Twin-XL. My final essential is a water purifier. It is so important to stay hydrated, especially in the heat of these final days of summer and a water purifier makes sure your water is clean and safe to drink!”

Smelling Fresh

Alauni reminds us of the importance of being cleanly and having a fresh smelling space. “Most people, especially freshmen, never really know what to bring to their dorm. Besides the obvious essentials (bedding, cleaning supplies, hygiene care), sometimes it’s good to have other little things that really make the room feel like home. One essential that has really made my dorm into home is a strong Frebreeze wall freshener that I already had at my parents house before I moved out. While that does sound trivial, the smell of home can calm your nerves and make the transition a whole lot easier over time.”

Useful and Practical

Luckily for us, Tiffany is here to remind us of some of the more practical dorm necessities. “Students are always told to have a good pair of shower shoes, bedding, or even a sturdy backpack, but there are just some things I wish I knew before moving into a dorm. I’ve narrowed it down to five essentials: 1) a reliable surge protector power strip because dorms can have very limited wall outlets; 2) a pocket multi tool from getting broken thumb tacks out of walls to cutting cardboard or using it as a pocket screwdriver; 3) plants, real OR fake so that there are something green and fresh to look at in your room during finals week; 4) a proper first aid kit in case of colds and cuts from the rocky sidewalks; and 5) some comfortable and noise-canceling headphones to distract you from your neighbors or get a good study sesh in.”

Floral Decor

According to Mia, flowers seem to be the way to go. “A random dorm must have is faux flowers. I love to reuse glass bottles that I have drank out of to create a sustainable and cute option for dorm decor. I first measure the glass bottle so I get the right sized flowers, then I hit the town and get an array of different flowers and create my own personal bouquet. I usually change the flowers with the season and decorate my bottle!”

beauty necessities

Lastly, Sophia shares some important things you might have missed on your packing list. “Of the random items that I’ve found to be so helpful, my number one is over-the-door hooks. I put these on my wardrobe doors as a way to organize and display my upcoming clothing choices; it’s so much simpler than digging through your closet every day to find the items you want, or awkwardly hanging them off of the door itself. I bought mine off of Amazon for a decent price– just make sure that when you’re ordering them, the over-the-door end of the hook is narrow enough to fit on the closet door (if they’re too wide, it makes the hook harder to use!). I’ve also been so appreciative of my makeup mirror and organizer. Trying to do your makeup while leaning across the sink can be annoying, especially given how little room is on the countertop for actual makeup products. I was lucky enough to be gifted a large clear makeup rack that stores all of my beauty products and fits nicely on my desk, as well as a makeup mirror featuring a ring light that has made my routine so much easier. The last dorm essential that I have to recommend is a six foot (or more) charger cord- this is a lifesaver. It prevents the hassle of having to lean off the side of your bed to reach your phone while it’s charging. I bought a super cheap one from Five Below over two years ago, and it still works perfectly to this day.”

Allison is a Junior at Christopher Newport University, studying Psychology and Leadership Studies. She enjoys reading, writing poetry, and listening to Alt Rock music. Find her on insta @allibryan
Tiffany's a senior studying psychology with a double minor. On campus, she's a part of Student Honor Council and the Student Sustainability Commission. In her free time, she's usually trying new food places with friends, cooking, or hitting the gym! You can check her out on Instagram @tiffy_ni
Sierra is a 2023 alumna and former president of the Her Campus at Christopher Newport University chapter. She primarily covers topics surrounding mental health and personal growth, sometimes dabbling in the analysis of cultural trends and fashion, as well. Sierra received a B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Childhood Studies, and is currently working towards completing her Master’s in Speech-Language Pathology. In addition to writing for Her Campus, her work has also been featured in The Cupola, CNU’s undergraduate research journal. In her free time, Sierra loves thrift shopping, going on Target runs, and caring for her many plants.