Whether you’re a wide-eyed freshman or an experienced senior, moving into a residence hall is stressful. No matter how many times our parents reminded us to pack more than one towel, we still always managed to forget.
Since no one wants to admit to mom or dad that they were right all along (because you’re an adult and you can do adult things by yourself!), these are the essentials you’ll need to reassure them that you’ll be just fine on your own.
Welcome to almost-adulthood.
1. A shower caddy
No one wants to have to carry all of their hair care products, soaps, and razors from one room to another without the help of a bag to store it all in. Save yourself the inconvenience and grab a mesh caddy like the Attmu Mesh Shower Caddy. If you’re feeling colorful you can get a set of 3 Plastic Tote Caddie Baskets in red, blue, and green.
2. A anti-bed bug mattress protector
Hopefully most of us will never suffer through a bed bug infestation, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry. In the event of tragedy, a mattress cover like Hospitology Products Sleep Defense Mattress Encasement will protect your bed from bed bugs and water damage. You don’t need any unexpected visitors disrupting the little sleep you’ll get in college.
3. A mini fridge
You’ll definitely want to have your own space to store food and snacks. You can get a small fridge, like the RCA Mini Fridge, to avoid the whole, “Who ate my…” argument with roommates.
5. Flip-flops for communal bathrooms
Okay. Having a communal bathroom isn’t the worst living arrangement ever, but it’s definitely an adjustment. If you’re placed in a residence hall with a communal bathroom, you’ll absolutely need something to protect your feet from whatever could be lurking on the shower floor. Any pair of flip-flops will do. The ones shown above are Felistar Unisex Sandals.
6. Power strips
You can never have enough outlets, especially if you’re sharing a room with someone else. If you want to be fancy, SWEON Bed Risers actually come with power outlets and USB Ports on them. But if you want to keep it simple and cheap, a regular, yet colorful Kensington SmartSockets power strip works well, too.
Whether you’ll have a kitchen or not, utensils are a must. A set like the Stainless Steel Flatware Set by Utopia Kitchen lets you eat your ramen noodles and mac-and-cheese without any hassle.
8. A handheld vacuum
It’s when you’re finally on your own that you realize how much dust you’re capable of creating. A broom and dustpan can only do so much, so a small, hand-held vacuum like the Black+Decker Dustbuster Cordless Hand Vacuum will be your best friend during cleaning sprees.
9. A desk lamp
Without a doubt, you’re going to be up late at night doing work, either at the library or in your dorm room. If you end up pulling an all-nighter in your room, you’ll be grateful to have stylish source of light. The Damuly LED Desk Lamp is controlled with your touch and changes colors.
10. A shower curtain
If you’re truly lucky, you’ll have your own private bathroom — or you’ll be asked to share it with just a few others, and so you might need to bring a shower curtain. The Grey Stripe AmazonBasics Shower Curtain apparently resists mildew, which is pretty necessary for a bathroom used by multiple people.
You don’t fold dresses, buttons-down, or slacks and stuff them in a drawer— instead, you hang them in a closet like the adult you (almost) are. Avoid wrinkles and save precious drawer space by getting a 20-piece set, like these Anglink Velvet Hangers. Why velvet? Your clothes are less likely to slip and fall to the floor because the material has more grip.
12. A hamper
No one wants to see your dirty underwear out on the floor. Hampers are therefore an absolute must. A lightweight one like the Mesh Popup Laundry Hamper will hold all your dirty clothes, and can even folds up for easy portability.
13. A laundry bag
When I was a freshman, I witnessed someone make three trips from their room to the laundry and room in order to wash one load of clothing. This happened because they didn’t have a bag and carried everything by hand. Don’t be that person. A washable one like the MILACA Nylon Laundry Bag will make your life much easier.
14. A shoe organizer
Chances are you probably have a ton of shoes. Don’t worry though— a shoe organizer like the Simple Houseware Over the Door Hanging Shoe Organizer has pockets that great for storing shoes and other objects of your choosing. Plus, it’ll save you room.
16. A fan
Central air is a luxury — so chances are you won’t have it during your four years of college. If that’s the case, a small fan like the Genesis 6-Inch Clip-On Fan can be a decent substitute on unbearably hot days. (But really, where’s the AC?)
17. An air freshener
A room that smells nice is impactful, especially when entertaining guests. No one should ever have to spend time in a dorm room that reeks of unidentifiable odors. Do yourself — and your friends — a favor and get an air freshener, like the Glade PlugIn Oil Air Freshener. It’s worth the couple bucks of investment.
18. A Swiffer mop
How did we function as a society without the Swiffer? It can mop, it can sweep, it can even trick children into cleaning the house. You need one.
If you’re going to shower and be a functional human being, towels are a definite necessity. Get a big set of fluffy ones, like the 6-Piece Towel and Washcloth set.
20. A good attitude
Just be nice. Moving into a dorm is stressful enough as it is, and the adjustments that come after saying goodbye to your parents can be scary and emotional. Make it easy for everyone involved, and don’t forget to dust.