After attending a residential high school, I’ve learned about dorm essentials that are extremely useful but often overlooked. Here are some of them that you should consider having. 

1. First-Aid Kit

Although you will have access to a nurse and other medical facilities on campus, it's still important to have a first-aid kit, which only costs $11.99, in your dorm room. I’ve only had to use mine a couple of times, but each time, I was grateful to have the band-aids, ointment and other necessary materials. You’ll be grateful to have it, too.

2. Full-Length Mirror

This may be an obvious essential for some people, but others may find it not so obvious. Either way, it’s useful to have a full-length mirror, despite how many other mirrors may already be in the room. With a full-length mirror, you can check your outfits and do things more freely without having to lean over the bathroom sink. This item only costs $14.99!

3. Power Strip

Power strips, also known as surge protectors, turn one electrical outlet into many different ports, making it easier to keep all of your electronics plugged into one place. It’s easier to keep cords from tangling together and power strips also protect your electronics from burning out. You can get a two-pack of power strips from Target for only $8.49.

4. Flashlight

Like the first-aid kit, you likely won’t use your flashlight often, but in the situations where you do, you’ll be glad you have it. Although your phone flashlight may be sufficient in some cases, what happens when your phone is out of battery? In those cases, a flashlight will come in handy. This two-pack only costs $5.29!

5. Clip-On Light

Depending on how your room is structured, light may not reach all areas that you need. In my dorm room, I didn’t get a lot of light in my bed, so I just used a clip-on light to read books in my bed. A clip-on light is also helpful for when your roommate is sleeping – instead of turning on a desk light, you can just use a clip-on light. Browse the many different clip-on lights available at Target, like this one for $21.00.

6. Floor Lamp

Another seemingly obvious essential, but a surprising amount of people forget to bring a floor lamp or forgo having one. I included it here because it is imperative to have a floor lamp, from personal experience. Depending on the arrangement of your room, you may or may not have a ceiling light that can reach all areas of your room. My ceiling light only lit up the area near the door, so it wasn’t very useful for lighting up any of the areas that we actually needed like our desks or wardrobes. Having a floor lamp easily solves this problem and because of its mobility, you can change the placement of the floor lamp based on your specific needs. But make sure your dorm allows it before buying one! You can get this five-head floor lamp from for only $19.99!

7. Towel Rack

Whether you have a private bathroom or have to share a communal one, having a towel rack will make it much easier and faster for you to dry your towel after showering. Even if your room has built-in towel racks, you may want to consider getting an additional one, given that some people tend to use more than one towel at a time. Get this one for $24.99!

8. Bathroom Storage

If you’re lucky enough to have a private bathroom, it’s convenient to have storage space in the bathroom. That can come from a storage rack above the toilet, like this one for $59.99.

Or, you can use bins that can roll in and out of the bathroom, like these, which cost $24.99.

For those of you with communal bathrooms, don't forget a shower caddy! This one costs $8.99.

9. Snack Bin

Instead of having food just laying around the room in random places, it’s more effective to have all of your snacks in one snack bin. With the snack bin, you’ll always know where your snacks are, and it’ll help keep the bugs away, too! This one costs $5.99 and comes in many different colors and designs.

10. Coffee Maker

I personally don’t drink too much coffee, but I have a friend who used to live off of coffee. Even though she drank it so often, she didn’t have a coffee maker until senior year. Having it was so much more convenient for her. If you want to bring one, make sure that your school doesn’t have regulations against them. You can buy this one for only $14.99!

While you’ll have more to worry about than a few forgotten dorm essentials your first weeks in college, I hope these essentials will help make your life a lot easier.  

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