Justin's dorm essentials

Justin Verlinden
Justin Verlinden
August 19, 2019

As you start moving into your dorm room and begin your four-year collegiate journey, you may find yourself realizing that you pushed things off way too long and are woefully unprepared to move in. 

It turns out that you need more than just your TV and PS4. Like a lot more. Who knew?

While I could give you hundreds of potentially useful items for your dorm room, here’s a list of the essentials you may not have thought of. These can help make life easy for you and your roommate and make your dorm room the hangout spot on the floor. 

*Before I begin, it’s important to look up what items your school allows/provides. Don’t waste your money on something the school already gives you or doesn’t allow.*

White power strips/surge protectors


Power Strip 
Think about all the electronics you and your roommate will have. Phones, laptops, TV, gaming system(s), microwave, fridge, and any other small electronic devices or appliances. 

You’ll quickly realize your demand for outlets far outweighs the supply, making this item a must have.

First Aid Kit/Medicine 
You’re living in close proximity to others so chances are, if someone gets sick, you will too. 

To prevent yourself from missing too much class, have some basic cold medicine available to use. Also bring a first aid kit because, well, minor accidents are bound to happen. 

You’ll need a comfy place to sit while you watch TV or play video games, so get some furniture for you and your guests to use. You won’t have room for a full-sized couch so stick to something smaller and simpler such as a futon or bean bag chair.


Swiffer mop

Cleaning Supplies 
Don’t be a slob. Your roommate won’t like it, your friends won’t like it, and your parents definitely won’t like it. Have simple cleaning supplies available to keep things tidy, such as a small vacuum or dust mop.


Air freshener


Air Freshener 
Keep your room smelling good. Everyone will thank you for it.

Hamper/Extra Storage 
In line with keeping your room clean, keep your clothes in a hamper, not on the floor. Also, do research on how much space you’ll have for clothes (Augustana provides both a dresser and a closet). If you feel like you won’t have enough, bring extra containers to keep your clothes in.

Shower caddy

Shower Caddy 
Carrying all of your shower supplies back and forth from the bathroom can be a handful. Make it easy on yourself and store them all in a shower caddy.

Wall Decorations
Don’t leave your walls bare. Your dorm room is your home for the next year, so take some time to make it feel that way. Some common decorations are posters, pennants, flags and tapestries. 


Command strips

Command Strips
You’ll need something to hang those wall decorations, and most colleges won’t allow you to use nails. Command strips are the most reliable option.

bedside table

Small Table Tray 
If you eat in your room, having a small tray will be super convenient. Some can even be mounted to the railing of a bed if you want to eat in bed.

You and your roommate may be on different sleep schedules so, rather than keeping one of you awake with the lights on, turn them off and do your work under the light of a small lamp. 


Single-serve Keurig coffee maker

If you’re a coffee drinker (and if you’re not already, then you will be in college), having a Keurig or any other coffee maker is super convenient. Funny side note: My freshman year, a friend of mine used his Keurig to sell cups of coffee to other people on his floor. Business majors take note.

Not only can they be stylish, your feet will thank you during the winter.

Save yourself a trip to the bathroom and just put a mirror in your room.

TV/Gaming System(s)
This is pretty much a given. And the more the merrier!

With these items, you’ll be set and ready to have a great first year of college! Now that you have a list of the basics, you might be interested in finding out how to get everything you need on a budget.

Justin Verlinden
Justin Verlinden

Justin graduated in 2020, double majoring in biology and neuroscience with a minor in creative writing. He conducted research at Baylor College of Medicine, where he investigated the use of several brain imaging scans to detect early structural and functional differences in young mice with Alzheimer's, with the hope of eventually developing an early diagnostic tool for the disease. He currently is pursuing a Ph.D. in cognitive neuroscience at the University of Kentucky.