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There’s a lot to think about when you’re heading off to college for your freshman year, especially if it’s your first time leaving home. But while your college packing list should be top of mind, it shouldn’t cause you too much stress. Stores like Bed Bath & Beyond and Target have sections dedicated to everything you need for dorm life. However, there are a few dorm room essentials that are simply genius — and they need to be on your list.
Adding extra storage with things like over-the-door hooks and fabric storage bins is a given. However, you may want to wait and see your room before you buy any big closet organizers or shoe racks to make sure it all fits. In the meantime, you can check out these 15 things that will make life easier at school. You’ll definitely have room to bring them, and you’ll be thankful you did.
1. Over the Bed Storage Shelf, $95.99
Storage is important, especially when you’re living with a roommate in maybe a smaller space than you’re used to. You’ll need a place to put your things out of your roomie’s way, and one great way to do that is with over-the-bed shelving. By adding storage vertically against a wall, you won’t take up any precious floor space. Use it to store makeup, books, photos from home or whatever else you want.
2. Bed Risers, $18.99
Your bed presents a lot of storage opportunities. To tuck things out of the way and out of sight, get yourself a set of bed risers. The extra height adds more room for storage bins and things below. But, the risers won’t make it so high that you have to take a running start to jump up to your bed.
3. Storage Ottoman, $17
A chic ottoman can provide a place for new friends to sit in your dorm room, but this one doubles as a storage bin (of course). Toss throw blankets or extra linens inside the ottoman, and if your bed sits up high enough with the risers, you can even slide it under there when you’re not using it.
4. Dictionary Book Safe, $15.99
As much as you hope everyone in your dorm is trustworthy, it doesn’t hurt to have a safe for storing your passport, cash, jewelry or anything else you want to protect. This small safe looks like a dictionary, so you can tuck it in with your other books, and no one will know your secret hiding spot.
5. Bath Body Towel Wrap, $10
Avoid any towel malfunctions while running back to your room from the shared bathroom down the hall with a Velcro towel wrap. Not only are they larger and longer than the average towel, but they are also much more absorbent than a traditional bathrobe. Put it on as soon as you hop out of the shower, and you’re good to go.
6. Light-Up Vanity Mirror, $69.99
“This dorm room has great lighting!” — said no one ever. For putting on makeup, you may want a light-up vanity mirror that you can keep on your desk. With multiple people using a shared bathroom, the mirror space can get pretty overcrowded (not to mention pretty steamy from all the showers). Having your own mirror will definitely be useful.
7. Twin XL Therapedic “Ice Cube” Mattress Topper, $137.99 (Orig. $229.99)
College mattresses aren’t going to be the most comfortable things you’ve ever slept on. It is what it is. But, you can make your sleeping situation infinitely better by getting a thick mattress topper. This one is a fluffy pillow top mattress pad, and it’s cooling, so if you don’t have an AC in your room or you have a roommate who hates turning it on, you can sleep sweat-free.
8. Bearaby Cotton Napper Weighted Blanket, $249+
College is fun! But, meeting new friends, harder classes, busy schedules and being away from home can be stressful. Relax and unwind at the end of the day with a weighted blanket that’s also stylish. Weighted blankets are meant to feel like a gentle hug or cuddle, and in turn, could help you sleep better.
9. Mini-Fridge Cabinet, $125.99 (Orig. $139.99)
Here’s another storage solution: a mini-fridge cabinet. Tuck your mini fridge inside and use the extra shelving and cabinet space to store a microwave, coffee machine, dishes, utensils and even food. Sure, there are dining halls for main meals, but you can use the extra storage space for snacks and Easy Mac whenever hung strikes.
10. Keurig K-Mini Plus, $60 (Orig. $99.99)
Coffee is the fuel that keeps college students going, right? However, if you don’t want to spend a lot of money at Starbucks or the campus coffee shop, make your own before class with a mini Keurig in your dorm room. Or say you’re burning the midnight oil studying for an exam — you can make a cup of coffee to help you stay awake without changing out of your PJs. (P.S. This mini Keurig comes in multiple colors.)
11. Peel-and-Stick Floral Wallpaper, $34
You can give your room some extra life and more personality with easily removable peel-and-stick wallpaper. It’s like a decal, so it’s non-damaging to your walls, unlike traditional wallpaper. Use it to create an accent wall or go nuts and decorate the whole room with it. You can also use it to decorate drawers on your IKEA dresser or bed’s headboard. You can find all kinds of peel-and-stick wallpaper at Target for under $40 a roll.
Candles are usually a no-no in most residence halls (check your school’s rules). However, if you’re a big candle person, there’s a solution. You can use room spray or plug-ins to alter the scent and these flameless battery-operated candles to set the mood. These electric candles feel relaxing but won’t run the risk of burning down your dorm room. Use them as is or tuck them into decorative candle hurricanes.
13. Compact Air Purifier, $64.99
And when it comes to scents, as there are a lot of different people living in a residence hall, that usually comes with a lot of….different smells. Maybe you don’t like the smell of the guy down the hall’s body spray or your roommate’s lunch leftovers. Not to mention, with the risk of COVID-19, you may want to make sure you’re keeping your air extra clean. The solution is to get an air purifier. This compact one is perfect for rooms up to 41-square feet, and it reduces allergens, dust, pollen smoke and odors.
14. Bedside Caddy Pocket, $14.99
If you don’t have enough room for a bedside table, get this bedside caddy pocket for tucking away your phone, laptop, books and more. When you’re tired, the last thing you want to do is get out of bed to put your computer away — so don’t!
15. Command Medium Picture-Hanging Strips, $4.99
Most dorms have a no-nail policy, or it’s just frowned upon to put a bunch of holes in a room you’ll only live in for a year. But don’t fret: To hang pictures and other wall decors, you can use Command strips. They’ll be easy to remove when you’re ready to move out, but they’re strong enough to hold your things up throughout the school year. Command also makes decorative hooks for hanging jackets, bags, towels and more.
If you liked this story, you might also enjoy upgrading your desk with Page Eleven’s stationery.
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