You might not actually sleep that much when you live in a dorm, but when you do, you’re going to want to have certain essentials.

Mattress Cover

teddy bear on a bed

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The odds that you’ll be getting a brand-new mattress that no one has ever slept in before are pretty much slim to none. Don’t overthink it.  

Instead, prepare and get a mattress cover. The Utopia Bedding Mattress Encasement has a zipper to make sure it’s sealed and protects you against bacteria, bed bugs, and dust mites. If you suffer from allergies, the Utopia mattress cover is hypoallergenic. It also has a material backing it so that it doesn’t sound like you’re sleeping on a plastic bag.  

They have Twin, and Twin XL sizes with deep pockets that are also waterproof, so if you have people over and someone spills something on your bed, it’s no big deal because your mattress will stay dry. The cover is machine washable, and you can throw it in the dryer, and at about $, it’s a bit of a steal.

Mattress Topper

Living on campus isn’t exactly cheap, but the colleges don’t seem to be spending that money on quality mattresses. Not to worry! To avoid sleeping on a potentially rock-hard mattress, invest in a mattress topper.

LinenSpa makes a memory foam topper that you can throw over your mattress, so you can sink into it after a long day of hitting the books. You can pick from two or three inches thick, and the foam has gel beads in it to regulate your bed’s temperature while you’re sleeping to keep you cool.


Chances are with so many people living in relatively close quarters, your dorm building might be kept cold to minimize the spread of germs. In some older dorms, you might not be able to control the temperature in your room so bring a warm comforter.

Comfort Spaces makes goose down alternative comforters that fit Twin and Twin XL beds and has super soft microfiber fabric that resists wrinkles and shrinking. The cover is reversible, so it’s like you’re getting two for the price of one.

You can choose from a variety of colors including:

  • Grey/Aqua
  • Charcoal/Purple
  • Navy/Red

This set comes with a sham cover too.


Why not upgrade your dorm room a little and get some luxury hotel-quality sheets? After getting your mattress cover, topper, and comforter, you’re going to want to round things out with a comfy sheet set. This HC Collection set comes with a fitted twin sheet with deep pockets, a flat sheet, and a pillowcase.

HC Collection sheets have quality microfibers that are supposed to be softer than Egyptian cotton, and they’re machine-washable, hypoallergenic, fade resistant, and wrinkle-free. They have a ton of colors you can pick from like lavender, white, and navy blue so that you can personalize your bedding to your tastes.

At just over $20, you can buy more than one set which will let you rotate while you wash the other one.


Bathing in the dorm is more like bathing at the gym than cleaning up at home, so be ready to bring a few more things with you to cut down how many trips you make to that bathroom down the hall.

Shower Caddy

towel rack in a shower

The Attmu Mesh Shower Caddy has a pocket for nearly everything you might need to bring to the bathroom with you. It’s a tote bag you can take into the shower with you and hang by the reinforced handle.

There are eight pockets around the exterior of the bag that you can use to carry:

  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Razors
  • Soap or body wash
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Lotion
  • Hairbrush or comb

The inner compartment is large to hold bigger items like a towel and bathrobe.

The Attmu tote resists mold, mildew, and is rustproof, so you don’t have to worry about it picking up gunk. You can get the basic black shower caddy or pick from green, blue, pink, or orange. They’re all under $10.

Shower Sandal

You’ll probably become great friends with your dorm mates and become really tight, but you should still wear sandals into the showers that you’ll be sharing with them. Nothing says gift that keeps on giving like athlete’s foot.

The Vertico Shower Sandal is specifically for world travelers and people who have to use public bathing spaces. These flip flops use a closed-cell construction to keep water out and cut back on the spread of fungi that you can pick up from a shower stall shared with others.

You can choose from black or blue, and they cost less than $.

Room Basics

It can be tempting to use the “chair” system and let your dirty clothes pile up on some random chair in your room, but remember you’re practicing being an adult, so spring for a hamper. Dokehom makes really cute and functional hampers for your dirty laundry that are collapsible which is always helpful for tight spaces like dorm rooms.

You can pick from colors like light blue, red, and dark grey, and large or extra-large sized baskets.

The Dokehom laundry basket has two aluminum handles covered by a soft rubber grip to make it easy to carry. The hamper is coated inside to make it waterproof so that if you have wet clothes in there, you don’t have to worry about leaks on the floor. However, don’t throw this bag into the washing machine because that will damage the waterproof coating.

You’ll probably want to personalize your room by hanging posters and pictures that let your new dorm mates know who you are, but most dorms don’t allow you to hammer nails and damage walls. With Command Decorating Strips, you can use clear or white strips to help you decorate your space.

The strips can hold items on tiled, cinder block, wood, laminate, and painted walls and have enough grip to them to prevent your decorations from sagging or falling. You can use them for hanging calendars, posters, canvas art, wall clocks, and mirrors.

Most dorm rooms don’t have full-length mirrors, so you’ll have to bring your own if you want to make sure your outfits are on point. You can hang a Mirrotek Over The Door Mirror behind the door to the room or inside your wardrobe if your room has built-ins. At seven and a half pounds, it’s lightweight which makes it easy to carry and move around if necessary.

The mirror comes with two wall mounts and two door hangers to give you the flexibility of deciding the best spot to put it in. The glass is shatterproof for safety purposes.

Most dorm rooms don’t have walk-in closets. If you’re a shoe lover, your best bet is to buy an expandable shoe rack to create some extra wardrobe space. Depending on your collection, Home-Complete makes shoe racks that have from two to eight tiers which can hold from 12 to 48 pairs of shoes, respectively.

You don’t need to be a handyman to put the rack together because you can do it without any tools and that’s probably part of the reason why these organizers are Amazon’s number one best seller in the category.

We all need tech in our lives, and tech requires power. Cell phones, laptops, tablets all need charging at some point. It’s possible that your dorm room might not have enough outlets or that some might be inconveniently located and hard to reach. Also, if you have a roommate, there go half of your outlets. To make sure that you can power everything, bring a power strip.

Belkin’s 12-outlet strip lets you plug in up to twelve devices and protects them from damage that might result from a power surge. With a cord that’s eight feet long, you can decide which outlet in your room is the most convenient for plugging in your things.    

No need to panic if you don’t check off everything from the college dorm checklist. If it turns out something is missing, nothing like a little retail therapy and overnight shipping to make things right. On the other hand, don’t be surprised if there are things you bring with you that you might never use.

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