Our 10 Fave Dorm Essentials

August 17, 2022


AAAH, it’s MOVE IN DAY! Whether it’s your first time living in a dorm or you’re returning to campus after a long summer, your packing list is probably super long. We’re here to help cut out the crap and find what you really need. Then maybe mom will stop complaining about how you’re such a packrat. Okay, maybe not. Worth a try! 

Space is tight in dorm rooms, so let’s get down to the essentials. Because what’s worse than living in a tiny box? Living in a tiny box WITHOUT a fuzzy blanket.

These unfiltered recommendations from the HandsDown community will simplify dorm living and let you focus on what’s REALLY important in college: flirting with your neighbor, throwing an awesome party, and skipping class to hang on the lawn… uh, I mean, cherishing your education (sorry, mom!).

For when you share a shower with twenty other people:

3D Extremely Comfy Sootheez Slippers

Recommended by Angela, who says:

Yes I gave into the endless Instagram ads, but holy moly these are comfy. I feel like I am on a cloud and this mama needs it. I have a pair for inside and a pair I wear in the world. I never was to stand barefoot again.

Seriously though, if you value your life, don’t stand barefoot in the shared shower. Godspeed.

For your unimaginably small closet:

Clear Stackable Large Shoe Drawer

Recommended by Rebecca, who says: 

These are such a life saver. I use them to store and organize everything from cleaning and office supplies to makeup and skincare. They come in a bunch of sizes (I prefer the medium shoe boxes) and have inserts to sectionalize the interior.

It’s about being a minimalist while optimizing storage to squeeze every item you own into the dorm room. A delicate balance.

For hydrating the morning after your TOTALLY RESPONSIBLE night of partying:

Hydroflask 32oz Wide Mouth Bottle

Recommended by Sonia, who says: 

Seems obvious but I love this water bottle because I feel like I drink 2x more thanks to the straw. The bumper is great, the entire thing is easy to clean, and at 32oz it’s big but not a pain to carry around.

Just imagine this bottle completely covered in weird stickers. Because you’re cool! And unique! And stickers = personality!

For snuggling up and watching TV while avoiding studying:

Oversized Primalush Throw Blanket

Recommended by Valerie, who says: 

So cozy and soft. Use it everyday!

Ah yes, I too avoid studying everyday. 

For visiting your best friend down the hall at 2AM:

Kyoto Slides from Skin

Recommended by Nora, who writes:

These slides are cute af, cushion-y as can be and they keep my soles soft and protected from all of the awful splinters my old NYC apartment floor has to offer.

This is the perfect pair of slip-on shoes for your trek to the communal laundry room… located in the darkest depths of the dorm basement.

For being a human when you truly don’t feel like one:

Starbucks Iced Coffee

Recommended by Frank, who says: 

Sorry, not sorry, but Starbucks has the best iced coffee. They brew it, they chill it, and when ready to order, they pour over ice. It’s not hot coffee over ice diluting your drink like those small shops. You can specify how much sugar (if any) in it. You can mobile order on app or pay on app to earn rewards. Their coffee is not acidic and EVERY person who tries my style (half sweetened) they all appreciate its deliciousness.

I hear ya, Frank. Caffeinated vibes!

For when your roommate is being a tad noisy:

AirPods Pro

Recommended by Valerie, who says:
I love the noise cancellation on my Airpods Pro. Completely tunes out the world.

Yeah, no, your roommate is totally lovely. You get along super well. But sometimes, for your SANITY, you just need some SILENCE.

For your late-night cravings:

Dang Thai Rice Chips

Recommended by Esther, who says:

Obsessed with these. Non-gmo, gluten free. Could easily go through 2 bags in 1 sitting. Fave flavor is the toasted sesame. Plus the company is named after their mom. Love.

Okay, so you’re finally actually studying. Good for you! Snack break, anyone?

For when the cheesy dorm blinds don’t block out any sunlight:

Impressions Sleep Mask

Recommended by Kendyl, who says:

With this mask, I find that I am able to go back to sleep so much more easily. Its comfortable and comes in such cute patterns!

Maybe you and your roommate have very different sleep schedules. A sleep mask is essential for peacekeeping in the dorm household.

For when there’s a weird smell coming from the hall:

Love Potion Room Mist

Recommended by Rebecca, who says: 

I found this room spray in a little store while on vacation over the summer and was immediately enchanted. The jasmine is the strongest fragrance note and I’m already on my second bottle. I may or may not have even used this as a perfume at one point!

I personally swear by Brooklyn Candle Studio products. Their candles are AMAZING, but flames aren’t usually allowed in dorms, so room mist is a great alternative for some air-freshening magic.

So, there you have it. Ten fabulous things, courtesy of the HandsDown community, to help launch the ~best years of your lyfe~

What are your dorm must-haves? Create a whole list of college faves, or just add items to your Top 10 Favorite Things. Don’t forget to share with your new best friends (AKA everyone you meet the first week on campus). 

Happy dorming, kiddos! Stay hydrated, and don’t let anyone borrow your phone charger!