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    34 Items To Consider Before Heading Back To The Dorms

    Into the thick of it, into the thick of it... (ugh)

    We hope you love the products we recommend! All of them were independently selected by our editors. Just so you know, BuzzFeed may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page if you decide to shop from them. Oh, and FYI — prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.

    1. A portable lockbox complete with a chain that you can secure to your bike, backpack, or bench at the football games. You can fit your car keys, cellphone, cash, GoPro camera, or even your medicine inside for safe keeping at college events or soccer practice.


    Promising review: "This item was purchased for my son for college so he could keep his small items like keys, money, and smartphone safe in his dorm room. The case seems very secure and is the perfect size to fit at least all these items, and maybe a few more. It comes with a secure strap and easy lock. My son loves it and mom feels better about his valuables being safely stored!" —HHart

    Get it from Amazon for $21.88+ (available in two colors and two sizes).

    2. A desk organizer to maximize your desk space and keep track of your supplies.


    Promising review: "I love this organizer! Fits perfectly on any desk without taking up too much space. Love the color and the functionality of each compartment. So happy with this purchase!" —Maria Ospina

    Get it from Amazon for $15.97+ (available in two sizes).

    3. A 24-pack of BIC mechanical pencils ideal for heavy writers or anyone planning on taking statistics this semester.

    reviewer holding one of the pencils in yellow with the rest of the colored assortment in the background

    Promising review: "BIC Xtra-Strong mechanical pencils are as exactly as they are described. They are fantastic, strong pencils made of exceptional quality and are worth every penny. Throughout my entire high school journey and part of my college career, I found myself struggling to write with any sort of mechanical pencil that is not made from the brand BIC because the lead would easily break. However, this purchase completely changed my writing experience for the better because the BIC mechanical pencil feels comfortable in my hand, and the thickness of the lead allows me to apply pressure to the pencil, which rarely breaks. Advantages of using these pencils include the ability to have a good writing experience, rarely breaking the pencil lead while writing with the pencil for a long period of time, and using the entire pack of the pencils could last you quite a long time. I highly recommend these pencils for those who are heavy writers or those who struggle to handwrite while putting pressure on the pencil for an extended period of time." —Connie Tran

    Get it from Amazon for $5.98

    4. And, a pack of Bic gel pens in case you're the type of student that needs to use a different color for each chapter heading in their notes to unlock maximum study efforts. #ItMe — I am that student. 🙋🏽‍♀️,

    Promising review: "I bought the purple, blue, and pink pack a few years ago and they're just now starting to run out! I love them so much I bought the eight-pack. As a college student who takes five classes per quarter, I definitely appreciate the variety and longevity that these pens offer. Being able to color-code my notes makes it so much easier to study and people are always commenting on how great my notes are! The yellow and the dark pink are definitely my favorites. Best pens ever!" —Amazon Customer

    Get it from Amazon for $9.32.

    5. An adorable bookmark book tracker to motivate you to actually complete that reading list for your creative writing class just so you can fill in your little bookshelf.

    The book tracker, which looks like a blank book shelf and you can fill in the names of the books on the spine as you finish them
    britishbookart / Etsy

    Britishbookart is a small online shop creates book-themed art as well as cute and gift-worthy bookmarks like the one listed above. 

    Promising review: "This bookmark is just so well done on every level! The artwork is beautiful, and the quality is gorgeous. It's such a clever idea, and there are enough 'books' pictured to last a whole year. I will be looking for other items from this artist!" —Elaine

    Get it from britishbookart for $3.56.

    6. A Kindle Paperwhite that college students say not only has an enormous amount of battery life, but also lightens the load of their bag by allowing them to read ePub and PDF versions of their textbooks (which are also much cheaper than the physical versions). Reviewers also say it helps reduce eye strain and fatigue.,

    Promising review: "I am a grad student on a budget, and this has been an essential tool in my school kit along with headphones (that can pair for audio books). Using this, I experience less eye fatigue reading textbooks and research documents. The storage is great and it is easy to upload PDF and ePub documents. Physical aspects wise, it is easy to store in a small pouch and there are plenty of cases available. The battery life is great, too. Would recommend!!!" —Alex

    Get it from Amazon for $84.99 (available in two storage sizes and four cover colors).

    7. A Command hook because you could always use more storage. You can use these for your towels or sweatshirts without having to worry about damaging the wall on move-out day.,

    Promising review: "The bathroom in my apartment is a little strange: there's one towel rack in the tub and that's it. Well there's a small section of wall outside the tub that is not big enough for a full towel rack so naturally a hook is the only option for wall hanging. This is the perfect little hook for towels in that ridiculous section of wall." —Z

    Get it from Amazon for $7.49+ (also available in nickel).

    8. A pack of microwave cleaning wipes to get rid of the dirt and grime spillage after your ham and cheese Hot Pocket blows its top in the 'wave.

    a before and after of a dirty microwave

    Promising review: "My microwave was a mess because we have a son who only cooks if he can microwave it. I despise cleaning the microwave. These wipes were a dream. I didn't have to scrub. Everything wiped right off! Now I need to teach my son how to use them!" —Jennifer Hardy

    Get it from Amazon for $9.97.

    9. A fizzing Johnny Drops because sharing a communal space can get really messy really fast. You can just ~drop~ this in the toilet to help keep things tidy.

    White bath bombs next to the brown paper bag packaging
    Juniperseed Mercantile / Etsy

    Juniperseed Mercantile is a Colorado-based small biz run by science teacher Tiffany Norton who creates all-natural cleaning, skincare, bath, and body products.

    Promising review: "This is my second purchase of these so you can tell I totally love them. They work great and I just store them in a jar on the back of the toilet. Definitely can't say I’ve ever stored any other toilet cleaner out in the open." —Laura Wick

    Get eight from Juniperseed Mercantile on Etsy for $10.

    10. A copy of Good and Cheap: Eat Well on $4/Day filled with simple yet cost-effective recipes, ideal for college students trying to survive on a budget or people new to cooking looking to expand their meal portfolio.,

    Promising review: "I'm a college student and received this book as a gift from my mother. As someone who was new to cooking on my own, this book completely changed the way I thought about cooking. Not only does this book provide easy, no-fuss recipes, but it is also basically a how-to book on how to cook and eat well. Each recipe can be altered to fit your needs and what you have in the fridge/pantry! Leanne showed me that you don't need complicated ingredients to have an amazing meal. And now that I'm a more experienced cook, I still come back to this book for inspiration and ideas on new recipes. If you are new to cooking, buy it. If you are on a tight budget, buy it or look at the PDF online. If you are looking for ways to cut back on processed foods, buy it. Even if you are an experienced cook, buy it. Despite the general premise of the book, this cookbook is for EVERYONE. By the way, some personal favorites of mine are the zucchini chocolate muffins, banana pancakes, taco salad, cauliflower cheese, and her pizza dough recipe." —Andra Smith

    Get it from Amazon for $10.29.

    Or, you can read it for free with your Kindle Unlimited subscription.

    11. A roll-on migraine stick because you've put off a few required classes but now you're carrying a full load this semester. Stay hydrated and get plenty of rest — but in case you come down with a bad case of the headaches, this migraine stick may provide you with some quick relief.

    Reviewer holding lip balm-sized tube of roll on migraine stick

    Promising review: "This stuff is my go-to fix when I feel a migraine coming on. I suffer from sinus headaches and migraines usually once or twice a week. This product I put on each temple, under my nose and on my wrists when I feel the pressure starting and it cuts the pain to a minimum. It seems to stop the worst pain before it has a chance to start. Thank you for a great product! I will buy again and again!" —Brenton1985

    Read our Migrastil migraine stick review for more deets!

    Get it from Amazon for $11.99.

    12. A bottle of stain remover to keep your clothes as clean as possible in between trips to the campus laundry room. You can't fit all your favorite tees in your closet, so you gotta make the ones you have last at least through the semester.

    a before photo of a white shirt with ponzu sauce and hot sesame oil spilled on it and an after photo of the white shirt that looks brand new with no stain
    Yi Yang / BuzzFeed

    Check out our full Puracy Natural Stain Remover review.

    Promising review: "If I could give this more stars, I would! One of the best stain removers I’ve found. I have a toddler and a mechanic for a husband and it takes care of all of their messes!" —Tessa

    Get it from Amazon for $10.99.

    13. A 32-inch Insignia Fire TV for in-room entertainment that you can share with you roomie. Grab some popcorn and gather around for a binge-watch session of Never Have I Ever.,

    Some apps on the TV may require a paid subscription like Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+. But, there are still tons of apps with free content, too.

    Promising review: "Awesome TV, highly recommend. I bought the TV for my bedroom at college and it has been really great, and it was super duper easy to set up and is very user friendly. You can customize the screen setup, the brightness, and even add a 'screensaver' photo from your photo album for when the TV is paused for awhile. Once the TV is paused for over 15–20 mins, the TV turns off on its own, which is nice! You can also literally use any streaming service through the TV and even YouTube, which is an important one for me. I really love watching my favorite channels on the TV rather than my laptop, so this is a great feature. Highly recommend!" —Taylor Fritz

    Get it from Amazon for $129.99.

    14. A T-shirt roll holder to save drawer space. All you have to do is roll your tee, and insert it into the designated space. It also looks really cool and makes it easier to admire your vast collection throughout the day.

    My closet door closed with several shirts hanging from a hook at the top of the door. The shirts are attached by rolling them up and putting them through stretchy loops.
    Mallory Mower / BuzzFeed

    The Roll Keeper is owned by Kelso, Washington's resident crafter, Traci. Traci has been crafting for over 40 years and created her storage design to help organize vinyl, soon realizing that it was the perfect organization solution for much more. Her shop has versions for bottles, wrapping paper, pens, and more. Don't miss checking out this small business!

    BuzzFeed writer Mal Mower loves hers. In her own words:

    "Before getting this I was driving myself up the wall with my bad folding habits. I basically shoved all my shirts into the storage drawers under my bed, because I have a teeny tiny closet (the picture above gives you a solid idea of how small it is). This has given me a massive amount of clothing storage I didn't have before. The quality is stellar and Traci is 10/10 the most thoughtful person I've purchased an Etsy product from!"

    Get it from Amazon for $19.99.

    15. A dry wash spray that'll keep your clothes smelling clean even when you haven't exactly had the time to do laundry. A true lifesaver come ~finals week.~

    a reviewer photo of the can of dry wash

    Promising review: "Absolutely love this product! I wasn’t sure at first what kind of material would respond best however I’ve used it on everything from my partner’s button-downs, to my jeans and sweaters. I love it. It has a nice, fresh laundry smell, and eliminates wrinkles. Just spray it on and let it hang for two to four minutes. We all know there’s no time for an ironing board these days." —LB

    Get a two-pack from Amazon for $11.99

    16. Earbud cleaning putty in case you've been wondering why your sound quality has slowly been declining. It's not the buds, it's the gunk left inside of them. Try not to be totally grossed out by what comes out of them. You'll be pleased the next time the beat drops.


    Promising review: "Great stuff that absolutely works! I had been using plug-in head phones because my old iPhone 6S was getting old and I was having difficulty hearing from the speakers. I heard about this from a friend and it’s like I have a new phone! Worked immediately! Sound and clarity like never before. I can’t believe how easy it was to use and the great difference it makes. Thanks!" —Bridget S

    Get a 12-pack from Amazon for $11.99.

    17. A USB wall charger and surge protector because you can never have enough outlets. You don't want a blow out when you try to charge your MacBook and blow dry your hair at the same time. This is a dorm room must-have in my book.

    The USB wall charger and surge protector

    Promising review: "So happy that I bought this beautiful wall charger. It looks much more expensive. The six outlets are nicely positioned that I can use all of them at the same time. Two USB outputs are ideal for charging our phones. Highly recommend!" —Elaine

    Get it from Amazon for $19.97.

    18. A double-sided laptop cleaner to clean the crumbs out of your laptop keyboard after a late night study session fueled by Cheetos and lattes.,

    One side of the cleaner (orange) is a microfiber pad that wipes the screen of your laptop. The other side (gray brush) sweeps away crumbs and dirt from your keyboard.

    Promising review: "Purchased for my granddaughters who are in college. They love it! They use it all the time on their screens, keyboards, and cellphones. Would purchase again!" —cookie007

    Get it from Amazon for $9.99.

    19. A eucalyptus lavender pouch that'll add aromatherapy goodness to your routine shower and open your sinuses and lungs to reduce the symptoms of allergies. And it's cute little pouch makes it easy to carry to and from the showers.

    A small satchel of lavender and eucalyptus hanging from a bath handle
    Eucalyptus Blooms/Etsy

    Psst — a lot of people use eucalyptus for allergy, congestion, and even anxiety relief.

    Eucalyptus Blooms is a North Carolina-based, woman-owned business that specializes in eucalyptus bunches designed to freshen up your home.

    Promising review: "These smell AMAZING, and they're such a perfect size for the shower. I used to have big bundles of eucalyptus, but they always took up so much space. These are perfectly sized and the blend of Eucalyptus and Lavender is HEAVENLY." —Maggie

    Get a set of three from Eucalyptus Blooms on Etsy for $15.29 (this shop offers free shipping!).

    20. A tea mug complete with infuser and lid — everything you need to keep you warm and cozy during winter semester. It'll come in handy on sick days when you're missing the comfort of home.,

    Promising review: "I already love this mug! It’s comfortable to hold. I love the size! This is big enough to give me the amount of tea I want. Plus if I want to add creamer or milk, it all fits in this mug! I also love the size of the strainer. And, having it with the mug and the lid just makes having a cup of tea even easier. It feels sturdy and good in the hand. The handle is large enough to fit all four of my fingers through, which is sometimes hard to find. Yup, love this mug! Now, I will be looking into getting a few more for when friends come over!" —Quin

    Get it from Amazon for $20.99+ (available in eight colors).

    21. A room step trash can to help keep your space as tidy as possible. It'll be helpful in avoiding those roommate squabbles about whose mess belongs to whom.

    @simplehuman / Via, @simplehuman / Via

    Promising review: "Sleek and completely gorgeous! This trash can looks modern yet unobtrusive. It is well made and very sturdy. The peddle is a few inches from the floor, so it might not work well on ultra-plush rugs or carpet. It comes with three free liners, which are drawstring and very snug fitting, but I will probably use grocery bags once the freebies are gone. The inner liner makes securing the bag easy and it looks SO nice to have the bag all neatly contained. If this trash can is the style you want, don't hesitate to buy it! It is so well made it would even be a great gift!" —Sj773

    Get it from Amazon for $24.99 (available three sizes and seven colors).

    22. An unbreakable dinnerware set because stocking up on a bunch of paper plates and cups might be easy as far as cleanup, but having this lightweight set of dishes is both better for the environment and easier on the wallet.

    the dinnerware set

    This dinnerware set is made from wheat straw instead of plastic, and is both microwave and dishwasher safe. The set is 28 pieces and comes with four plates, four bowls, four cups, four spoons, four forks, four knives, and four cutlery trays. 

    Promising review: "The packaging was simple and these plates are exactly the no-fuss daily use product we wanted. The box was so small that I was worried I had ordered kids’ plates, but they are actually full size plates and bowls, as well as cutely packaged silverware. They even included a little foldable cup. I love the colors, but mostly I love that they are wheat straw instead of plastic. It is an excellent choice." —umbo

    Get it from Amazon for $36.99.

    23. A Keurig coffee maker reviewers say would be perfect for a college student's dorm. Not only can you have a fresh cup of coffee at your fingertips, but it'll also cut down on what could amount to costly trips to the nearest coffee shop. Even student store coffees add up.

    a reviewer photo of the keurig coffee maker with a coffee cup inside ready for the coffee to pour

    Promising review: "The Keurig itself is fantastic! The device is very easy to set up, doesn't take up much space, and is extremely intuitive to use. Honestly, you don't even need the power button to use this Keurig. It's just throw in a pod and press the 'K' and wait approximately a minute and a half and you're good to go. I've used about 10 pods now, and just recently did my first cycle of clean water through the system and it looked and tasted just fine! I'm very impressed with how fantastic this Keurig is even though it's considered the 'entry-level' or 'beginner' Keurig. This would be perfect for someone in a college dorm or someone who just doesn't need all the bells and whistles other K-pod brewers have." —Tim McArthur

    Get it from Amazon for $69.99+ (available in six colors). 

    Even better, you can buy these reusable K-cups and fill them with the coffee of your choice. 

    24. A customizable vaccine card holder you can also use to conveniently hold your student I.D.

    Vaccine card holders in a variety of colors and prints with a small hole for a keychain loop
    XOXO Armour/Etsy

    XOXO Armour is a Virginia-based Etsy shop established in 2017 that specializes in hair clips, accessories, and vaccine card holders.

    Promising review: "Super cute and good quality. Seller reached out right after purchase to update delivery timeline. Item was shipped and received very quickly." —Kimberly Oates

    Get it from XOXO Armour on Etsy for $13 (available in 32 colors).

    25. An eight-piece bath towel set designed with a convenient loop at the corner that you can easily hang on a hook.

    a reviewer photo of the bath set in yellow.

    Promising review: "These are the softest towels in the house. They have a loop for hanging if that's the way you want to hang them. I didn't find them to have an excess of lint after washing. Of course, they had a fair amount but that's always expected when washing towels for the first time. The color (yellow) is a beautiful soft yellow not a bright neon yellow." —quiltmaker

    Get it from Amazon for $35.94 (available in nine colors). 

    26. A reusable water with little time markers along the bottle so you'll remember to keep up with your hydration in between coffee dates and study groups in the quad.,

    Promising review: "LOVE this bottle !! The texture of the bottle is very smooth, almost silky. It fits into all of my cup holders in my car and bike. It is VERY lightweight, doesn’t weigh down at all in my purse or backpack when I hike. Also the sacred geometry symbol was one of the main reasons why I made this purchase, so anytime I drink from this bottle I am reminded that I am nourishing myself in the highest possible way. Will be purchasing more for all my friends. If you have kids it’s also great because of how lightweight it is; it doesn’t weigh down the diaper bag at all 🙌🏾☀️✨" —Julia

    Get it from Amazon for $20.99 (available in two colors).

    27. An acrylic memo board that'll help you communicate with your new roomies and keep everyone on track. Or, you can keep one in your room to check before class to make sure that you don't forget the notes to your speech presentation before your next debate.

    the memo board that is clear with white words written on it

    Promising review: "As much as I love Post-its, I can sometimes get carried away with them and then I can never find the one I need. This acrylic memo tablet is a much more economical (and chic) way to leave notes to myself about the priorities for a given day. It looks good and the dry erase marker provided is great. For those of you 'planners' and 'organizers' this is a must-have for home and/or office." —LMHazaa

    Get it from Anthropologie for $38.

    28. A shower tote with seven pockets — plenty of room to carry all of your shower essentials. It also has a large pocket in the center, perfect for your drying towel.

    someone wearing a bath robe carrying the shower tote with a towel in the center compartment and a bottle of shampoo and body wash each in their own compartment with room to spare for more things

    Promising review: "I like this shower tote because on a lot of other websites that I’ve looked at focus more on making sure that the shower tote is cute rather than useful. This usually results in a tiny, cotton shower caddy. I like Dormify’s shower tote because it's a really good size, it's mesh so it wont mold easily, and it's still cute!" —Jada R.

    Get it from Dormify for $19

    Or, get your tote and face and body care all-in-one

    29. A portable steamer because dressing for success is half the battle. You can effortlessly steam out those wrinkles on your fave tee you just found crumpled up in the corner of your room.

    a before and after of a wrinkled dress and a steamed wrinkle free dress

    Promising review: "I absolutely love this steamer. I needed one because I have lots of very delicate clothes that would burn if ironed, and irons are too big and bulky. I didn’t want to splurge on a professional or expensive steamer so I saw this one and bought it. One of the best purchases of my life! So easy to assemble and very simple instructions and helpful advice. It got the wrinkles out of one of my favorite shirts that couldn’t be ironed. Came with a small water cup with a divot on the side so no accidental spills. The 9-foot cord is so helpful too! To steam my shirt didn’t even take me more than two minutes, but if it was an iron, it would’ve taken me 10. Plus it heats up quickly and the bottom doesn’t get hot so I can put it on any surface. I would recommend this to everyone and am going to buy another as a gift for a friend." —mckenzie

    Get it from Amazon for $23.99

    30. A hanging closet organizer for more storage solutions for your clothes and other knickknacks.,

    Promising review: "I bought this when my previous hanging racks ripped after I put in just a few pairs of jeans. This product was a great replacement, and is very sturdy. I used it in my college dorm closet and it was great for extra space. I was able to fit a lot in it. I have had it for almost a year and recently passed it to my roommate because I no longer need, and it's still in great shape!" —Jordan S.

    Get it from Amazon for $26.99 (available in two sizes and three colors).

    31. A slim rolling laundry basket to help ~laundry day~ go a little easier. This rolling laundry basket is so thin it can easily slide into little gaps of available space in your dorm room.

    a reviewer photo of the laundry baskets in white and black

    Promising review: "We needed something small for space saving but also wheels for ease of moving it to the laundry facility in the dorm. This works for both. She can't go weeks without doing laundry; it isn't that big. However, she doesn't have room for a lot of laundry in her dorm room, either (smallest dorm room I have ever seen). This is perfect for what she needs." —Angels4angels

    Get it from Amazon for $17.99+ (available in three sizes and six colors). 

    32. And, a drying rack because as most college students have found out, the university dryer isn't always efficient. Plus, a drying rack is the best way to dry those less expensive shirts that tend to shrink up to the size of a Troll's belly top in the dryer.

    a product shot of the laundry rack in white with clothes hanging on it

    Promising review: "I love having this laundry rack in my college dorm! I've had it for a year and a half now, and it holds up great with repeated use! I love how small it folds up (maybe 3 inches wide), and I keep it in a weird crack between my desk and the wall. It's a life saver in small spaces, and it holds a lot of clothes." —S.P.

    Get it from Amazon for $30.31 (available in two colors).

    33. A tufted headboard you can hang behind your bed to snazz up what could be an otherwise drab room. It's shimmery, shiny, and comfy, which will be beneficial on the days when you'd rather write your term paper from the comfort of your sheets.


    Promising review: "This headboard was so easy to work with! It makes the room look so pretty! Everybody loves how shiny and silver it is. I’m happy that i can use with with any color!" —Tia A.

    Get it from Dormify for $99.

    34. A hypoallergenic, waterproof mattress protector because you don't know your mattress's past. Better safe than sorry! Allergy sufferers will find this protector especially useful as it protects against dust mites and allergens.,

    Promising review: "I have this on my dorm mattress at college. It works really well at keeping the allergens in the mattress and out of my nose. I have allergies to dust and mold, so I was quite worried about sleeping on a grungy dorm bed. This has worked quite well and I would highly recommend it." —Vicki L H.

    Get it from Amazon for $24.94+ (available in six sizes).

    The reviews for this post have been edited for length and clarity.

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