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    Updated on Aug 3, 2019. Posted on Apr 28, 2019

    42 Practical Dorm Essentials You Absolutely Won't Regret

    Smart recommendations from people who've been there.

    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.

    We asked the BuzzFeed Community (and asked again!) for the most useful product they loved when they lived in a dorm. Here are their best responses!

    1. Long power strips so you and your roommates don't have to wage war over a limited number of outlets to charge all of your many devices.

    Amazon

    "Most dorm rooms I lived in were shared with two or three people and built in the '70s, so we never had enough or convenient plugs. Extension cords were a big no no, but I found an 8-foot power strip and it was the best purchase of my college career."

    a4d45ce3e2

    "Powerstrip, powerstrip, powerstrip!! You will be surprised how much you have to plug in in such a tiny space with limited outlets! These things saved my life."

    jordinb4da79084f

    Get a 12-outlet surge protector with an 8-foot cord on Amazon for $18.99 (also available with a 10-foot cord for $25.99).

    2. If you're going to school somewhere that gets crazy cold in the winter, a fuzzy, warm blanket to add to your bed when the temperatures drop.

    amazon.com

    "I got a giant, warm, fuzzy blanket to go on top of my comforter during the winter months and it kept me warm and happy and content when it got really cold."

    skipnees

    Get the fuzzy blanket this dog loves so much on Amazon for $26.99+ (available as a throw, or in twin–king sizes, and in 16 colors).

    3. If you end up in the top bunk, a sturdy bedside caddy that'll tuck under your mattress to keep everything you could possibly need within arm's reach.

    amazon.com

    "I lived in a dorm where I had the top bunk, so having this was great for me to be able to store a book and book light, my phone, water bottle, glasses, etc. when it was time to sleep so I wasn’t having to climb up and down the ladder or have my roommate hand me things all the time. It’s a great way to keep your sleeping area organized especially if you don’t have room for a nightstand."laurens4d6ffcc81

    Get it from Amazon for $16.25 (one size) or Uncommon Goods for $16+ (two sizes).

    4. A reading pillow so you can do homework or study in bed but still be just cozy enough to concentrate.

    Wayfair

    "A pillow with a back and arms! It’s great for when you’ve got to do homework but don’t feel like getting out of bed. It’s SO much more comfortable to lean on this pillow than my cinderblock wall. I’d HIGHLY recommend getting one!"

    sydneyd490e7c1cb

    Get this one on Wayfair for $32.99. Or if you'd rather spend less than $20, because y'know, college, Target has a selection of other reading pillows starting at $15.89.

    5. A memory-foam mattress topper, because dorm room mattresses can be the most uncomfortable things you've ever laid on in an attempt to fall asleep.

    Target

    "A MATTRESS PAD. Believe me, it’s kind of expensive, but so very worth it. I got a very nice one with these cooling pearls, because I'm at school in the summer, and they’re very helpful in the hot Hudson Valley."

    giav41cc6e5b0

    "My 3-inch memory foam mattress topper. People will say you don’t need it... you need it. Trust me."

    laurenk4e35ad95d

    Get a twin XL pad in memory foam from Target for $74.99. While I didn't find one with cooling pearls, some reviewers report a cooling effect on this gel-swirl foam cover on Amazon; get it in twin XL for $54.99.

    6. A set of shelves that sits over your bed and gives you just that much extra storage space for your books and knick-knacks.

    dormco.com, dormco.com

    "This was crazy helpful for me since I was given the smallest room possible. You can only fit so much under your bed! Plus you can use it as a bathroom/laundry/whatever shelf in your apartment after you leave the dorms."

    hannahp406b4f718

    Get the white shelves for $149.99 from Dorm Co or $154.99 from Amazon, or the black wire shelves for $72.89 from Dorm Co or $78.89 from Amazon.

    7. A set of blackout curtains so you can pass out after your all-nighter even if the blinds don't block all the light.

    Amazon

    "Black-out curtains, because you're going to keep odd hours."

    pearsonblake15

    "The only way to make mid-day naps possible." —hammer1988

    Get a set of two panels on Amazon for $23.99–$35.95 (nine colors available in three lengths: 63, 84, and 96 inches).

    8. A white noise machine that'll save you from the background noise of roommates and loud people in the hallway.

    amazon.com

    "Makes a big difference. I had roommates that wanted to stay up later than me and it cut out some of the background noise which helped me sleep better. I still use it!"

    mabryg

    "Seriously. Nothing is more frustrating than trying to sleep when the people in your hall decide to have a midweek party right outside your door. This will drown out sound from your neighbors, noise from the outside, even noise from your roommate snoring. I also found that it made getting alone time while living with a roommate a little less awkward—it’s way easier to sit in the same room without talking if there’s something there to fill the silence. Highly recommend." —ajbenson1993

    Get a compact one that won't take up all the space on your tiny bedside table from Amazon for $17.99.

    9. Earplugs or noise-cancelling headphones, because dorm living does sometimes mean hearing other people get it on — or just so you can study in peace or stay asleep when your roommate comes in at 4 a.m.

    amazon.com, BuzzFeed Reviews

    "Earplugs. Every single one of my roommates had their partner(s) over, and let's say earplugs kept at least the noise away."

    a4f12455e8

    "Noise canceling headphones are a literal lifesaver. I lived in a quad my freshman year and probably never would have gotten work done without them." —Tori Dawson

    My colleague Michelle swears by these green memory foam ear plugs you can get on Amazon; 10 pairs for $2.98 or 50 pairs for $16.99. If you'd prefer to go the headphone route but don't want to break the bank, BuzzFeed Reviews recommends Anker's super comfortable (and effective) pair, $99 on Amazon.

    10. A printer, whether you go wired or wireless, so you never have to worry about paying to print and you can put your assignments off — or, um, I mean, truly perfect that assignment you've definitely been working on since Monday — until the very last minute.

    amazon.com

    "It was so useful. I could print things from the comfort of my bed. It also helps if the printer has wireless printing. I didn’t have to pay to print at the school library and I actually started printing for other people at a fraction of the price the school was charging."

    sabirah04

    "A printer that wasn't wireless. Never had to run to a library for last-minute printing, never had issues with connecting with my laptop (or other people's laptops who were borrowing the printer). I know people often tell students they won't need a printer because there are places to print on campus, but it was so convenient to have my own."

    lisal417c9069f

    The good news is you can plug in a USB cable to almost any wireless printer to print without wifi (you can find one on Amazon for $5.10). Get a super simple but well-reviewed printer for $29.99 or a feature-loaded one that can print, scan, and copy (that's also well-reviewed) for $59.89, both on Amazon.

    11. A mini-toolkit that won't take up much storage space but will be incredibly useful whenever you or a friend does need a loose screw fixed or to measure something for a project.

    amazon.com

    "My parents bought me a small tool kit that saved me so many times. It had basics, like a level, a small hammer, screwdrivers, Allen keys, box cutter, tape measure, superglue, crescent wrench and I’m sure there were a few more things. It took up very little space and I felt like a superhero whenever I had what I needed to fix little things. Even if you never think you’ll need it, it always good to know how to fix things on your own!"

    dchrysler

    Get a 39-piece toolset on Amazon for $16.49.

    12. A first-aid kit ~just in case~, plus the basic medicines you've relied on your family to always keep stocked at home.

    amazon.com

    "I was the only one on my side of the building who had a full first aid kit. I used to have random people showing up to my door being like 'we heard you have band aids' because the infirmary is not always open and sometimes you don't want your RA to see you in your drunken state." —m41c58b295

    "A first aid kit along with OTC medicine (Advil, Tylenol, Pepto). Trust me, you’ll need them more than you think!"

    emilyk42e5c9292

    Get this basic 140-piece first-aid kit on Amazon for $12.72.

    13. A mini sewing kit so you can fix a small tear in your favorite shirt or reattach a button that just popped off.

    Amazon

    "A small sewing kit!! Super important."

    emilyk42e5c9292

    Get one of these cute little sewing eggs on Amazon for $5.53, or a set of three for $10.06. Each kit comes with 10 colored threads (three yards each), a 25-inch tape measure, three hand needles, two safety pins, mini scissors, four pins, a needle threader and four buttons.

    14. A mini steamer, because it'll take half the time, effort, and space of ironing on a tiny dorm-sized ironing board, and there will actually be days that you want to get the wrinkles out of your clothes.

    Target, Bed Bath & Beyond

    "Since dorms are so cramped you typically don’t have much closet space, so I a lot of stuff will end up folded in drawers. Investing in a steamer made getting the wrinkles out quick and easy!" —jojo99

    "I finished undergrad yesterday, and let me tell you, the best thing I invested in was a clothing steamer. My student house didn’t come with a traditional iron."

    ridak4f3635c68

    Get this hand-held steamer from Target for $55.99, Bed Bath & Beyond for $59.99, Amazon for $69.93, or Walmart for $55.

    15. A mini fridge (if your school doesn't provide them), because if keeping cold filtered water, leftovers, ice cream, and fruits and veggies isn't a true essential, I don't know what else qualifies.

    Home Depot

    Adam Davis

    Sometimes it's just nice to eat yesterday's pasta leftovers from the dining hall in between classes, because it's nice and quiet in your dorm.

    Get one from Home Depot for $179.

    16. A humidifier-diffuser to help you relax, keep your skin hydrated through a dry winter, and maybe even help your (or your roommate's) snoring.

    amazon.com

    "A humidifier/diffuser and some essential oils to go with it! Really helped me destress, helped my skin through the winter months, and helped my snoring enough that my roommate could sleep."

    emilyk42e5c9292

    "A diffuser really helped everyone zen out during exam weeks. And sometimes the room would just become a little stale, but it was nothing that an essential oil couldn’t fix."

    abbyb40806d669

    Get a well-reviewed diffuser for $29.99 and a set of six starter essential oils for $9.99, both on Amazon.

    17. An over-the-door shoe organizer to keep everything from your shoes to your hair products both incredibly tidy and easy to see all at once.

    amazon.com

    "Instead of using it for shoes, I would store cleaning supplies, hair tools, body lotions, etc. in each of the slots. This method kept everything out of the way but allowed me to have easy access to all my things!"

    megs5280

    "Over-the-door-storage for my shoes literally saved so much room (versus having them all in a box), plus it was easy to access."

    epikvizion

    Get a basic 24-pocket grey organizer for $7.97, or a pack of two 15-pocket clear organizers for $12.87, both on Amazon.

    18. Little bins or baskets that you can repurpose each year to organize whatever you need in that particular moment.

    amazon.com, amazon.com

    "Simplest little things and yet the best thing I ever bought for my dorm! They’ve kept everything so organized on top of my desk and in my closet. 10/10 would recommend!" —m4c01fc9d9

    Get a set of six equally-sized white plastic bin-baskets for $22.45, or three nesting woven baskets for $21.41 (10 colors available), both on Amazon.

    19. A three-tier utility cart — it can store literally anything you need it to: snacks, coffee mugs, laundry detergent, books, hair brushes, blowdryers, a small bottle of vodka stashed inside an empty oatmeal container...and more.

    ikea.com, buzzfeed.com

    "It’s pretty cheap and it holds SO MUCH. Plus you can move it around your room to wherever you want it. I have food on two of the shelves and my laundry and cleaning supplies on the bottom. Basically it creates a place to put the things where you don’t have a specific place to put them!" —mayad41bd1b2fd

    Get it from Ikea for $29.99 (four colors), or get a similar one from Target for $30 (two colors).

    20. An expandable drying rack so you can air-dry your clothes that call for it without hanging said clothes in every single available doorway.

    amazon.com

    "Dorm dryers suck and don’t always fully dry stuff, plus not everything can go into the dryer. It doesn’t take up that much room, and then folds away when you’re done!" —juliarussell

    "So convenient, and my wet clothes aren’t hanging off of every available surface." —erinleahs

    This compact, expandable rack folds up accordion-style so you can stash it anywhere, like under your bed; but it also expands horizontally up to about 29" wide, so you can dry as many clothes as you need. Get it from Amazon for $26.

    21. An octopus-shaped delicates hanger with arms that fold up for easy storage, because dorm washers and dryers aren't always the gentlest.

    amazon.com

    "Bought this adorable octopus to hang all my delicates to dry in my tiny room and now I *still* use it nine years later. The arms fold up to take up less storage space, too." —Maitland Quitmeyer

    Get it from Amazon in black for $13.85, white for $10.85, or red for $9.99. Or get it from Ikea in turquoise for $4.99.

    22. An oversized beanbag that can turn almost any random dorm floor into a comfortable spot to sit, then stashes away under the bed when you're not using it.

    amazon.com

    "A 'Big Joe' rectangular beanbag chair. It’s made with styrofoam beans, so it’s extra fluffy, and super cheap to refill when they get too squished down. It can go on the bed to prop your back up when studying, on the floor, up against a wall, or you can sit on it sideways. It’s big enough for two people to sit next to each other, but it still stores super easily under the bed. Perfect for small dorms with not a lot of seating — and it can even be brought down the hall to a friend’s room because it’s so light! I cannot recommend this enough. I use it every day."

    kyleet44c8b884b

    Get one on Amazon for $65.66+ (five colors available). Two bags of refill are $49.85.

    23. A cushioned storage ottoman where you can stash all sorts of things out of sight and that'll also give you an extra seat and even work as a step-stool.

    amazon.com

    "I bought a storage ottoman for freshman year move-in and *just* threw it away 11 and 1/2 years later. Yep. It was THAT handy. It became a catchall for remotes, light bulbs, batteries: whatever wouldn't fit in my built-in storage in the dorm and then in my junk drawer post-grad."

    elizabethlilly

    "It took up minimal room, was a great place to hide my good snacks, and provided extra seating!"

    heatherm446efd238

    Get it on Amazon for $32.99 (available in 14 colors and three sizes).

    24. Or if your dorm has a little bit more space, a full-fledged storage bench — for all the same reasons you'd get a storage ottoman, just with more storage and more seating space.

    amazon.com

    "I am just finishing my freshman year of college and one of the best purchases I made for my dorm was a storage bench. It comes in handy when you have a lot of people over and you need seating and when you have a bunch of stuff that you don’t know where to put. My roommate and I use it to keep pots, pans, towels, anything. It's also a lot more aesthetically pleasing than a trunk."

    caileighp

    Get the pictured bench/ottoman, which is 29 inches long, for $33.99 (three colors available) or get a longer storage bench that coordinates with the small blue one in #21, which is 45 inches long, for $54.99 (five colors available), both on Amazon.

    25. For those mornings you crave a caffeine fix and those the nights when you just don't make it to the caf before it closes, an electric kettle that can boil water for anything from tea to ramen to easy mac at the touch of a button.

    amazon.com, amazon.com

    "An electric kettle is amazing for tea and instant coffee if you need some caffeine. You can also make ramen, mac 'n' cheese, and more."

    emilyk42e5c9292

    "I used it ALL the time from sophomore year to senior year. We didn't have kitchens in our dorm buildings so this was the next best thing other than a microwave. I used it to make hot chocolate, and more importantly, ramen. We'd cook the noodles right in the pot (we added the flavor packet after cooking). It was perfect for those late nights when the cafeteria was closed and we were hungry." —nicoleb4303a2e01

    Get the white kettle for $14.99 (five colors) or the pistachio KitchenAid kettle for $59.95, both on Amazon (both also have an automatic shutoff).

    26. A microwave pasta cooker so you can upgrade from instant ramen to al dente spaghetti.

    Taylor Miller / BuzzFeed

    "A microwave pasta cooker!!! Seriously changed my life since our dorms didn’t have kitchens."

    colleenconway

    We tried this one and it actually worked surprisingly well. Get it from Amazon for $17.99.

    27. A personal blender that'll turn pre-chopped fruit and spinach from the dining hall salad bar (plus some yogurt!) into a breakfast smoothie certain to perk you up for your 8 a.m. class.

    amazon.com

    "A personal blender for making healthy smoothies before class."

    colleenconway

    I'd also add a yogurt from the dining hall and some protein powder, too, myself! Get a highly-rated personal blender that makes drinks right in your to-go cup on Amazon for $19.49.

    28. A Brita Water pitcher and a reusable water bottle from your school's store, so you can always enjoy clean-tasting water while saving money and this blue-marble planet.

    Target

    "A Brita Water pitcher was a life saver in college! The water in the dorms was awful. Most people bought bottled water all the time. But that water pitcher tasted better and ended up being cheaper."

    a49e20251d

    Get a five-cup pitcher that'll fit easily in a dorm's mini-fridge for $15.99, either from Target or Amazon (the same three colors available both places).

    29. A candle warmer and your favorite jar candle, especially if you're used to burning candles at home and really don't like that they're no-go in the dorms.

    amazon.com, amazon.com

    "Yankee candle and a candle warmer. Most dorms don’t allow real candles and this is the best substitute."

    caro1282828

    "This is more of a preference, but a wax warmer really brings in an amazing smell and gets rid of that oh-so-lovely dorm room smell."

    zachw41a721d37

    Another bonus: your candles will probably last longer if you warm them instead of burning the wick. Get a candle warmer for $6.99 and the large jar Pink Sands candle for $15.99, both on Amazon. (Or check out more of Amazon's Yankee Candle selection).

    30. A set of Command Hooks to hang by your door and hold your keys, so you always know exactly where they are, no matter what you've been up to.

    instagram.com

    "A key holder (Command Hooks even) to keep my dorm room key right by the door! I am really forgetful, but this kept me from forgetting my key and accidentally getting locked out (especially when I was drinking)!"

    madelinewhite3

    Get three small wire Command Hooks to DIY your own as an add-on item on Amazon for $3.17 (or 10 hooks with Prime shipping for $9.99). Or go for Command's ready-made key rail: it's on Amazon for $8.84+ (two colors available).

    31. And bigger Command Hooks so you can give a few inches of empty wall a new life purpose as a towel holder, bag hanger, or coat rack.

    Target

    "Those clean-remove Command Hooks. They give you a great place to hang your coats and bags, especially if closet space is at a premium."

    emilyhasey

    Get a two-pack of large, decorative metal hooks that hold up to five pounds each on Amazon for $18.95 or from Target for $19.99. (And if you always have trouble getting them to stick and stay, make sure you're following all the steps.)

    32. A personal utility cart that folds up and stores flat, so you can tote a month's worth of dirty clothes to the laundry room in one go.

    amazon.com

    "I got a cart similar to this, and EVERYONE teased me until they needed to haul a bunch of stuff and then they all came begging. It was used weekly! Laundry, moving, groceries...you name it."

    sarahe30

    Get it on Amazon for $49.99.

    33. A lightweight hand vacuum that'll make quick work of cleaning any little messes you make, or trapping a nasty bug you really don't want to deal with.

    Target

    "A DustBuster! Sometimes you just really want to eat crackers on your bed and not wash the sheets after!"

    shannonb4efe92872

    Target and Amazon seem to carry slightly different models that both weigh 2.6 pounds. Get the one from Target for $44.99, or get the similar one on Amazon for $57.67.

    34. A shower curtain with mesh storage pockets because tiny showers only have so much room for everyone's four bottles of personal products.

    amazon.com, amazon.com

    "Definitely the pocket shower curtain you guys always have on posts. My four-person room had one tiny shower in the bathroom and that thing saved us from covering valuable shower floor space with bottles."

    jenniferr4786d9525

    It's basically like cargo pants for your shower. Fit ALL the things! Get it from Amazon for $11.84.

    35. Some battery-powered string lights so your lofted bed has some middle ground between total darkness and the harsh fluorescent lighting. (Plus they instantly make almost any space feel cozy!)

    amazon.com

    "They're great if you have a roommate and want lights on without keeping them up, if you have a headache and don't want all the lights on, if you're chilling and watching a movie, or to wind down at night!"

    galifreyangirl

    "If you have a lofted bed, get battery powered string lights and hang on the wall up next to your bed. That way you can turn off the room lights before bed, but still have some nice warm light to read by or to just relax, and you can turn them off when you're ready without getting up to unplug them."

    carinae4aca2b6af

    Get a 16-foot string of 40 star-shaped lights on Amazon for $9.95.

    36. A ten-foot phone charger (or y'know, an extension cord) that'll keep you plugged in even when you're perched high up in that loft bed.

    amazon.com, amazon.com

    "A ten foot phone charger was a must, especially because my bed was lofted and if I wanted to be on my phone while it’s charging but also relax in bed, the ten foot cable allowed that."

    carinae4aca2b6af

    Get them on Amazon: a 10-foot lightning cord for $11.99 (that's the kind for iPhones; five colors), a pack of three 10-foot micro-USB cables for $10.99 (the kind for Androids), or a pack of two ten-foot extension cords for $11.99.

    37. A pack of Command Strips because hanging up art you love can really make a big difference in making your room feel like home.

    amazon.com

    "Get Command Strips for hanging up art. Some dorm rooms can really look like a prison without some TLC. College is stressful, and it’s really important for your mental health to come back to somewhere that’s cozy and makes you happy."

    carinae4aca2b6af

    Get a pack of 14 pairs on Amazon for $9.19.

    38. A seat cushion — your butt and lower back will be very grateful that you give them the support they need, especially when you basically never leave your wood desk chair for nearly the entire week before finals start.

    amazon.com

    "Get some sort of seat cushion, because the provided desk chair is likely to be hard plastic or wood, and it hurts your butt to sit on that for hours of studying."

    carinae4aca2b6af

    This one's made with memory foam, and many reviewers found that it helped them with lower back pain! It's supposed to help you maintain good posture and the natural curve of your spine (aka avoid slouching). Get it on Amazon for $22.99.

    39. Some over-the-door hooks that will come in handy for quickly storing scarves, bags, towels, and hats in a convenient spot.

    amazon.com

    "Hooks to put over the door/push out closets I had so I had somewhere to hang and dry my towels after a shower!"

    summera477a61c31

    Get this nine-hook bronze over-door rack on Amazon for $13.49.

    40. A doorstop because it absolutely will help you make new friends faster than you ever realized you could!

    amazon.com

    "My roommate and I kept our door propped open most of the time we were in the room, and people would pop their heads in to chat or ask us to lunch. I met so many people I probably wouldn’t have otherwise! Such a big help when you’re starting out freshman year surrounded by strangers (aka potential friends!)."

    laurens156

    "So simple, but that was how I knew everyone on my floor and made new friends. If my door was open, people were welcome to hang out! It also made moving a BREEZE."

    meggzieelulu

    Get the adorable and well-reviewed dog doorstop on Amazon for $9.98 (also available as a husky, corgi/shiba inu, or mouse).

    41. A lap desk because you’re going to use your computer for way more than homework (Facebook, Twitter, Spotify, Netflix....) and won’t be at your desk all the time.

    amazon.com

    "It'll keep the vents on your computer from being blocked when you’re binge-ing The Office for the billionth time while procrastinating that final paper. Also it can keep the computer from becoming so overheated that it shuts off before you save that final paper. Friends was how I made friends in college and I credit my trusty lap desk."

    claired18

    Get one on Amazon for $29.99 (seven patterns/colors, fits up to a 15-inch laptop).

    42. A set of bed risers that will open up *so* much more valuable under-bed storage space.

    amazon.com

    "I used bed lifts, and they were soooo useful. I kept basically everything under my bed in bins and these helped maximize my storage space. Because they're adjustable, you can get the perfect amount of height or change throughout the year if you need to switch is up or have new storage needs."

    racheldunkel

    This set is adjustable to three different heights, depending on what you need: it has a three-inch set of four and a five-inch set of four, and you can stack the shorter on the taller for up to an eight-inch rise. Get it on Amazon for $12.99.

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    The responses in this post have been edited for length and clarity.

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