*None of the below companies are sponsors or in any way affiliated with PathMatch. All information in this article is based on the individual opinions of and research conducted by our writer(s).*
By Lexie Brada
It’s the most wonderful time of year (for newly minted adults anyway). It’s college season. Thousands of young, eager students will be migrating to their colleges and their ‘home away from home’ where they’ll spend their first year taking advantage of new opportunities and studying hard. While less is often more in freshman dorms, since you’re likely to be packed tight for space, there’s no reason that you can’t be smart about what you choose to bring.
We’ve compiled a list here at Pathmatch of awesome things you can order right to your doorstep to help make your dorm rooms feel a little bit less like four cinder block walls and more like your perfect oasis.
BESTEK Power Outlet Strips, 4 USB Ports Desktop Charging Station with 6-Outlet 13A 125V, 6 Ft Extension Cord
If your dorm was built in the 80s and hasn’t been updated since, chances are you’ll be fighting for the very few outlets the entire time. Any sort of power outlet strip is an absolute must, but we like this one for a few reasons. It’s smaller and more compact, it can stretch anywhere it needs to with a six foot cord, and it has spaces for USB cords, meaning you’ll maximize the amount of things you can plug in at one time.
Smartish Cable Wrangler - Magnetic Cable Manager & Cord Organizer
Is there anything worse than unplugging your phone and watching the charging cable fall into the space of nowhere land, where you’ll have to reach and reach and hope to grab it? With this little invention, you can rest assured that all of your charging cables will remain exactly where you left them.
JBL Flip 5 Speaker
We’ve all totally had the issue of wanting to have an impromptu dance party in our dorm, but have no way to boost the bass, right? Well, maybe you haven’t (yet), but in case the occasion should arise, make sure you have a speaker that can withstand bumping, jostling, or being spilled on but still deliver great music quality.
Porto Projector - HDMI Portable Mini Movie Projector
Alright, so maybe you’ve never had a random dance party happen…but I’m sure you’ve wanted to have impromptu movie nights, right? I’m sure the TV (if you even have one) in your room isn’t all that big, and you’re trying to cram, what, ten people in there? Well, as long as you have a blank wall or a sheet you can hang, this mini movie projector has you covered!
Dalykate Backpack Laundry Bag
My freshman year, I got (fairly) lucky. My laundry was only one flight downstairs. However, one of my best friends was in an older dorm where she had to go four flights down or up whenever she had to do her laundry. I think if I showed her this awesome invention; a laundry backpack, she would wish she had it. This is also great if you have to go outside of your dorm, like to a laundromat!
Attmu Mesh Shower Caddy
This is going in the ‘cleaning’ category because I hope you’ll be cleaning yourself…regularly. Please, for the sake of everyone in your dorm.
But do you know what’s grosser than not showering for a week? Dorm bathrooms. My freshman year, we had roaches for about 3/4ths of our time. It was disgusting. Even if your bathroom is roach free, you don’t want to be leaving anything in there or setting things down on the floor. This mesh caddy is easy to carry around and comes in ten different colors! It also is functional for plenty of other events after your first year, like going to the beach or on vacation.
LooHoo Wool Dryer Balls, Deluxe Starter 3-Pack
Dorms love to nickel-and-dime you on everything. Dorm washers and dryers are no exception. If I could count all the money I spent on washing my clothes (a necessary task, I admit) I’d probably want to cry. So, do yourself a favor and invest in dryer balls. These take the place of dryer sheets, saving you a good handful of cash in the long run. They are also natural and help your clothes dry faster, so you don’t have to do the dreaded ‘second dry cycle’ and cough up even more cash to have something to wear to lecture tomorrow.
BLACK+DECKER Cordless Lithium Dustbuster Handheld Vacuum
My freshman year I had this super fluffy rug. It was amazing…until I spilled an entire jar of uncooked oatmeal onto it. I still have nightmares about my fumble to this day. Honestly; I don’t think I ever got all the oats out of that rug. If I had a mini cordless vacuum, however, not only would I have not broken a sweat at that unfortunate incident, but I think overall my dorm would have been a smidge cleaner.
SimpleHouseware 24 Pockets - 2PK 12 Large Pockets Over Door Hanging Shoe Organizer
If you’re like my younger sister who had forty pairs of shoes she had to shave down to an amount that could fit into a dorm room, this over the door hanger may be a life-saver. However, I think this is a must-have, even if you’re not a shoeaholic! I’ve seen hundreds of creative ways to use this thing; make-up organizer, electronic cord holder, snack pockets to keep your Takis away from your Oreos, cleaning supplies organization, general storage…in a dorm room, you can never have too many organizational pieces and this one is so versatile that everyone should have at least one.
Bedside Shelf for Bed
If you opt to loft your bed like many students do to get just an inch more space in your dorm, you may run into the problem of never having a good place to put your phone, mugs, or anything else. I remember having to use a dresser, but everything I needed was just a smidgen out of reach. With this, which conveniently clips and locks into your frame, everything you need will just be an arm’s reach away!
Humble Crew Collapsible Cube Storage Ottoman Foot Stool with Tray
Storage ottomans are your best friend; and double points if they have a tray on the flipside! Say it with me: in college, we like anything that can double (or triple) in its usage! A storage ottoman is a great and usually pretty affordable choice; it can be used as storage for things you want out of the way, it can be used as seating, and if you get this one, you can flip it over and use it as a tray! If you don’t have a lot of space, you can elect to just get one cube. Or, if you’re like my mother, you can wake up and choose chaos and get your daughter a 4-cube, cow pattern print one. I’m sure there are other colors, too.
AMKUFO Closet Organizers and Storage 20 Pack
Dorm rooms are notoriously small, and by logic, so are their closets. Sometimes, it’s lucky if you get a functioning closet at all, or just a bar hanging somewhere in your room. In cases like this, for people that had a tough time narrowing it down to just one suitcase, this may be a godsend. It frees up real estate that may otherwise be wasted space by allowing you to use not just the horizontal space in your closet, but the vertical space too!
HOLMES Heritage 4-Inch Mini USB Desk Fan, Brushed Copper
I do not care if you are going to college in the North Pole. Somehow, even in freezing cold places, dorm rooms get unbearably hot. If you’re set to settle anywhere where it gets a little hot, you’re going to be sweltering. A little fan like this doesn’t take up much space, but will make sure you don’t have to take a humid, frustrated trip to a nearby Target a week into your college semester.
Microwave Pasta Cooker- The Original Fasta Pasta
Maybe you have better self-restraint than I did. Maybe you won’t eat as much pasta in your dorm room. But on the off-chance you’re a person that loves Italian food, this might be a must-have. Since your dorm likely won’t allow most cooking items, like any hot-plates, a microwave is as good as it’s going to get. For those lazy days when you don’t want to walk to a dining hall and are too poor to Postmate something, this pasta maker will make dorm dinners feel a bit more normal.
ZINUS 1.5 Inch Swirl Gel Cooling Memory Foam Mattress Topper
Have you ever been to summer camp? You remember those mattresses that were sort of sticky on hot summer nights and felt like plastic? Remember how uncomfortable those were, but hey, it was only for a week? Yeah. That’s what your dorm mattress is as of now. Do yourself a favor and get a mattress topper. They’re pretty cheap, and your back will thank you a month into the year.
Gardenia Floor Pillow
If you don’t have enough room or enough money to get a futon, what are you going to have your friend sit on when they come to your dorm room? Your lofted bed? Your uncomfortable standard-issue desk chairs? The floor? How about a floor pillow; you can keep them stacked, on your bed, or arranged sort of like a mini-couch and at least give your friends the option of something a bit softer to lounge on.
13.5" x 49.5" Framed Door Mirror
Even though no one really cares about what you look like in college, you still might want to check your outfit once or twice. These Target over-the-door mirrors are lightweight, don’t take up too much space, and can be clipped over your door so you don’t have to worry about screwing anything into the walls!
1.3gal Soft Close Pedal Trash Bin
One of the biggest things you don’t think about needing to have…until you really need to have it. Make life just feel a little bit more glam by getting the foot-pedal ones.
Cook with Color 10 Pc Chip Bag Clips with Magnet
Another often overlooked college dorm item is chip clips! Especially the ones that can magnetize to your fridge. The worst thing is spending your money on chips that go stale. And, you’d be shocked about how many other instances in which chip clips will come in handy!
Cooling Bamboo Weighted Blanket
Whether you’re a person prone to getting cold, hot, or stressed, this blanket will do it all for you. A weighted blanket is a must-have, even if you don’t think you need one. You can have your regular throw blankets, sure, but trust me when I say once you try this, which feels like being given a hug, there will be times it will come in handy.
Skywin Bed Tent Twin - Pop Up Privacy Tent for Twin Bed
If you get lucky and love your roommates, good for you! If you don’t, though, and feel stifled in your own space, that can be really hard. It might look a little silly, but if you’re a person that craves privacy, this may be the perfect solution for you to get some much-needed alone time, even if your roommate is in the dorm!
Custom Pet Shaped Pillow that Looks Like your Pet
One of the worst things about leaving for college is having to leave your favorite furry friend at home. But what if you could have them with you, stuffed? No, not like that, as a pillow! My mom got these for my younger siblings when they left their dogs at home, and I alway see these pillows front and center on their beds. When homesickness hits, the second best thing to actually hugging your cat or dog is cuddling a pillow that looks exactly like them.
Reading Pillow Bed Wedge Large Adult Backrest Lounge Cushion with Arms and Pockets
Look, it’s like everything that comes in your dorm room is made to be weirdly very uncomfortable. Even sitting in your bed against a hard wall isn’t fun for very long. You’re going to be doing a lot of studying in college (I hope) and this pillow backrest can make anywhere in your room a place to study.
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