College Life

10 Dorm Room Essentials You’re Probs Forgetting to Pack, According to an RA

published Aug 7, 2023
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black broom, grey ottoman, pink and black tool kit
Credit: target, amazon

As an RA, I have a special place in my heart for the exhilarating whirlwind that is college move-in day. The atmosphere is charged with anticipation and excitement as students and their loved ones set up their new home away from home. Sometime during the sweaty rush of unloading cars and the joyous chaos of parents running around, though, it’s inevitable that someone is going to have the stressful realization they forgot to pack something important. 

To help you avoid this situation and spend more time soaking in all the excitement of move-in day, I’ve compiled a list of essential dorm items students often forget to pack. (BTW, if you’re feeling overwhelmed by packing and don’t even know where to start, Her Campus has put together the ultimate College Packing List to help you out!) 

Take it from an RA who’s seen it all before — you’re going to want to add these products to your list asap.

All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.

1 / 10

A first aid kit is essential for treating mild illnesses (which can run rampant in a dorm packed with people) and minor injuries like cuts and bruises — you know, the issues you probably went to the nurse’s office for in high school. It's often forgotten, but having a first aid kit readily available can provide quick relief when needed, and it’ll make you feel very self-sufficient.

2 / 10
was $14.00

If your dorm room is like most dorm rooms, you’re probably not going to have as many power outlets as you need. That said, most dorms prohibit extension cords because they’re often considered fire hazards. That’s why a surge protector is a game-changer. Many students overlook this item, but having one (or a few!) on hand will allow you to safely charge your devices, power your lighting sources, and style your hair all at once.

3 / 10
was $27.63

Dorms can get very warm, so a fan is a must! Especially upon move-in, when it’s still hot out and many dorm rooms have been sitting in the heat for months, you’re going to want to get some air moving through your space.

4 / 10
was $14.62

Batteries are often forgotten, but they’re essential for powering pretty much all of your small gadgets. Whether they’re for your alarm clock, TV remote, wireless mouse, or string lights, having spare batteries on hand ensures you're not caught without power when you need it.

5 / 10

Command products are small but mighty additions to your dorm room. They allow you to hang lightweight items like your posters, towels, and bags without damaging the walls. These strips and hooks give you the freedom to personalize your space and showcase your unique style all without jeopardizing your security deposit.

6 / 10
was $29.99

It is so important to have a small tool kit on hand when building all your new furniture. This can come in handy for all the small repairs you may need to make throughout the semester, like adjusting loose screws on old dorm furniture or tackling spontaneous DIYs whenever the mood strikes.

7 / 10

Staying hydrated in college is key, and a water filter pitcher helps you with just that! It not only saves you the money you’d spend buying bottled water over and over again, but it also serves as a healthy and eco-friendly alternative. Trust me, whether you’re getting home from a lively intramural sports event or a rowdy party, you’re going to want a lot of water on hand.

8 / 10
was $49.99

Sorry to say, but there will simply never be enough space in your dorm room for all the things you need and want! That’s why having an ottoman that serves as both a storage unit and seating is so great — it brings a touch of comfort to your room while cleverly optimizing the space.

9 / 10

Dorm rooms can be so musty. Air fresheners are an easy way to help eliminate small odors, as well as elevate the vibe of your room (remember: candles are banned from pretty much every dorm). There are so many scents to choose from, but for what it’s worth, I am a proud “clean linen” girlie.

10 / 10

Small spaces like dorm rooms collect a lot of dust bunnies, so a broom will help you out immensely. It's a simple yet essential tool for maintaining a clean and comfortable environment all year long.

Angie Arias

Business Economics

Angie is a content creator from New York City, where she documents her college journey while providing tips to current and upcoming college students. She is an RA on her campus, and she's also part of her university’s TikTok committee. She also has her own small business, AmityLuxeLashes.

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SchoolSUNY Oneonta '25
MajorBusiness Economics
FavesTrying new foods around NYC, playing The Sims, Sade
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