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12 Essential Amazon Products for Your Dorm Room | Shopping List for College Freshman

High school is in the rear-view mirror now! Next stop—college!! It can be daunting task figuring out what to buy for your college dorm room. You don't have much space and so your dorm will become your bedroom, living room, and study area. Your closet will be small and you want to get the bests deals. I've created a list of the essential list of Amazon products you'll want to grab before heading off on your new adventure.

Setting Up Your Dorm Room

Our youngest is now 20 and has had a year in the dorms and a year in an apartment, so I thought it would be a good time to update the necessities and favorites, what she loves, and what we could have done without. My husband and I both lived at home during our college years, so neither of us have dorm experience and had no idea where to start. There are so many lists of what to bring for college that it was overwhelming! The list below includes items directly from Amazon…hello, easy shopping! This gave us a great start when we moved our youngest out of state for college. Cue the tears.

So let’s get right to the list!

What to Buy and What to Skip For Your College Dorm Room

1. Car Jump Starter

I’m starting here because this is one of the BEST purchases we’ve ever made. It’s super easy to use in the case of a dead battery, and completely idiot proof. If by chance you don’t hook it up correctly, it has lights and a buzzer to let you know before you blow something up. But seriously, we have one in every car now. Make sure your teenage drivers have one, and it’s top of the list before sending them off to college!

2. Zippered Mattress Protector

Let’s move on to bedding. This was a big concern for me, having heard horror stories about bed bugs, we bought a fully enclosed zippered mattress protector. It was probably one of the first things we did…wipe down the mattress and get it zipped up. Bed bug and dust mite proof, so it put my mind at ease. Check with your dorm, but you’ll likely need a Twin XL.

3. Gel Memory Foam Mattress Topper

It’s a dorm, we had zero expectations for a comfortable mattress, so a good mattress topper was necessary. This one is 3″ thick, breathable, and is cooler than a regular memory foam topper. This was definitely a must-have for Alex, and got gifted to a new college freshman at the end of the spring semester.

4. Memory Foam Reading Pillow

Super soft reading pillow fits perfectly against the wall in her dorm room and apartment! It’s a great back rest pillow for sitting in bed and has a super soft faux fur removable cover. It’s about 18″x15″ and we got the pink one, but it does come in different colors.

5. Padded Desk Stool / Wobble Chair

This is by far her favorite desk chair ever! The height is adjustable and the seat is padded…and it rocks! This is a great desk chair even if you’re not in a dorm room, but let me tell you, the desk chairs at UNM are hard wood and incredibly uncomfortable. If you’re searching for the best wobble chair, you found it and it is worth every penny! And yes, it was moved to her apartment and is another must-have!

6. Desk Organizer

We left a lot of her things in storage rather than moving everything home for the summer. This desk organizer did come home with her though. With 5 compartments, there is a place for everything.

7. Collapsible Clothes Hamper Storage

Hopefully your teen has learned to do laundry, so they’re going to need somewhere to store dirty clothes. Dorm rooms are small, so anything that saves space will be greatly appreciated when it comes time to move in. It collapses, has drawstrings and handles for easy carrying, and bonus–they offer some super cute prints! I mean, I can’t send her off to school with a boring hamper now, could I?

8. Collapsible Laundry Basket

This is another favorite of mine. After years of having plastic laundry baskets that took up so much space, we tried a collapsible laundry basket, but it was plastic so it didn’t last long. This fabric laundry basket has held up well for over 3 years now, so I’ve included it on my must-have list for dorm rooms. It’s big enough to carry sheets and blankets, but collapses to less than 2″ for easy storage. At last check, 2 laundry baskets were only $4 more!

9. Vacuum Storage Bags

These came in very handy when we had to move nearly all of her clothes, but last spring they saved so much time! By the end of the year, she had all of her clothes, bedding, and linens backed and ready for storage. It has a pump included, but if you have a vacuum available, that will be even better. FYI, kids don’t have vacuums in their dorms. We opted for a Swiffer XL Wet & Dry.

10. Rope Hanging Baskets

When we originally found these baskets that were cute and easy to hang. Little did I know how useful they would be! They’re perfect for holding extra clothes that can be worn again. So at home apparently that spot is “anywhere on the bedroom or bathroom floor” but in the dorm, it was perfect for pj pants! When I found out this was the secret to keep clothes off the floor, I threatened to buy dozens and hang them in every room in our house! Please tell me I’m not alone! Like everything else, we hung these with Command Hooks.

11. Command Display Ledges

Just a simple shelf perfect for making a dorm room feel a little more like home. We used just the small 8″ shelves and they were perfect.

12. Hanging Closet Organizer

Yep, not a lot of storage room so make the most of every inch! We chose this hanging closet organizer because it has drawers, shelves, and pockets. Note, I wouldn’t want to use these drawers on a daily basis since they obviously don’t slide out easily. Also, depending on where you grad goes to school, see if stores provide grocery bags. I didn’t think they’d be that necessary, but I did pack some grocery bags for her and she laughed at me. Yet a few months later, what happens? “Mom, can you send more grocery bags?” That’s a win!! And guess where she stored them? In this closet organizer.

Bonus: Velvet Grommet Curtains

Her dorm had mini-blinds that didn’t block out the light. We searched for along time to find something that she liked with grommets, so we could hang them from–you guessed it–command hooks!

So there is my shopping list of things to buy for your college dorm. What did I miss? Do you have something you’d like to add? Let me know in the comments!

  • Wonderful list of 12 essential amazon products for your dorm room. Wish I would have had your list last year when my daughter went to Freshman year. I’ll have to check these out for Sophomore year!

  • What a great list of dorm room essentials for kids leaving home for the first time! Anything to help personalize your space and make it feel a little homey!

  • What in incredibly well thought out and thorough post. Every student leaving home needs to see this essentials list! The car jumper – #1 priority, all the way.