It’s time to go back-to-school shopping – for college! Wherever you go for your dorm room essentials, it’s hard to know exactly what to bring to college with you and resist buying out the entire home department. You’ll have lots of options when you go to the store, but some items are better than others to add to your cart. It can be hard to tell what types of items will work best for you if you don’t consult with a current student or college coach beforehand. That’s where we come in!

Buy a Soft Laundry Bag, Not a Plastic Laundry Bin

Plastic laundry bins are bulky and hard to carry, especially up and down the stairs. When accessing your dorm’s laundry room, you’ll likely have to open the door with one hand. You may even need to unlock the laundry room with your ID. That means having both of your hands on a plastic bin won’t help you. A soft laundry bag can be thrown over your shoulder or dragged to the laundry room. You can even buy a laundry bag with backpack straps to make hauling your clothes to the laundry room even easier!

Buy Room Spray, Not Scented Candles

There are certain things you aren’t allowed to have in your college dorm. Candles are unfortunately one of them. Get some Febreze for the same effect but without the fire hazard.

Buy Closet Organizers, Not Hangers

Hangers are bulky and take up precious closet space. Instead, invest in closet organizers that save space while storing all of your clothes. Target sells shoe organizers, clothing organizers with shelves, and plastic drawers that can fit in the corner of your closet.

Buy a Mesh Shower Caddy, Not a Plastic Caddy

Plastic shower caddies are hard to put down in the shower, so you’ll risk having your shampoo fall out. Mesh caddies are easier to hang over the shower head, and they sometimes stretch to fit your larger items.

Buy a Soft Runner, Not Decorative Pillows

A soft runner adds a pop of color to your dorm room without taking up space. Decorative pillows may seem like a good idea – until you’re constantly moving them out of your way to sleep.

Buy Command Strips, Not Nails

If you accidentally damage the paint on your walls, you’ll get charged for it when you move out. Avoid those sky-high fees by using Command adhesive strips to hang your dorm décor. If used correctly, they won’t rip off the wall paint.

Buy Posters, Not Tapestries

Many colleges have rules regarding how much of your walls can be covered with decorations. That’s to prevent fires. Tapestries can become a fire hazard, causing some colleges to ban them. Posters are a much safer bet for decorating.


Before buying anything for your college dorm room, check out your university’s residence life page to see which items are prohibited on campus. Doing this will help you save money, since you won’t buy items you’re not allowed to have. This school year, shop smart!

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The Complete High School Timeline for Getting into College

Applying to college is a marathon, not a sprint. And it starts freshman year of high school. This book outlines what you should be doing each year of high school to be ready competitive for applying to college.

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