Dorm essentials you didn’t know you needed

Mally Nichols, Reporter

Transitioning into college life is a big step for every student, and that includes moving into college housing. Most people spend a lot of time researching packing checklists for what’s absolutely necessary for dorm life, but these lists don’t always include everything.

Of course, it would be a nightmare to forget a toothbrush or some favorite pillows and blankets, but what about other small things that don’t show up on most of those lists? What else could a student possibly need? Here’s a list of items you might not know are essential for dorm living.


This may seem obvious, but for some, it isn’t. Put things on the walls! Moving away from home is a huge deal, so making a dorm room feel like a comfortable, home-like space is important. Try hanging lights, photos of the family pet or friends, posters from your favorite movies or celebrities. Tailor the space to suit your needs so that the dorm feels warm and cozy.

Extra-long ethernet cable

This one is a biggie. Internet access can make or break a student’s academic performance, especially during COVID-19, and sometimes Wi-Fi just doesn’t do the trick. It’s best to be safe rather than sorry by using a direct link ethernet cable. It’s important to note that in some UNF dorms, the ethernet jack is located on one side of the room, which means a longer cable may be necessary to reach all the way to the other side.

Water pitcher with filter

Unless you’ve already lived in the area for a while and are used to drinking tap water, it’s a great idea to invest in a pitcher that will filter the water. It’s a lot more cost-effective than buying water from the store and has a much better taste than drinking straight from the tap. Toss some of the water into a mini-fridge and simply refill as necessary.

Extra-long phone charger 

Lots of people have already invested in longer cables to charge their phones, but when moving into a dorm, it becomes even more important. Dorm beds are adjustable and sit fairly high up to make room for storage underneath, which means the sleeping space is a good distance away from even the nearest outlet. If keeping a cell phone near the bed is mandatory, make sure to invest in a cable that will comfortably reach the bed.

Chore list for you and your roommate(s)

Cleaning is a bore, but it’s very important for a student to keep the dorm tidy during their time at college. It’s good, not only for the dorm itself but for the mental health of everyone involved. Cleaning is typically a team effort between roommates, which means splitting up the work is a big chunk of the process. Having a list of all the tasks for each roommate to complete weekly is absolutely essential for dorm life. 

Extra chairs for guests

For residents with lots of friends, it’s best to make sure there are extra spots for those friends to hang out. Keeping a chair that can be folded, or put away when not in use, is the best way to save space when it isn’t needed and create space for when it is needed. Keep in mind that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, guests are limited right now, but hopefully more can stop by in the future.

Squishy Stuffed Animal 

Yes, adults are allowed to have stuffed animals too! For students who struggle with anxiety or have trouble completing assignments without stressing, a squishy plush can make a big difference. Try to find a stuffed animal that could double as a stress ball. Even if it’s intended for toddlers, try it out! It can be a huge stress reliever and will always be there to provide motivation to complete assignments. Use it to squish while completing assignments or watching lectures online, it’s very relaxing. 

An extensive variety of snacks

While living on campus has its perks like the Osprey Cafe, Panda Express, and other amazing dining options, depending on where a dorm is located, you might not feel like walking to grab a snack. It’s best to keep a good supply of snack time favorites right inside the dorm where they’re easily accessible, especially during hours when brain food is essential.


There are probably plenty more useful items that college students should 100% have in their dorms, but this list covers a bunch of the unheard-of essentials that residents should know about.

Remember, it’s important to make a dorm space as comfortable and functional as possible, especially when living there is going to take up a good chunk of the college experience. Be sure to assess wants and needs for the home multiple times throughout each semester to enhance dorm life, and remember to have fun!


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