Storage, storage, storage. Whether you’re living in a dorm, a Greek house or an apartment, you’re short on space. No matter how light you pack moving in, junk accumulates and an ottoman is both essential for extra storage (think of all the shoes, towels or bottles of juice you can fit in there) and for boosting yourself onto your lofted bed. You might think you can parkour your way up every time, but you can’t. Take it from me; I tried.
2. Paper plates & utensils
Everyone always points to the classic 99 cent dishes and silverware from Target — which are great because they’re cheap, cute and easy, but never underestimate the amount of dishes that can rack up in a tiny dorm even with just one person using them. Unless you’re really committed to washing dishes every couple of days (and who really is?), your best bet is to grab some paper plates and utensils. I recommend saving the plastic forks that take-out places always seem to hand out like candy for a rainy day when you just can’t fathom trooping to the bathroom to wash a fork.
3. 10-foot charger
Tiny room and minimal outlet, a 10-foot charger is necessary. But be sure to check your building’s fire codes to see what their rules on power strips are. Not everyone allows them, but if your dorm does, I’ll take this opportunity to remind you: tiny room, minimal outlets.
4. Clorox wipes
When you’re running late for class and you spill your coffee all over your desk, you don’t have time to grab paper towels and a spray bottle. And you’re going to hate yourself later if you leave it to congeal on the not-quite-wood surface. Clorox wipes will save you in situations like these. Also, Clorox wipes can work as dusters in a pinch.
5. Wall plug
Look, no matter how clean you and your roommate are, a tiny room that has been lived in before by who knows how many people is gonna smell super musty. Wall plugs (as long as they’re allowed in your building) like the Bath & Body Works Wallflowers line, or even just any kind of plug-in scent or diffuser, are going to change your life and make your room smell just a little less like stale socks.
Honorary mention: alternate lighting
The dorms have definitely got some harsh lighting going on. When you’re just trying to unwind at night, having some other light, be it in the form of fairy lights or just a lamp, is really great to help your brain settle into a more relaxed state. No one likes an aggressive Walmart-esque light at 11 p.m. while they’re watching TikToks in bed.
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Mandy (she/her) is a junior studying journalism and public relations. She spends her free time shopping, writing and hanging with friends.