25 Must-Have Dorm Room Items

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group of students smiling with boxes of stuff in college dorm
Photo credit: sturti/istockphoto

DORM SWEET DORM

Back-to-school shopping is almost in full swing again, but for new high-school grads ready to head off to college, things like laptops and dorm room supplies take priority over notebooks and pencils. Gearing up for college can get expensive, but there's no need to overspend if you keep an eye on your budget. Whether you're in a dorm or living off campus, here are 25 tried-and-true items for college freshmen that won't break the bank.

jansjo led work lamp
Photo credit: Courtesy of ikea.com

JANSJO LED WORK LAMP

Price: $10 | Buy it at Ikea
Dorm lighting is notoriously bad, and some apartments may not have any overhead lighting at all. A small desk lamp with a long-lasting LED bulb is a must, and this one is one of our favorite finds at Ikea. The flexible arm on this one also makes it easy to direct light where you need it.

clevermade snapbasket laundry caddy and carry all
Photo credit: Courtesy of amazon.com

CLEVERMADE SNAPBASKET LAUNDRY CADDY AND CARRY ALL

Price: $23 | Buy it at Amazon
A sturdy laundry bag is essential for schlepping those dirty clothes around. This one can double as a hamper and folds flat for storage when you don’t need it. It also serves as an all-purpose tote for loads up to 55 pounds.

threshold performance sheet set
Photo credit: Courtesy of target.com

THRESHOLD PERFORMANCE SHEET SET

Price: $30 | Buy it at Target
Decent sheets are a no-brainer for making your space comfortable, and these sheets are one of Target's most popular buys for a reason. Soft and durable, they're made from 400-thread count cotton sateen. They also come in Twin XL to accommodate dorm mattresses.

insignia portable bluetooth speaker
Photo credit: Courtesy of Bestbuy.com

INSIGNIA PORTABLE BLUETOOTH SPEAKER

Price: $40 | Buy it at Best Buy
No space — or money — for a fancy sound system? A portable speaker can still help you pump up the volume. This one has a built-in speakerphone for hands-free calls and works for up to eight hours on one charge.

black and decker brew 'n go personal coffee maker
Photo credit: Courtesy of amazon.com

BLACK AND DECKER BREW 'N GO PERSONAL COFFEE MAKER

Price: $19 | Buy it at Amazon
Save a ton of money by trading in your morning Starbucks habit for a personal coffee maker. This compact version is one of Cheapism's favorite money-saving models. It works with grounds and soft pods and includes a 15-ounce travel mug for when you need to get to class quickly.

Galanz Mini Refrigerator
Photo credit: Courtesy of walmart.com

GALANZ MINI REFRIGERATOR

Price: $79 | Buy it at Walmart
A mini fridge will always be a must for dorm rooms, and this one has a high-end, stainless-steel look at a bargain price. It includes a small freezer compartment and in-door storage that can accommodate cans and a 2-liter.

Belkin 12-Outlet Power Strip and Surge Protector
Photo credit: Courtesy of amazon.com

BELKIN 12-OUTLET POWER STRIP AND SURGE PROTECTOR

Price: $19 | Buy it at Amazon
The chance that your new digs will have enough outlets in convenient spots? Close to zilch. A power strip with a surge protector that will protect your electronics will always be a sensible buy. This one has a long 8-foot cord that will help you set up your gadgets exactly how you want them.

room essentials bedrest support pillow
Photo credit: Courtesy of target.com

ROOM ESSENTIALS BEDREST SUPPORT PILLOW

Price: $15 | Buy it at Target
When you want to ditch your desk and curl up in bed for some pre-exam cramming or a much-deserved Netflix binge, a support pillow can help guard against a nasty backache in the morning. This plush version comes with a handy carrying handle.

sunbeam steam master iron
Photo credit: Courtesy of amazon.com

SUNBEAM STEAM MASTER IRON

Price: $30 | Buy it at Amazon
Unfortunately, transitioning to adulthood involves the occasional need to wear professional, wrinkle-free clothes. One of Cheapism's favorites, this inexpensive steam iron has a convenient retractable cord and large anti-drip tank.

interdesign orbz shower tote
Photo credit: Courtesy of amazon.com

INTERDESIGN ORBZ SHOWER TOTE

Price: $15 | Buy it at Amazon
For dorm life, a good shower tote is an essential for schlepping shampoo, soap, razors, and other toiletries to the bathroom. This one has nine compartments and a self-draining design that will help ward off mold and funky smells.

skubb hanging organizer
Photo credit: Courtesy of ikea.com

SKUBB HANGING ORGANIZER

Price: $5 | Buy it at Ikea
In dorms and small apartments, maximizing storage space is the name of the game. This hanging organizer can turn a portion of your closet into even more space for folded clothing, shoes, and other items.

asus c302 12.5-inch convertible touchscreen chromebook
Photo credit: Courtesy of amazon.com

ASUS C302 12.5-INCH CONVERTIBLE TOUCHSCREEN CHROMEBOOK

Price: $449 | Buy it at Amazon
A good laptop will be an integral part of every day, for both work and play. This Chromebook with a high-definition 12.5-inch screen. It can also be used as a tablet, has a battery that lasts up to 10 hours, and weighs under 3 pounds — perfect for carrying to class.

honey-can-do portable lap desk
Photo credit: Courtesy of amazon.com

HONEY-CAN-DO PORTABLE LAP DESK

Price: $18 | Buy it at Amazon
Pair this lap desk with your new bed support pillow for a comfy work station. It has a removable pad and built-in handle, and the solid surface will help keep your lap (and your laptop) cooler.

creativeware adjustable bed riser system
Photo credit: Courtesy of walmart.com

CREATIVEWARE ADJUSTABLE BED RISER SYSTEM

Price: $15 | Buy it at Walmart
One of the best dorm hacks? Increasing your storage space with a set of bed risers. This customizable set can add 3, 5, or 8 more inches of vertical space under the bed, and the locking rings keep them stable.

jansport right pack
Photo credit: Courtesy of zappos.com

JANSPORT RIGHT PACK

Price: $60 | Buy it at Zappos
A sturdy backpack is essential for carrying textbooks and other gear around campus. This JanSport has an internal laptop sleeve, padded shoulder straps, and a suede bottom. It's made of durable fabric that can stand up to everyday use and abuse.

Brita Everyday Water Pitcher
Photo credit: Courtesy of amazon.com

BRITA EVERYDAY WATER PITCHER

Price: $36 | Buy it at Amazon
A Brita pitcher is a winner for a few reasons: It gives you quicker access to water without requiring you to always head to your dorm’s common kitchen, and it helps reduce impurities and improve taste. The built-in filter makes it a Cheapism favorite.

Your Zone Flip Chair
Photo credit: Courtesy of walmart.com

YOUR ZONE FLIP CHAIR

Price: $79 | Buy it at Walmart
Papasans, bean bags, and butterfly chairs are all well and good, but if you want extra seating, you might as well get something that can pull double duty. This flip chair folds out to become a bed in a pinch — perfect for that friend who wants to crash in your room.

utopia bedding quilted fitted mattress pad
Photo credit: Courtesy of amazon.com

UTOPIA BEDDING QUILTED FITTED MATTRESS PAD

Price: $15 | Buy it at Amazon
Soften up an unforgiving dorm mattress with an inexpensive quilted mattress pad. Made with polyester fiberfill, this one is allergen-free and machine washable. It comes in Twin XL and can fit mattresses up to 16 inches deep.

canon pixma mx492 wireless all-in-one printer
Photo credit: Courtesy of bestbuy.com

CANON PIXMA MX492 WIRELESS ALL-IN-ONE PRINTER

Price: $50 | Buy it at Best Buy
You can always head to the computer lab when you need something printed, but buying a small printer of your own is a lot more convenient. This compact, wireless Canon Pixma also copies, scans, and faxes.

dirt devil scorpion handheld vacuum
Photo credit: Courtesy of amazon.com

DIRT DEVIL SCORPION HANDHELD VACUUM

Price: $26.75 | Buy it at Amazon
Messes are inevitable, so make clean-ups easier with a compact vacuum that won’t take up too much space. One of Cheapism's favorite handhelds, this Dirt Devil weighs less than 4 pounds and has a 16-foot cord, quick-flip crevice tool, and convenient bagless design.

Avantree Active Noise Cancelling Bluetooth Headphones
Photo credit: Courtesy of amazon.com

AVANTREE ACTIVE NOISE CANCELLING BLUETOOTH HEADPHONES

Price: $50 | Buy it at Amazon
Noisy roommate? Party in the apartment next door? Zone out with this inexpensive, lightweight pair of noise-canceling headphones. They're good for reducing low-frequency background noise and pair easily with your devices via Bluetooth.

Sterilite 3-Drawer Wide Weave Tower
Photo credit: Courtesy of walmart.com

STERILITE 3-DRAWER WIDE WEAVE TOWER

Price: $20 | Buy it at Walmart
These lightweight Sterilite drawers add extra storage, but the espresso basket-weave finish makes them a little easier on the eyes than most plastic sets. And they're opaque, just in case you don’t want your roomie constantly staring into your underwear drawer.

johnson and johnson first aid kit
Photo credit: Courtesy of amazon.com

JOHNSON AND JOHNSON FIRST AID KIT

Price: $11.37 | Buy it at Amazon
Be prepared for bumps, scrapes, and other minor injuries or illnesses with a small first aid kit. This one includes Band-Aids, Neosporin, Tylenol and more. You can also customize your own first-aid kit using our handy list of products.

u brands contempo magnetic dry erase board
Photo credit: Courtesy of amazon.com

U BRANDS CONTEMPO MAGNETIC DRY ERASE BOARD

Price: $6.69 | Buy it at Amazon
Make it easy for friends or roomies to leave messages while you’re out by putting a dry-erase board on your dorm-room or refrigerator door. It mounts easily with double-sided Velcro strips, and the surface is magnetic for additional versatility.

corelle livingware 12-piece dinnerware set
Photo credit: Courtesy of amazon.com

CORELLE LIVINGWARE 12-PIECE DINNERWARE SET

Price: $43 | Buy it at Amazon
There are cheaper dishes out there, but this simple Corelle set is worth a modest investment because it's durable and microwave-safe. The thin plates stack closely, so they won’t hog much shelf space.

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