What Do Kids Need to Live in a Dorm?


Types of dorm rooms vary among colleges, and some colleges have different types available on their campus. For example, students may have a single dorm room or rooms with multiple roommates. Some dorms have kitchens or kitchenettes available as well. Depending on the type of room and the school’s rules for allowed items, you may need to purchase a few things to make life in the dorm more comfortable.


  • Most dorm rooms come equipped with a bed and dresser, but you will need to furnish sheets, pillows and blankets. Some dorm mattresses feel hard and uncomfortable, so students may need a mattress pad or cover to help them get a good night’s sleep. If you plan to purchase these items before the start of school, contact the college’s housing department to determine the size of the bed, since dorms may have regular or long twin beds.


  • Students living in dorms will need to have bath towels, hand towels and washcloths, and you may want to purchase a few of each to last between trips to the laundry room. Students who have a personal bathroom may want to purchase a bath mat as well. Students will also need their own bathing supplies, toiletries and other hygiene products.


  • Students who have a room with a kitchen may need to gather basic supplies such as dishware, silverware, pots and pans. You may also want to start out with basic pantry supplies such as flour, sugar, spices and boxed or canned foods. Rooms that do not have a kitchen or kitchen access will not usually give students the option of bringing cooking equipment, such as slow cookers or hot plates. Some schools may allow microwaves, but others do not. Check with the housing department for guidelines before purchasing these items.


  • Dorms will typically have a desk in the room. However, students will need supplies such as a desk lamp, pens, paper and staplers. Most courses require access to a computer, so students may need a desktop or laptop computer if they do not already have one. Schools may have specific requirements regarding power strips or extension cords, so check with the housing department for their specific guidelines regarding electrical items.

Décor and Cleaning

  • The school will have specific requirements regarding decorating the dorm room. In most cases, you will only have the option of hanging pictures or other decorating items with an adhesive or putty product that does not leave holes or otherwise harm the paint, walls or woodwork. Students cannot have candles or other flammable materials in a dorm. Students may also want to purchase basic cleaning supplies to dust or clean spills. If they have a personal bathroom and kitchen, they will need supplies for these rooms as well, including sponges, toilet cleaner and dish soap. Finally, all students will need laundry supplies.

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