Dorm Room Shopping: 15 Things To Enhance Your Space!

So you've been assigned your dorm and have looked through as much information about it as you could find online. Awesome! You may even have gotten a sneak peak of your dorm during your orientation. But you're still confused about what to bring. Deciding what's necessary, and what can stay at home, can be hard. But, dorm room shopping can also be a ton of fun! You can finally reinvent your room and do the theme you've been wanting to do for the past few years but haven't gotten around to. Here are some things that I found useful when living in the dorm.

1. Fan:

Seriously. If you live in a dorm without air conditioning, this is a MUST. I brought a stand up fan from home and we ended up buying two box fans in addition to that one. Welcome Week and the first weeks of class are hot. BUY A FAN.

2. Desk Lamp (With Outlet): 

This is nice to have when you don't want your overheard lights on! I placed my desk lamp by my bed so that I could continue to do things while my roommate was sleeping or I was getting ready for bed. It had an outlet in it so that I could charge my phone right there instead of reaching behind my bed and finding the power strip to plug it in to. It also had spots for pencils and other things which came in handy.

3. Mini Fridge:

Leftovers. Cold drinks. Snacks/meals when you are too lazy to go to the food court. Enough said.

4. Command Hooks/Command Strips etc.:

Want to hang any decorations to your wall? Then you'll need these. I found that command strips worked the best for me, but it all depends on what you're wanting to hang up. If it's something heavy or large, be prepared to use a lot of sticky stuff because the walls, at least the one's at Wright, can sometimes be difficult to hang things to.

5. Storage drawers:

Love these! I put a bunch of odds and ends things in mine and had it right by my bed so that if I needed something, it was right there. They can easily be moved, come in all different colors and help declutter your space.

6 Ottoman: 

One of my favorite dorm room purchases! This serves doubly as storage (I used mine for shoes) and a seat. I got mine at Target and they have all different patterns and colors. It helped save space while simultaneously brightening up our room!

7. Shower Caddy:

I know some people that just brought their shower supplies in their hands with them and put it on the shelves in the shower, which is fine, but be aware that that is sometimes an easy way to forget things. If you buy a shower caddy, make sure it's large enough to fit all of your things, but not too large or bulky to where it's awkward to carry. Also, make sure it has holes in it so that the water drains out. It's no fun having to drain the water yourself every time or have your stuff constantly soaking wet.

8. Shower Shoes:

In addition with the shower caddy, buy some shower shoes. I bought a pair of cheap flip flops and wore them solely in the shower. Just don't buy too cheap of a pair...having shoes with no traction and falling in the shower does not sound like a fun way to start your college experience!

9. Step Stool:

Since my roommate and I stacked furniture, a step stool was awesome to be able to reach the stuff that we couldn't reach on our own. It was collapsible so it went right between our shelves and then we could pull it out when we needed it.

10. Crates:

I had three large crates and three small crates that I brought with me. One crate was for snacks, one was for stuff that I wanted by my bed, and one I put in my wardrobe for clothes. The little ones I stacked on my desk and put random stuff in. They're stackable, inexpensive (the mini ones below I bought at the Dollar Store) and come in all different colors!                           

11. Bed Risers:

This only applies to people who don't have lofted or bunk beds, but if that is you, definitely buy bed risers! It lifts your bed up enough to be able to have storage under it, which is awesome. My roommate and I both had them and put our drawers and other things under our beds which saved us a ton of room and made our space more open.

12. Decals:

If you're into decorations, buy these! You can find them at all kinds of places, even the Dollar Store. I found these to stick the best on the walls and I didn't have any trouble with them all year. They're easy to put up and take down, which is a definite plus.

13. Rain gear:

Even though I live in Indiana, before going to college, I didn't have to walk 15 minutes in the rain. So yes, buy rain boots and an umbrella. Although rain boots may be difficult to find, they are worth it. Having wet shoes all day without the ability to change them is not fun. Also, make sure you buy a good umbrella. My first umbrella was a cheap one that flipped inside out when the wind was bad (which was practically every time it rained) which made having an umbrella pointless. Spend the extra few dollars and buy good rain gear, you'll be using it off and on the entire year!

14. Momento from Home:

It's nice to be reminded of home and merge your old memories with the new ones you're creating in college. I brought pictures and put them on my desk and walls. I also brought an IU bear that was given to me for high school graduation by my grandma. While I don't suggest bringing your entire stuffed animal collection, as dorm rooms are pretty small, having a few things from home that make you happy isn't a bad thing.                                       

15. Comfortable shoes:

Seems obvious but I made this mistake myself. First semester, I had classes all over campus (Union Street, Rawles & the Student Building if that means anything to you) and made the mistake of wearing brand new shoes one day to class. HORRIBLE IDEA. Blisters and all of that other gross stuff is not fun to deal with. Your feet will thank you for taking the time to bring comfortable walking shoes. IU is a beautiful campus but it is also very large so be prepared to walk!!

Just remember that in the end, you won't be remembering what you forgot to buy for your dorm room. Instead, you'll be remembering your first year of college and all of the experiences and opportunities that went with it, so don't stress yourself out too much about having the perfect dorm room. If you know your roommate, or feel comfortable reaching out to your soon to be roommate, collaborate and try to decide who is bringing what. This saves you money and ensures that you don't bring two of the same item.

You're only a freshman in the dorm once, so take it for all that it's worth!!

If you want more information on moving in, check out the RPS Move In Guide.

For more articles about what to bring to the dorm, check out these:

About The Author
Morgan KlingelhoeferClass of 2017

I'm Morgan Klingelhoefer (pronounced HEY fer) and I'm a senior at IU majoring in Nonprofit Management with a minor in psychology.

I love to be involved and am a part of Leadership Advisory Board, Independent Council, Dean's Advisory Board, and am a blogger & pinner (see our Pinterest here) for WeAreIU.  I also help facilitate leadership retreats with the Office of Student Life and Learning and am a part of IU's IU2U program! I absolutely love IU and can't imagine having chosen anywhere else.

I can't wait to share all of my college experiences, lessons learned, and random things about my time here with you all. Feel free to follow me on social media or contact me at my person email below to talk about whatever your heart desires!