Best Dorm Essentials for Guys

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In this post I’ll go through my list of dorm essentials for guys to help you get ready for your first year of college.

Getting everything ready for college can be an overwhelming task. That’s why I put together this checklist of the best dorm essentials for guys.

Having interacted with many first-year students and their parents, I’ve seen students show up less than prepared. And while things always work out for them, there’s a lot of unnecessary stress that could have been avoided if they had simply prepared.

Understandably, freshman guys have no idea what they’ll need in their dorm let alone what else they should pack for college.

You might end up buying more of one item and none of the other, which is why I’ve created this guide of dorm essentials for guys. 

Whether you are shopping with your son or they’re doing the work, these are the things you should have on your shopping list.


Every guy knows that they need bedding, but you will be surprised by how much they will miss. The bedding list includes Pillows, Mattress Cover, Sheet Set, Quilt/Blanket, and a foam topper.

Don’t skip that last item.

I went without a foam topper my first semester and suffered through months of poor sleep before getting one. It made a huge difference.

This set below comes in multiple colors and comes with everything you need besides the foam topper.

Bedsure Grey Twin XL Size Comforter Set – 6 Pieces
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03/08/2024 03:02 am GMT


Your young man needs two or more pillows for sleeping and lounging. 

Since the dorm room doubles as a living room and leaning in the cinder block walls is nothing close to comfortable, make sure you buy at least two high-quality pillows.

The lounge pillows should be good enough and durable because they will be used often when the bed doubles as the couch.

Utopia Bedding Bed Pillows for Sleeping
$27.49 ($13.74 / Count)
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03/08/2024 03:43 am GMT

Mattress Cover/ Mattress Encasement

You don’t want to imagine the number of people who’ve slept on your dorm mattress, so you better buy a good quality mattress cover.

Besides the human filth, you also have to worry about bedbugs and the other grossness associated with used mattresses.

Even if you’re not a germaphobe, please zip that thing right up. A mattress cover made of impenetrable vinyl is recommended.

Memory Foam Topper 

No college invests in comfortable mattresses for its students. But you know that comfort is important for good rest and consequently good performance.

Therefore, a good quality mattress topper is a dorm essential, and it will go a long way to make that hard, thin mattress a little more bearable all year long.

Serta ThermaGel Memory Foam Mattress Topper, Twin XL, Blue
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03/08/2024 03:30 am GMT

Bed sheet set

Preferably twin XL bed sheet sets. While we all understand the importance of bed sheets, your freshman will need sheets with deep pockets to cover both the mattress and the foam topper.

The twin XL sheet is also recommended because the dorm beds are generally longer than the regular twin beds.


Like the bed sheets, we recommend getting a twin quilt and a blanket/comforter. Your choice depends on the location of the school and the prevailing weather conditions. Cotton quilts are an excellent choice because they can withstand multiple washes over the years. If buying a comforter, choose a down comforter; it’s cozy, comfy, and it can be washed multiple times.

Whether you’re doing your own shopping or getting help, you might also want to add a darker colored duvet cover or a sham.

Organization Supplies

Every guy must live in an organized room, and even if your roommate doesn’t care much about the organization, you might want to work on your little space even when you consider yourself a slob.

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Desk organizers

Besides having a space for your reading lamp or computer, you need trays and stationary holders, as well as post-it-notes to keep your desk organized. This is a good basic one.

Drawer organizers 

All your socks, boxers, ties, and documents need to be stored well in the drawers. You don’t want to be the guy who throws things into the drawers with no sense of order.

The other organizers you might need include a chalkboard vinyl calendar, a bedside caddy, a perfect desk lamp, cork key hooks, head side tech storage, or a mini fridge storage shelf.

You also need tape, stapler, binders, organizers, white out, calculator, and a desk chair.

Dorm Electronics

You probably have an idea of all the electronics you want in your dorm. Laptop aside, you also need:

Noise canceling headphones

You might have a vague idea about what goes on in colleges noise-wise, but it will be worse than you imagine. Noise canceling headphones will give you peace of mind and also help you concentrate on your studies when your neighbors throw parties every weekend.

Apple AirPods Pro (2nd Generation)
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03/08/2024 03:48 am GMT

Cables and Extension Cords and power strip

You will not find an extension cord or cables waiting for you in your dorm room. Buy good quality ones.

Your electronics will also include an extra phone charge, portable pack of batteries, flash drives, a printer, and a multi-port USB charger.


Before you buy any of these appliances, first check with your school and your roommate.

Mini fridge

You need one for water, food/ snacks, and other legal drinks. Here’s my top three favorites. (And don’t forget those college dorm snacks to keep in stock).


This is an important appliance, but you might want to check with your school and also your roommate before you buy one. You should also get microwave-safe mugs and plates.

Coffee maker

You need a coffee maker for fresh coffee to take you through the sleepless nights you will be studying. K cups and Keurig cups are also recommended for fresh coffee to take you through the early mornings and late nights.

Besides appliances, you should also get a can opener, a toaster oven, one pot, pan, pizza cutter, peeler, water bottle, silverware, some good knives, and a cutting board.

Guys Dorm Décor

Your dorm room will be your new home, and you want to feel comfortable when you walk in from class or your part-time job. So, you need to decorate it creatively to match your style.

Some of the important décor items include posters, throw pillows, pennants, and tapestries. These items will add life and your personality into your dorm room.

A rug is another important piece of décor, but you should consider looking for an affordable option, especially if you feel that you will throw it out within a year or less. Photos, canvases, lamps, and command strips will also come in handy.

Another great option that’s often overlooked by students is dorm room plants. They can help bring life to a rather dull space. And there are tons of options that require almost now work. 


Don’t assume that your dorm room will come fitted with good lighting.

Desk lamp

As mentioned above, the desk lamp is an integral part of your desk. Besides the overhead lights, you need a desk lamp to concentrate on your projects effortlessly. With a desk lamp, you won’t need to distract your roommate while they sleep, and you will concentrate on your projects well.

A desk lamp gives you clear, bright light to work under, and since the lamp has a focused beam, you won’t struggle with glares. Look at the lamp’s light quality, the adjustability, and it should be the right size for your desk and placed on the desk appropriately. Don’t forget to check the on/off switch positioning.

Multifunctional LED Desk Lamp with 10W Fast Wireless Charger, USB Charging Port
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03/08/2024 03:48 am GMT

Reading lamp

Never underestimate the power of a good reading lamp. Your reading lamp will be the difference between you studying for your finals effortlessly and you struggling with aching eyes.

When buying your reading lamp, check the type of bulb – LED or CFL, and you might also want to get a directional lamp that will focus/ illuminate the pages you’re reading. Remember that you need good reading lights whether you’re reading an actual book or a digital copy.

Air Freshener

You must have an air freshener in your dorm room. Even if you’ve taken up the habit of opening your bedroom windows daily, you need an air freshener because of biology and the fact that you might host guys and you don’t want your room having a foul smell. Find a scent that works well for you and your roommate.

Bathroom Gear

Most people often forget bathroom gear, yet it’s the most important part of your dorm room and your college life. So, if you care about your hygiene, get the following items:

Shower Caddy

Get a shower caddy in a color of your choice and make sure it can hold your toiletries; soaps, shampoo, body wash, shaving cream, shaving razor, shower cloth, body wash, and anything else you might need to get ready for the day/bed.

Portable Shower Caddy – College Dorm Essentials Large Capacity
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03/08/2024 04:21 am GMT

Shower Shoes

Whether you will be using a bathroom alone, with your roommate, or with 12 other guys, you must get shower shoes or shower flip flops. You don’t want to share.

There’s also the fact that the dorm showers, especially those for men, are notoriously gross, and you really don’t need or want an infection your first week or month in college. You could get shower shoes with small holes to let the water through.


You need at least three towels, as well as hand towels and a washcloth. Your hygiene is important, and you can only enhance hygiene in the dorms with a good number of towels. The good news is that you don’t have to bother buying expensive towels.

ZUPERIA Bath Towels 27″ x 54″ Set of 4 Ultra Soft
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03/08/2024 04:14 am GMT

The other guys dorm room essentials include toilet paper, body wash, shampoo, conditioner, bath mat, a loofa, and a bathrobe. A bathroom rug is also recommended, and if your school allows, get an upgraded shower head.

Laundry Supplies

Now that you’re going to college, you need to remember that you will be responsible for your own laundry and you will have no one picking after you. You need a laundry hamper and laundry detergent.

  • Laundry hamper – a laundry hamper is decorative, unlike a laundry basket. While no one likes doing laundry given all that’s involved, a good laundry hamper will simplify sorting, washing, hanging, folding, and putting your clothes away. Before buying, consider the available space, your load, design, shape, weight, and size. You could buy a plain or decorative hamper. You should consider getting two hampers, one for colored clothes and the other for whites and delicates. A breathable mesh bag is another good alternative.
  • Laundry detergent – look for the easy-to-use laundry detergents that have brightening, stain-removing, and whitening effects/ agents. Look for the detergents that come in single-use units such as Tide or Persil. Laundry detergent pods are the best invention for dorm room laundry.
  • You will also need stain removal pens, dryer sheets for softer and clean smelling clothes, and a collapsible drying rack for drying your bath towels or rain-soaked coats. A clothes steamer is also a great idea and thanks to technological developments, you can find a small travel-size steamer for use in the dorm – when you leave your clean clothes unfolded in the laundry basket for a week, they will be very wrinkled.
  • Don’t forget plastic hangers to keep your clothes organized

Dorm Cleaning supplies

  • A dustbuster is needed for cleaning up food fight messes
  • Clorox wipes or any other disinfecting wipes for sticky desks, keyboards, or any other sticky surfaces. Wipes work better than spray bottle since they can pick up crumbs ac prevent the spread of bacteria
  • Sweepermop because you need a clean dorm room and a sweeper mop is lightweight and easy to clean/store.
  • Paper towels because you will make messes
  • A mini vacuum because you now live in a small shared space
  • Dish soap or dishwashing liquid for those plates, knives, spoons, cereal bowls, and cups. And when you run out of detergent, you can use the dishwashing soap to wash your clothes!
  • A scrub pad will also come in handy.
  • The other cleaning supplies include a bathroom cleaner, floor cleaner, an all-purpose cleaning spray, and a toilet brush.

Miscellaneous list – fan, umbrella, board games, and a first aid kit.


Every dorm room should have a few games students can pull out for some added fun and stress relief. While a deck of cards is a good place to start there are so many more awesome board games. For a list of our favorites check out our post on the best dorm games for college students.

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Dorm essentials for guys





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