Plan ahead for next year with these dorm room basics

AnnaLise Sandrich

With graduation and summer less than a week away, many seniors are preparing to leave for college soon. Living away from home for the first time is sure to bring new changes to your daily life, both good and bad, so taking some of home’s comfort with you may help the transition. As seniors start to get ready for next year, here are some dorm room essentials for their next major phase in life. 

Increasing comfort of standard dorm beds, mattress toppers are an essential sold at Bed Bath and Beyond. (Sophia Rocha)

Mattress Topper

College students are notorious for pulling all-nighters to study, spending late nights with friends and generally getting an abysmally low amount of sleep. That being said, sleep is crucial to learning capacity and mental well-being. Even if new factors in college make it more difficult to sleep a sufficient amount of time each night, it’s still important to prioritize the quality of whatever amount of sleep you do end up getting. Dorm room mattresses can be uncomfortable, so if you’re picky about your sleep, investing in a mattress topper may be for you. A mattress topper can help you experience all the new things college residential life has to offer while allowing you to keep the comfort of your bed at home. Although they can sometimes be expensive, there are a wide variety of options to choose from at Target, Amazon, Bed Bath and Beyond and other furniture stores. 

Here are three inexpensive but highly rated options: 


Many dorm rooms don’t have air conditioning, and heat can make sleeping or studying difficult and uncomfortable. Especially if you’re going someplace out of state with more extreme, hot seasons, investing in a fan can help keep your dorm cool and comfortable. Fans are a great inexpensive way to control the temperature. Look for a small, portable option that won’t take up too much space in your dorm room or can fit in your closet, but will still provide optimal cooling. 

You can find one option here: 

Shower Caddy and Shoes

With small, shared bathrooms in dorm buildings, shower caddies are a great and inexpensive way to fit everything you need in the shower and stay organized. Using a caddy means that small bathroom shelves won’t prevent you from being able to take all your shampoo, conditioner, body wash and other hygiene products. If you’re uncomfortable with the idea of bacteria and germs lurking on the bathroom floor, shower shoes can protect you from any infections. You can either bring flip-flops from home, or buy a new pair of water-proof shower shoes. Just make sure to look for options with traction, you don’t want to slip!

You can purchase a shower caddy here: 

You can purchase shower shoes here: 

Water Bottle

Be sure to either bring a reusable water bottle with you from home or purchase a new one when heading off to college. Staying hydrated is important for studying and maintaining physical and mental well-being. It is crucial to take care of yourself as you start the next chapter of your life and take on new challenges. If you want to have even more fun, you can customize your water bottle with cute stickers and different colors as an inexpensive way to add more personalization to your life and to your space. 

If you don’t already have a water bottle you love, consider something like this: 

Closet Organizer

Dorm rooms aren’t usually large, so be sure to take advantage of your closet space by staying as organized as possible. Especially if you’re going somewhere with fluctuating temperatures, you’ll want to have a way to store your cooler clothes during the winter and warmer clothes during the summer while keeping the items you need accessible. A closet organizer will help you minimize the mess in your life and start the semester off on the right foot.  

While your closet organization needs will vary depending on what kinds of clothes, shoes and other objects you plan on storing throughout the year, here is an example that may work for you: 


Located in Larkspur Landing, Bed Bath and Beyond is the perfect place to purchase college essentials. (Sophia Rocha)

While the transition from high school to college can be challenging and unpredictable, from bomb threats to a pandemic, the class of 2021 is no stranger to adapting to unusual circumstances. As these chaotic four years come to a close, remember to celebrate all you have accomplished during your time at Redwood. Hopefully these recommendations will help you as you take the next step in life.