Top 10 Forgotten Dorm Room Essentials

Heading off to college is an exciting venture filled with new experiences, learning, and growth. It’s a journey that marks the transition from high school to the independence of adult life. However, amidst the excitement of packing, it's surprisingly easy to overlook items that can significantly impact your daily life on campus. To help ensure you're fully prepared for your college adventure, we've compiled a list of the top 10 things you probably weren’t thinking were super important to take with you.

Rain Gear

For many of you, living on a college campus will mean living in a walkable community for the very first time. While umbrellas work for relatively short distances – say, from a parking lot into a grocery store – they very rarely offer the coverage you need for extended foot travel. In addition to your umbrella, having a waterproof jacket and rain boots (or shoes made specifically for wet weather) makes the difference between a comfortable walk to class and a cold, soaking wet experience.  

Box Fan

Arguably, most college dorms are not known for their state-of-the-art HVAC systems. A box fan can be a lifesaver, especially in those early autumn days or late springtime, when dorm rooms can become uncomfortably warm. Not only does it help regulate temperature, but it also provides white noise that can help drown out the sound of a bustling dormitory, helping you sleep through the night. 

Common Tools

A basic toolkit with a screwdriver, hammer, and pliers can be incredibly useful in a college dorm. Whether it's assembling furniture, tightening a loose screw on your bed frame, or hanging decorations to make your space feel like home, having common tools at your disposal ensures you're prepared for these small, yet significant tasks.  


Tape is one of those things you forget exists until you urgently need it – then, it’s a hassle to find. From hanging posters to fixing a tear in a book or sealing packages, tape is a versatile tool. Whether it’s masking, duct, or double-sided, each serves a unique purpose and can be a quick solution to many dorm life dilemmas. It's a simple addition to your packing list that can come in handy more times than you might anticipate.  

Extension Cords & Surge Protectors

Laptops, lamps, chargers, speakers – With the plethora of devices a student brings to college, you'll quickly realize that the limited outlets in a dorm room aren’t enough. Extension cords and surge protectors expand your charging capabilities and protect your devices from power surges, making them indispensable in your college packing list.  

Bonus tip: Dorm room beds can sit off the ground higher than usual. Make sure you have an extra-long phone charger so you can reach your phone while in bed.  

First Aid Kit 

In the hustle and bustle of college life, minor accidents happen. You might trip up some stairs in front of people you just met. Don’t worry – it's a rite of passage. It’s also why having a first aid kit stocked with basics like band-aids and antiseptic wipes is crucial. It ensures that you’re prepared to sanitize and dress minor cuts and scrape right away, without having to trek to the campus health center or a local pharmacy. 


Moving to a new environment can sometimes trigger unexpected health issues. Having a personal medicine kit with prescriptions, vitamins, and over-the-counter remedies for common ailments (like colds, allergies, or stomach issues) is essential. This ensures you have immediate access to relief when needed, keeping you healthy and focused on your studies. 


A dependable, multiuse schoolyard classic that’s been there for us since the beginning. Forgetting a pair means coming face-to-face with the meaning of the phrase, “you don’t know what you have until it’s gone.” From opening packages to cutting tags off new clothes, or even crafting for a class project, scissors are a must-have in every college dorm room. 

Government Documents 

Important government documents, especially your passport or social security card, are crucial for items such as completing your I-9 employment verification forms if you plan to work on campus. These documents are often overlooked in the packing process, but are essential for navigating many administrative and legal processes in college. 

Shower Supplies 

While packing toiletries is a given, don’t forget a shower caddy, flip-flops, and extra towels. Shower caddies keep your supplies organized and transportable for community bathrooms, while flip-flops protect your feet from the shared shower floors. Extra towels ensure you always have a dry one available, since you might not have time to keep your laundry routine consistent during high-stress periods (it happens). 


Packing for college is more than just bringing clothes and school supplies; it’s about preparing for a new chapter of independence and everyday challenges. Including these often-forgotten items on your college packing list will make your day-to-day a lot more manageable by ensuring you’re comfortable and prepared. Pack smart, and get ready to make the most out of your college adventure! 

Can’t figure out what else to pack? Check out our exhaustive master packing list – It's got everything you’ll need to make the most out of living on campus.

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