7 dorm items you didn’t know you have to have

A student’s belongings sit in an unloading zone on move-in day. Photo by USC-Beaufort

Kudos to you. You’re feeling pretty good since it’s the beginning of August and you’ve already purchased the necessary items from the packing checklist.

Hopefully you made arrangements, if possible, to pick up some of the big items at a store nearby the college so you don’t need to stuff your car to the gills. You’re one organized family.

So, the necessities are taken care of. Here are seven items that many freshmen feel are needs, not wants, although you may disagree:

  1. Extra long phone charging cords

Many dorm rooms were constructed in the 20th century, when students only needed an outlet for their lamp or clock radio. While many dorms have been upgraded with more outlets, it can sometimes be challenging to have the cord reach all the way to bed. Since most students used their phones as alarm clocks and need to see their most recent text at 2 a.m., they want their phones close by. A 3-pack of extra-long (10 ft) charging cable cords will solve this problem for only $10.50.

  1. Bed shelf

College students have become experts in utilizing every space imaginable in their tiny dorm rooms. Elevating beds is commonplace because it allows some serious under-the-bed storage. But night tables are still the traditional height. So, a clever company has come up with a bed-shelf that attaches to the bedframe. The Bunk Buddy is great for the college student who needs space for the iPad, computer, cell phone, alarm clock, water, etc., without leaving the bunk or lofted bed. Beds are often raised to weirdly elevated heights with no space to place a phone, glasses, or a bottle of water.

  1. T-Shirt quilt

Surround your child with their memories while simultaneously making them empty their bureaus of their old T-shirts. You may be able to find someone locally to put the quilt together or contact Project Repat www.ambassadors/projectrepat.com and they’ll create a one-of-a-kind T-shirt quilt.

  1. Safe or Lockbox

You’ll feel safer knowing items such as passports, medicine and valuable jewelry are secure. The Sentry model offers digital security with a programmable electronic lock with two user codes. You can order a compact electronic safe for less than $30 – money well-spent.

  1. Refrigerator cart

The dorm fridge that was desired amenity a generation ago is now standard fare. But dorm floors are still disgustingly dirty, and a compact fridge cart elevates the fridge from the floor while providing additional storage space. They range in price from $50 to $150.

  1. Portable charger

A dead phone is the curse of the millennial. College students, and now parents, use their phones constantly and it’s easy to drain a phone’s battery. Now there are lightweight and inexpensive chargers you can throw in a backpack to make sure the phone is always charged.

  1. Echo Dot and Echo Show

Do you remember the popular talking Elmo? Demand far exceeded supply, and it was chaos in the stores at Christmas. The Amazon Echo Dot is similar – it is the electronic toy everyone wants. Students can ask “Alexa,” the virtual assistant, to set an alarm, play music, get the weather forecast, have a book read to them, order a pizza or an Uber, and so much more. And recently, Amazon announced the Echo Show, which has a touch screen and video camera so you can video chat with your college student via voice command.


Bierer is an independent college adviser based in Charlotte. Send questions to:  lee@collegeadmissionsstrategies.com