12 “Must-Have” Dorm Items That You Actually Don’t Need

Back-to-school time used to only focus on little kids and teenagers, but in recent years it has extended to college students, too. In most ways, this is great: You have some good guidance about what items you’ll need to make college life more comfortable, from shower caddies to accompany you in the communal shower (eugh!), to cheap over-the-door mirrors that don’t take up too much space in that cramped room you’re sharing with two other people. But in a way, we all end up getting kind of played: Those curated lists from Bed Bath and Beyond or those aesthetically pleasing dorm room inspo lookbooks from Urban Outfitters can be helpful, but they’re also a great way to get you to buy crap that you’ll never actually use.

If you happen to be the type of person who is super efficient and actually follows Pinterest tips on how to best utilize a canvas shoe organizer, then this list probably isn’t for you. But if you’re like the rest of us, then peep this list of 12 must-have dorm items that you actually don’t need. This is all subjective, of course, but use this as a helpful guide to really think about what you want on your college wish list.

Super Nice Bedding

Yes, it's super tempting to hit up Urban and get some super nice bedding, duvet covers, etc, but I'm going to be real with you: Save your money. You probably aren't going to wash your bedding as much as you should anyway, and you'll be so exhausted whenever you're chillin' in bed, you won't really care about the fact that your duvet cover isn't the prettiest out there.

Urban Outfitters


Not going to lie, having a printer in my room did save me time every now and then, but you don't really need one. You'll be able to print out whatever you want on campus, quite possibly for free, and you don't need to worry about ink or anything like that. Plus, printers are massive and you don't want to have a space hog like that when you're probably going to turn in many of your assignments via email anyway.



...Let's be real: You aren't going to take the time to iron your clothes 99.9 percent of the time. You might think you will ,but trust me, you won't. And who has room for a big ol' ironing board either? If you MUST have something to get wrinkle out of your clothes, just get a steamer.


All Of Your Favorite Books

It's tempting, but girl...don't do it. It's heavy af, which, if you're flying to school, could lead to you spending a lot of money for a checked bag. Plus, you have limited space in your dorm; where are you going to put your entire Harry Potter collection? And, most importantly (and sadly), you won't have time to read any of them anyway. Bring a few feel good books with you and call it a day.


Your Entire Wardrobe

This is so hard and was damn near impossible for me, but trust...try to edit your wardrobe as much as possible. Extra clothes just cause clutter, and you probably aren't going to wear half of the clothes you bring TBH. Bring your favorites and a few extra looks and leave it at that.


Extra Furniture

Your dorm room will already be equipped with the necessary furniture that you need. You don't need an extra chair to sit in; you probably won't have room for it and you'll probably be chillin' on your bed more than a chair anyway.

Urban Outfitters

A Zillion Hanging Organizers

I, admittedly, drank the hanging organizer Kool Aid when I was a Freshman. "Finally, a chance for me to be neat and tidy and organized!" I thought. LOL, joke was on me, and my wallet: I barely used them. My shoes were never inside of them and my jewelry never ended up in those organized little pouches. If you're a super organized person or you want to be and you're interested in giving them a shot, go for it. But if you're a little more low maintenance, you're better off having a designated shoe pile that's somewhere out of the way and a catchall dish to plop your jewelry and other accessories into when you're not using them.



Binders might have been your high school staple, but they're annoying to have in college. Plus, you're mostly writing notes in class anyway; you don't really need a ton of room or pockets or all that jazz. Just get a trusty notebook for jotting down notes and avoid unnecessary backpack bulk.


Cute Stationary

Yes, nice stationary is great, especially if it's all twee and cute looking. But you're probably not going to use much of it. You really don't need pretty paper clips, or an aesthetically pleasing stapler, or a fun tape dispenser. Trust, you won't even really use them! You'll save money getting generic pens, pencils, and highlighters, too.


Cookware Set

Even if you have a kitchen in your dorm, you probably aren't going to do enough cooking or baking that would require you to buy an entire cookware set. If you like cooking and you have access to a kitchen, keep it simple: Get a pot, a pan, a pasta strainer, and a baking sheet.

Urban Outfitters


If you've grown up a TV addict like me, the idea of not having a TV might be mind boggling. How will you survive? Well, you will, especially if your dorm isn't even equipped with cable. If you must have a TV, get a cheap one that's relatively small for the sake of space. Otherwise, get used to streaming.


Credit Card

Honestly, you really don't need one yet. Yeah, yeah, yeah, building credit, blah blah blah, but if you know deep in your heart that you're going to use that card to get buck at Sephora, and you don't have a job to pay the money off, just keep a debit card for now. It's more responsible, and you don't want to leave college with more debt than you'll probably already have.


Which of these items are you going to cop anyway? Tell us in the comments!

You can follow the author, Ashley Reese, on Twitter or Instagram. Don’t worry, she doesn’t bite!

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