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The fall semester of most US colleges are just about to start, and you know what that means: many of you are just around the corner from moving into to your home for the upcoming school year! As parents and students are shopping in a frenzy at Target, Ikea, etc., it is important to keep in mind that many of the things you think you can’t live without will likely be stuffed in some dusty corner of your room.

On the flip side, there are always those freshmen who are frantic the moment they move into their dorm because they forgot to pack essential items. So here’s a list of must-have items for your dorm!

  1. Ethernet Cable: get a long one too! 7 ft. won’t do it, especially if you have the same situation as my first year where the Ethernet plug for both people were on one side of the room. (FYI: even just stringing it across the room, which is extremely dangerous, didn’t cut it). Campus stores make a killing off students who forgot this on move-in day.
  2. Surge-Protector Power Strips: yes, you don’t have to pay for utilities when you’re in the dorm, but it will be very apparent come move-in day that you don’t have nearly enough power sockets for even your electronics. Campus stores also mark up the price like crazy for this item.
  3. Fan: Even if your dorm has air conditioning, it may not be reliable. And on those days it decides to act up, it is very necessary to have a fan near the window to keep the air moving in your room.
  4. Shower Sandals: Community bathrooms are disgusting, no matter what people say. So do yourself a favor and save yourself from athlete’s foot, and bring some waterproof sandals.
  5. Multivitamins: Considering the typical college student’s diet consists of dining hall buffets, free pizza, frozen burritos, and instant noodles, you need to supplement your horrible diet somehow.
  6. Earplugs and/or Sleeping Mask: You have to expect the worst about your future roommate, and I mean this in the nicest way. Whether he/she intends to disrupt your sleep or not, there will be a situation where the desk lamp on the other end of the room or the intense phone conversation your roommate is having might keep you up at night. On the other end, you also have neighbors. And, depending on your college’s location, city traffic or lots of lights on the other side of your window. I, for example, lived right across from a club one year, so weekends were incredibly noisy. You’ve been warned.
  7. Air fresheners: Plug ins and such may be prohibited from your dorm, but there are other means of keeping your room fresh. You might have a smelly roommate, smelly neighbors, or at the worst, be placed right next to the trash room. I was right next to the trash room; it sucked. So do yourself a favor and strategically place some air fresheners to ward off the oncoming stenches.
  8. Mini Toolbox with Essentials: It’s amazing how many times you will need a screwdriver, duct tape, glue or screws in your short lived stay in your dorm.
Photo courtesy of Kevin via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

What are your must have items for your college dorm? Post them in the comments section below!