Dorm IQ #16 | Planning Shared Dorm items With Your Roommate

May 5, 2024

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Deciding on shared dorm items with roommates

As you start planning to share a room with a roommate (or more than 1), agree on a list of items that you will share. This is a list of things you will only need one of in your dorm room.

Once you have that list of shared dorm items, I recommend that you split it up into roughly equal amounts of cost. At the end of your time together, each student takes home what they brought (or makes the decision to sell, donate or discard). If you buy these items together and split the cost down the middle, you’ll have a difficult time with splitting up the items at the end of the school year.

Shared Dorm Items For Your Dorm Room

You don’t need all of these, but if you decide you want them, you likely only need 1 unless, for example, the school allows 2 mini fridges (this is unusual).

Please check your school & dorm rules – some of the items may not be allowed or as with fridges and microwaves, may only be used in your dorm room if rented through the school.

Some schools do not allow outside furniture or rugs, or require electrical items to be UL-Certified or require curtains to be flame-retardant. Rules vary greatly, so please double check yours!

  • Mini fridge
  • Microwave + microwave cooking accessories
  • Coffee maker
  • Rug
  • Kitchen-sized trash can
  • Air purifier
  • Dehumidifier or humidifier
  • Carbon monoxide detector
  • Over fridge/”kitchen” storage – shelves, bins, etc
  • Window coverings & curtain rod/tension rod
  • Shared seating (eg futon under lofted bed)
  • TV & TV stand (if needed)
  • Roku or Fire Stick (if wanted)
  • Brita pitcher
  • Cleaning supplies (vacuum, mop, etc)
  • Full-length mirror (if not provided & wanted)
  • Vacuum cleaner

Recommendations for each of these items can be found in our Dorm Essentials Guide.

Private Shared bathroom – shared items

If you will have the luxury of a private shared bathroom, you can share the following items. For one of my boys, he shared his dorm room with 1 roommate, and they shared a private bath with the 2 students on the other side of the bathroom. In this case, we coordinated shared room items with the 1 roommate and shared bathroom items with all 4 of them.

  • Tension rod for shower (if not provided)
  • Shower curtain, shower curtain liner, curtain rings
  • Bath mats/rugs – more than one is a really good idea
  • Shower caddy (over faucet) or other in-bath storage
  • Toilet brush set
  • Extra hooks for wet towels
  • Over toilet storage shelving
  • Smaller trash can


Planning ahead for shared dorm items will make shopping less stressful and allow you to look for sales in the late spring and early summer before dorm items start to become more expensive and harder to find.


Dorm IQ is a comprehensive learning series covering all of the questions frequently asked in our Dorm Shopping Recommendations & Deal Alerts Facebook group. The Facebook group is also a great source for prior years’ move-in pictures for decor and organizational ideas.

See all of the Dorm IQ Topics here.

Our complete Dorm Shopping Guide is available here.

Important Tips and tools for dorm and campus safety.


Still have questions? Please comment below, or come ask us in the Dorm Shopping Recommendations & Deal Alerts Facebook group. So much great info in the group along with hundreds, maybe thousands, of move-in pictures from 2023 to give you ideas and inspiration.

=> Please share this article with your dorm-bound friends and their parents. I would love for everyone to understand the topics in Dorm IQ before they start dorm shopping!


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Important Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, a lawyer or a financial advisor. Please use this content as informational only and as only one input as you consider what options are best for you and your family. This is not professional advice.

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