Proven Dorm Essentials | Freshman Year Parent + Student Feedback

February 29, 2024

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Feedback on college dorm essentials and must haves

For the entire month of February, the Dorm Shopping Recommendations and Deal Alerts Facebook Group featured a daily topic and invited feedback from current college freshmen and their parents on their chosen dorm essentials within that topic. After living in their dorm rooms for about 6 months, we wanted to hear how our recommendations and their own choices are working out!

This is the summary page for this February Feedback series. You can find each of the daily topics with a link to that specific post below – the feedback is in the comments of that post.

On Fridays, rather than post a specific topic, we hosted a Friday Free For All for members to recommend any product they found useful or helpful. We’ve taken all of those recommendations and group them into categories just below the list of daily topics.

As always, please be sure to find all of your college and your specific dorm’s rules before making purchases for college. If you need help finding that information, see our How To Research Your Dorm Article.

February Feedback: Dorm Essentials Topics By Day

These links will take you to our private Dorm Shopping group. If you’re not already a member, just request to join and answer the 3 quick questions. We approve new members several times per day.

For a deeper dive on these dorm essential categories, many are covered in our free Dorm IQ Learning Series, available here on our Positively Squared Away website as well as in our Complete Dorm Essentials Shopping Guide.

Friday Free For All: Favorite Dorm Essentials From group Members

The following are group members’ recommendations posted in our Friday Free For All posts to collect feedback on any topic of their choice!

Dorm Cooking Recommendations

Dezin Hot Pot Electric with Steamer. 4.4* rating: Used to cook quick meals or snacks.

Elite Gourmet EGL-6101 Personal Stir Fry Griddle Pan -4.4* Your student can cook dozens of things from hamburgers, eggs, and even quesadillas.

Mini Air Fryer – 4.6* – small but great for one person

Countertop Ice Maker – 4.4* Great for filling water bottles on the go.

Sterilite 12 Qt. Dishpan Plastic – for washing dishes and things out in the room

Dorm Bathroom Recommendations

Mini UVC Toothbrush Cover Rechargeable Travel Toothbrush Case with Holder – 4.6* To help keep away and kill any germs in transit.

Stone Bath Mat – 4.7* Nonslip and is a natural mat.

2 Pack Under Bathroom Cabinet Organizer with Hooks Hanging Cup – 4.7* Collapses beautifully and is sturdy for storage

Dorm Storage Solutions

Space Saver Over The Door Hook Hanger Rack Set 4.5* rating – Provides additional storage for a free-standing wardrobe or on the back of a regular door.

Honey-Can-Do 5-Tier White Shelving Unit holds up to 250 lbs 4.6* – Used to store fridge and microwave but can bring much-needed storage to many areas of the dorm room.

SONGMICS Storage Ottoman 4.5* – An oversized ottoman that can used as a step stool and storage. Holds up to 660 pounds .

5-Tier Wire Shelving Unit on Wheels, Adjustable Storage Racks and Shelving 4.6* – This can be used for additional storage or even a nightstand. The wheels will help it to be able to be moved with ease.

Pipishell Sturdy Wooden Coat Tree with 8 Hooks 4.5* – Used for coats and bulk sweatshirts.

6-Shelf Detachable Over The Door Organizer – 4.8* – You can hang half on each side to help maximize storage. It works better than the one with pockets.

3 Tier Metal Utility Cart – Brightroom™ – 5* Used to store Kuerig and other snacks. The wheels are great for portability.

Over The Door Clothes Hanging Rod – 4.7* Great for extra closet space, hanging wet raincoats or air-drying clean clothes.

Dorm bed Accessories

BedShelfie Bedside Shelf for Bunk Bed & Top Bunk – 4.6* A shelf that clips right onto the side of the bed.

Surblue Bedside Caddy Hanging Bed Organizer– 4.5* Organizer to hang on the side of the bed.

Dorm Decor Recommendations

Candle Warmer Lamp 4.5* – For when they love the smell of a candle but can’t have it in the dorm. Be sure your roommate(s) are ok with fragrance in the room.

GE LED+ Color Changing LED Light Bulbs with Remote, 4.7* – Remotely change the colors of the bulbs for added ambiance.

LED Puck Lights with Remote Control – 4.7* Great for to use under a loft bed.

Wall Sconces Set of Two – Rechargeable – 4.0* Can be hung with small command hooks and works great for lofted bunks.

COSCO Multi-Functional Personal Folding Activity Table – Great space saver

Dorm Laundry Recommendations

SONGMICS Clothes Drying Rack – 4.6* Great for drying clothes or undergarments.

Dryer Balls – 4.6* Used to help reduce drying time.

Personal Safety Recommendations

Kryptonite Heavy Duty Key Lock – 4.6* Pricey but worth it for a bike lock in an urban setting.

Birdie – Personal safety alarm – use code PSA15 to take 15% off at checkout.

Ideas For Dorm Comfort

Heatable Stuffed Fox Plush  4.5* This stuffed animal can be warmed in the microwave to give off heat and a pleasant smell.

The Bunk Butler to hold the WOOZOO Fan – If you know … you know!

Imusa Stovetop Use or Camping 0.7 Quart Aluminum Mug– 4.7* A group member placed the cup with water in it on the furnace to create a humidifier.

Games For College Students – Used as icebreakers and friend-makers


Cards Against Humanity

Phase 10

Miscellaneous Ideas and Suggestions

1) For lofted beds, pool noodles and zip ties are am amazing hack to protect head bumps into the bed frames! Cut a slit down the length of the pool noodles and zip-tie them around the frame of the lofted bed. These also help prevent loose items from falling from the bed to the floor on the sides up against a wall.

2) Join the college or university parent Facebook group in the spring. Maybe join one that is also close to your home. Many students sell items that they no longer need and don’t wish to pack up and take home.

3) Get TWO shower caddies – one for showering or one for additional toiletries that aren’t used when showering.

Thank You + More Dorm Resources

Thank you so much to all who participated and provided feedback during our February Feedback series. We sincerely hope this has been helpful and inspirational for rising college freshmen heading to life in a dorm room.

For more inspiration and trusted, tested dorm essentials, see our Complete Dorm Room Essentials Guide.

Still in learning mode? Be sure to master all of the dorm shopping concepts in our Dorm IQ Learning Series. Students, you can follow this series on TikTok (@dorm_IQ) too. Shorter and more student-friendly content. Invite your college-bound friends and potential roommates to join you there.


Class of 2024 students & moms, if your friends aren’t in the Dorm Shopping Group yet, they need to get in the know before they start dorm shopping! Help them save money, avoid toxins and find quality, tested solutions.

You can copy this URL to share:

  • In a text message to friends
  • In an email to friends
  • Post it on your personal Facebook page.
  • Post it in a Facebook group for your high school or Class of 2024 group.

Thank you for sharing!

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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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