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10 Dorm Room Essentials

Before you leave home, check out this list


By this point, you’ve probably already dragged out your suitcases and started filling boxes for your big move to BU. But before you leave, check out our list of must-haves, suggested by students who have been there and done that.

1. Fans

The first few weeks of fall semester are guaranteed to be hot and most of the freshman dorms aren’t air-conditioned. A fan will help you beat the heat.

fan gif

Via Giphy

2. Hooded jacket and waterproof boots

Umbrellas are no match for Boston winds, so a hooded rain jacket is essential. You’ll also need to keep your feet dry as you walk from one end of campus to the other during rainy (or snowy) weather. And—surprise!—Boston is snowy, so make sure to bring a warm winter parka too.

Two students under an umbrella in the rain

Photo by Cydney Scott

3. Bedding

Make sure you buy sheets that fit a twin XL bed. Dorm mattresses can be extra firm, so bring a mattress pad, and if you have allergies, pick up a mattress protector as well. If you’re living at Warren Towers, you’ll want a set of bed risers so you can store stuff underneath your bed.

Dorm room bedding

Photo by Kalman Zabarsky

4. First aid kit

If you knick yourself shaving or get sick in the middle of the night, you’ll need some help. Pack a kit with Band-Aids, an antibiotic cream, over-the-counter pain and cold remedies, and something for that upset stomach.

First Aid Kit

Photo by Flickr contributor DLG Images

5. Kitchen utensils

You may be eating in the dining halls, but you’ll still need a couple of mugs and a knife, fork, and spoon for when the late-night munchies strike.

mugs and spoons gif

Via Giphy

6. Electronics

Be sure to pack a power strip, a surge protector, external hard drives, and a cell phone charger.

external hard drive connected to lap top

Photo by andrewsafonov/iStock

7. Lamps

You’re going to want more than an overhead light. Bring a desk lamp or a floor lamp to brighten up your digs. Your eyes will thank you later.

dorm room desk with desk lamp

Photo by Yasin Emir Akbas/iStock

8. Flip-flops

Yes, for the shower.

Flip flop gifs

Via Giphy

9. U-Lock

Bringing a bike to campus? Don’t come without a U-Lock. It’s the most effective way to thwart bike thieves.

Bicycle locked with a ULock

Photo by Vernon Doucette

10. Cleaning supplies

Bathrooms in the dorms are cleaned for you and you can borrow a vacuum from Res Life when you need one, but you may still want some disinfecting wipes, paper towels, and a small trash can to keep your room neat.

Cleaning supplies on store shelf

Photo by Flickr contributor kleer001

Have ideas for other essentials? Add them in the Comment section below.


11 Comments on 10 Dorm Room Essentials

  • Lisa Tornatore on 08.11.2017 at 7:06 am

    Another tip: Bring a water pitcher to keep in your room rather than buying bottled. Boston’s tap water is among the best in the country!

    • Jacey on 08.11.2017 at 2:24 pm

      I’s bring a Brita pitcher with a filter. You never know, and it tastes better.

  • BU Student on 08.11.2017 at 2:28 pm

    Nice to see U-locks in lauded but the bike pictured is locked incorrectly! Front wheels with levers are easily removable and should be locked with the bike

    • Carl, Parking and Transportaion Services on 08.14.2017 at 9:53 am

      Good eye! Unfortunately, with that type of rack it’s difficult to snag the rack, the frame, AND a wheel, even with a big u-lock. The locking job pictured is likely the best one could do and is far better than the all-too-common practice of locking just the front wheel to the rack.

      Meanwhile, rest assured that BU is working on improving our bike racks and will eventually replace racks like this one.

      • Dan O'Donnell on 08.14.2018 at 9:39 am

        That kind of bike rack is perfectly fine for using a U-lock, but you have to set the U-lock to go through the wheel and then onto the frame of the bike.

        With that technique the rack is locked into place with the wheel and frame.

  • Beka on 08.13.2017 at 6:42 pm

    I had the only set of tools in the old Charlesgate dormitory. Bring a small tool box – hammer, pliers, screwdriver, tape measure at least. You’ll make a lot of friends.

  • Kristin on 08.14.2017 at 2:12 pm

    Two more items:
    -a bed bug protector
    -Red Devil vacuum ($17)

    Both are available on Amazon. Would 100% recommend because the dorms are dusty and who knows what is on those mattresses!

  • Samantha Khosla on 08.15.2017 at 12:16 pm

    A can opener. You will be a hero.

  • PL on 08.15.2017 at 7:40 pm

    sunglasses — to protect your eyes from early glaucoma and cataracts
    locking cable and lock — to secure your coat, if you’re hanging it on a rack in the gym
    cable lock for your laptop if you are inclined to leave your electronics in public places
    lock for your backpack
    lock(s) for your suitcase(s)
    swimsuit — so you can swim at the FitRec
    bathrobe — to dry yourself fast and to be able to walk around in the dorm hallways
    Waterpik or a water flosser — to keep your teeth and gums healthy and prevent huge dental bills and implants

  • Amr on 08.26.2017 at 10:28 pm

    What about if I live 1 hr away from the campus is it difficult for full time student because of family issues?

    • Alumnus on 08.09.2018 at 9:49 pm

      It is possible, I commuted for about a year from Salem to BU Med Campus. Took about an hour to drive each way, and it got old after a while because I felt like I was never really spending time on campus, but I was able to make it on time to classes. It was generally more miserable in the winter (after snowstorms), since the traffic would increase the commute time.
      Overall, I saved a ton of money. I wouldn’t really suggest it for undergrad, since being on or near campus is a pretty big part of the “college” growth experience, but if you have no other options you can do it.

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