Setting up your new dorm room: Do’s and Don’t’s

Your college dorm room is more than a place to sleep.  You will be studying, eating, hanging out, getting dressed and relaxing in it.  This is why organizing it properly and making sure you have all essentials is important.

We at peerTransfer have some tips and tricks for International Students (flying in from abroad) on setting up your new dorm room, helping you figure out what you should bring or buy, and what is redundant.

Clean dorm room

One of the first things you should do is to take a look at your new room and see how much space you have to work with. Dorm rooms are usually equipped with a bed, desk, chair and closet.  Figure out where your bed is placed and see if there is a better spot for it or a way to elevate it to create extra room. Dividing the space in a smart way alleviates the constrained size and boxiness that are so typical of dorm rooms.

Now let’s see what else you really need?

What to buy

  • Bedding: Sheets and a duvet 
  • Alarm Clock (or use your alarm function on your smartphone)
  • Desk lamp
  • Shower shoes (simple and inexpensive plastic flip-flops)
  • Shower caddy (A hanging toiletry organizer with lots of pockets)
  • Laundry bag
  • Mirror


You might think of ways to decorate your room, maybe bringing sentimentals such as photos, art work, posters, lava lamps, christmas lights and such.  Start off with just a few small things, like pictures of your family and friends.  You will accumulate a lot of stuff throughout the year and you don’t want to cluster your room.  Think: unclustered room – unclustered mind and a free mind to focus on your studies.

Studying in your dorm room

Where to buy

If you want to spend less money, do not buy everything from stores like Bed Bath and Beyond. Save money by shopping at outlets, or even Wal-Mart (where a coffee maker is a lot cheaper).

What you don’t need

You might think that a mini fridge is an awesome idea, however, think about whether you really need one, as the kitchen is usually just down the hall.

  • Unnecessary Kitchen Utensils and Appliances (also check with your roommates to not buy duplicates – coffee maker, toaster, water kettle)
  • Check with the dorm management to see what things are not allowed, i.e. dartboards, paint ball gear, etc.

Kitchen appliances

When you put your clothes away, be sure to do so as neatly as possible to create the most room available to store all your clothes. Organize your closet with shoe racks to free up more space. Store any off-season clothes in storage bins such as plastic containers.

Make your room as comfortable as possible so you can feel at home and focus on your studies.  If you have any tips or tricks please share them in the comments below! Enjoy the school year and good luck!

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