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Seven College Apartment Must-Haves

Trying to help the college student in your life make a list of college apartment must-haves can be overwhelming. For many first-year students, it’s the first time they’ve lived on their own, and they may be unsure about what to take to college. Since they’ll be living in tiny apartments or dorms, you might not be sure what is essential for them to have, and what will just take up valuable space. Use our college apartment list of must-haves to clear up confusion and make sure your college student has what they need when they go to school!

Three green wood cubes with legs stacked on top of each other, holding books, soup cans, and snacks.

Storage, Storage, Storage

Storage is easily one of the most important things for a college student. In cramped apartments or tiny dorm rooms, having space for everything makes life much more pleasant. Some of our favorite college storage tricks include:

  1. Use an ottoman that can double as space to put extra towels, sheets, and pillowcases as well as a seat for guests.
  2. Find some milk crates to use in a closet; stack them on their side with the opening facing out to use them for shoes. Milk crates can also go under a low-lofted bed for neat, additional storage.
  3. A desk hutch works wonders in expanding space on a crowded and messy desk.
  4. Mason jars and jam jars make wonderful and quaint holders for pens, pencils, scissors, and other desk supplies.
  5. Stacking cubes are an excellent storage solution for books, food, clothes, etc. Since they can be easily assembled at the apartment or dorm room, moving them in is a breeze compared to lugging a bookshelf or dresser to campus.
A black and chrome Ginny's brand microwave oven.

Microwave (plus Microwave-Safe Plates, Mugs, and Bowls!)

You might be surprised by how creative a college student can get with a microwave. (See here for our list of microwave dinners.) That makes a microwave a must-have for a dorm or apartment; it’s useful for a lot more than just ramen and popcorn. Then help them eat well with microwave-safe dishes. Don’t forget forks, knives, and spoons!

A black Ginny's brand Mini Fridge, with a top freezer section.

Mini Fridge

A mini fridge has benefits beyond just chilled beverages. A fridge in a dorm room provides a college student with a place to keep fruits, vegetables, cheese, milk, eggs, and other healthy food ingredients.

An African-American man lounging with a beverage and a remote control in a large burgundy bean bag chair.

Somewhere to Sit

When students have friends over to study or hang out, those friends need somewhere to sit! Try always-useful ottoman or a beanless bag chair. Unlike a beanbag chair, a beanless bag chair can be uninflated for storage and then inflated once friends arrive. Or, if the room has a lofted bed, a futon fits well underneath and is ideal for having multiple guests over!

First Aid Kit

Bruises, bumps, cuts, and scrapes all happen at college, too. You can purchase a readymade First Aid kit, or you can put one together yourself. Some suggestions for supplies to include: Band-Aids (two packs would be ideal), a tweezers, cloth bandages and some adhesive tape, disinfectant, ibuprofen, aspirin, and a thermometer.

A blue Vornado desk fan, placed on a wood surface.

A Fan

In August or May, dorms and apartments tend to get pretty hot—and they don’t always have air conditioning, or air conditioning that works well. A fan will save a student’s sanity by keeping them cool at night or while studying.


Surprisingly useful and often forgotten, a small umbrella that can live inside a student’s backpack will be a lifesaver on days of unexpected rain. When faced with a downpour as they’re coming out of class, your student will be grateful for your good idea!

Comments (2)

My little brother is starting college soon and I am trying to help him find an apartment. I liked that you talked about finding a place with a lot of storage. You never really notice how much stuff you have until you move. So, it would be smart to make sure he has a lot of space to put things.

I love the produts I would like your gift catalog.

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