Recently some soon-to-be freshmen asked me what items are most essential to live in the Biola dorms. In response, I’ve decided to make this post be all about what items I recommend for dorm life!

Listed here are my take on items (that are not 100% necessary) that have made my life easier and more enjoyable!

  • Printer

The Biola library has both color and black-and-white printers that are fairly easy to use. However, I have enjoyed having a personal printer in my room. It’s much more convenient!

Sometimes I don’t finish an assignment until the night before I need to hand it to a professor. In this case, having a printer in my room spares me the worry of possibly forgetting to take a trip to the library in the morning before class. It saves a lot of time! (By the way, many professors do allow you to submit assignments digitally. But some professors require paper versions.)

  • Mini Fridge

Every dorm has community kitchens that are equipped with at least one refrigerator. However, one fridge shared by a couple hundred people doesn’t guarantee you much (if any) space for your groceries. Even the two refrigerators shared by the 258 people in my dorm (Hart hall) are usually very full.

Personally it has been really nice to have a mini fridge in my room! This is also more convenient than having to walk upstairs to get a bite or drink of something cold. I also recommend getting a cheap, small table to set the fridge on top of, so you don’t have to bend over to get things. I found one for $14.99 at IKEA.

  • Small 5-Drawer Divider

This item prevents my desk from becoming a huge mess and keeps me from losing my small jewelry. I have two small 5-drawer dividers on my shelf that store small things like: index cards, staples, sticky notes, safety pins, earrings, bracelets, rings, sunglasses, yarn, pins, clips, etc.

  • 3-Tier Rolling Cart

Though every dorm room provides you with a shelf, wardrobe, and drawers when you move in, it’s helpful to have one or two extra storage items or dividers. One that I especially love is my 3-tier rolling cart. My roommate has one too! They are easy to move and the sections are pretty spacious.

I use my cart as a “coffee cart.” On the top tier is a self-heating kettle, coffee press, and ground coffee beans; on the middle tier are mugs, silverware, and dishes; and on the bottom tier is some breakfast food. My roommate also puts food and dishes on hers, as well as dish soap, laundry detergent, and some other things. You can find this at Target or IKEA.

  • Plastic Shower Caddy (and towel wrap)

Shower caddies are kind of necessary if you’re living in a community-style dorm. They hold your shower items and usually have a handle on top to make them easy to carry back and forth between your dorm and bathroom. Some people like mesh shower caddies, but they don’t stand up on their own as well as a plastic one.

For community-style bathroom life I also recommend getting a towel wrap (or towel “dress”) that has velcro or elastic on it. You can wear this while moving from your room to the shower. A regular towel or robe works too, but a towel wrap gives you free hands to carry that shower caddy!

  • Ottoman

Maximizing space and storage is key for dorm life. An ottoman can double as a footrest and a storage item! I keep my ottoman by my chair to put my feet on and it secretly doubles as a container for extra bed sheets!

Now, here are a few random but helpful items that you might not think of while shopping:

Dish soap - Sometimes my dorm has a bottle of dish soap on the kitchen counter to share, but sometimes it doesn’t…this is why it’s been good to have my own bottle. I want to be able to clean my coffee-making supplies, oatmeal bowls, and mugs!

Your own scrubbing brush (or sponge) for dishes - I don’t like the idea of sharing a community sponge with 258 other people…so, I bring my own scrubbing brush to wash dishes!

Paper towels and cleaning spray - I’ve been surprised by how fast things can get dusty, sticky, or dirty in my room. Sometimes my roommate or I will spill things on our desks, want to wipe out our fridge, or dust our visible surfaces. These items are very helpful in those instances.

Laundry detergent pods -I like using pods rather than carrying big bottles of detergent to the laundry room with me.

A weekly planner - My roommate and I both have weekly planners on our desks to write deadlines and appointments on. In the busyness of college life, it can be easy to forget things without writing them down.

I hope this post is helpful for any incoming freshmen, transfer students, or people who are new to our dorm life! Happy shopping!