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Frog Blog

Two female TCU students studying while on their bunk beds

Summer is here and it's time to start prepping for living on campus here at TCU. Make sure your first step is submitting your housing application, open through June 1 at You'll soon be moving into your dorm room at TCU, and I remember feeling lost on what to buy for my room. No matter how much I bought, I felt like I was missing something in that ever-growing pile in the corner of my living room back home. Did I forget shower shoes? A speaker? A pillowcase?

There are plenty of lists online suggesting different items from shoe racks to Brita filters, but the truth is you won't know what you need until you start living in your dorm. Over a few weeks, you'll realize what you need and what you don't. My advice is to take inventory of what you use on a daily or weekly basis in the month leading up to moving in. Compile a list of your basic everyday items, and in general hope for the best on more obscure things.

That said, I lived in dorms for two years like all TCU students do, and during that time, I learned that a few items are well and truly necessary for your college space. Here are my five holy grail items for dorm room living:

1. Mattress Cover/Encasement

Everyone knows to buy a thick, comfy mattress pad to throw on top of your standard-issue dorm mattress to make your bed soft enough to sleep in, but what no one talks about is how much that mattress topper slides around! It moves and slips like no one's business. The good news is that you can easily combat that with a full mattress encasement that you can zip shut. It holds all the layers of your mattress snug in place and you can put your sheets on over it. This is a lifesaver, especially for lofted beds!

2. Air Purifier

Many lists suggest a humidifier (or a dehumidifier) for your dorm room, but at TCU each room has its own controllable air conditioning unit. This helps regulate temperature and any pesky moisture problems dorm rooms may have. In place of a humidifier, I'd recommend a small air purifier. This is perfect for filtering air in your space, preventing allergens or germs from lingering. The truth is, moving to a new place and meeting large groups of people often causes students to get sick sometime during the first semester and an air purifier can help mitigate that.

3. Mesh Shower Caddy and Shower Shoes with Holes

It's no secret that you'll need a shower caddy and shower shoes to function in the communal restrooms, but the real kicker is buying the right kind. A mesh shower caddy is better than a hard, structured one because the water drains and dries quicker and it's easier to hang in the restrooms rather than setting it on the stall floor. Students will also often buy cheap flip-flops or slides for shower shoes, but you need to buy ones with holes in the bottom! This also helps water and any dirt drain through the shoes so they last longer and stay clean.

4. Tiny Tool Kit

Be better than those who come with storage shelves to build and photos to hang without the means to actually do so. The dorms' front desks will have some basic tools like a mallet for lofting your bed, but there's a huge advantage to bringing a small tool kit with a hammer, nails, screwdriver, etc. It's enormously helpful not just on move-in day but throughout the semester as you redecorate your space (and perhaps break a few things).

5. A Small Lamp

The big light in your dorm room will slowly become your enemy. One roommate will have an early morning class and the other will study late into the evening. In both scenarios, flicking on that overhead light is a crime. To keep schedules running smoothly, a small desk lamp or even a reading light is a great way to make your space visible without disturbing your roommate.

Enjoy shopping! This is such an exciting time as you take agency over your own space and grow to love dorm room living. For a slightly more comprehensive list of dorm necessities, check out our past dorm list posts and our succinct packing list in PDF form. You can also take a look at Housing and Residence Life's suggestions!

Colleen Wyrick is a junior double major in English and Communication Studies from Austin, TX. She is currently the President of Her Campus at TCU, Assistant Digital Editor for the digital anthology Teaching Transatlanticism, and a social media intern and ambassador for the Office of Admission. Additionally, she’s loved getting involved on campus through the women’s club soccer team.