10 College Dorm Room Essentials You Can Shop at Essex County Boutiques

Written by:

College students are settling in on campus and dorm living is back in full swing. From freshmen who are newcomers to the residence halls, to upperclassmen returning to their home away from home, moving into the dorms at the start of the semester always requires a checklist of collegiate essentials. And sometimes in the process of setting up your dorm-sweet-dorm, you realize there are a few must-haves missing. Luckily, Essex County’s boutiques have you covered. Read on for 10 things every college student needs in their dorm that you can buy locally. 

Reusable Grocery Bags from Kimaya Kama

Cost: $24

Kimaya Kama

(Photo credit: kimaya.mybigcommerce.com)

Reusable grocery bags come in handy for any student living in the dorms, regardless of whether there is access to a full kitchen or just a mini-fridge. This colorful set of two reusable totes from Kimaya Kama is ideal for stocking up on snacks, and the bags conveniently fold into a built-in pouch for easy storage and transport. The Maplewood boutique also offers in-store pickup and free local delivery options for online orders. 

Canvas Wall Hanging from Perch Home

Cost: $28  

Perch Home

(Photo credit: @perchhome)

If the dorm room walls are looking a little too bare, this floral canvas wall print from Perch Home is sure to liven up the space. The 11″ by 14″ wall adornment is framed with wood borders, and all set to be hung up by the attached string. Opt for curbside pickup at the store or have your order shipped; and if you spend over $50, local delivery to Maplewood and South Orange is also available. 

Read More: The United Greek Coalition, a Multicultural Greek Community at MSU

Desk Organizer Set from & son  

Cost: $40 

& son

(Photo credit: shopandson.com)

An organized study space is key for a successful semester, and a desk set will give all your school supplies a designated spot in your workspace. & son’s concrete desk set is sleek, minimalist, and now selling at a discount. The set, available to order online, includes a tape dispenser, pencil holder, and a tray for odds and ends. 

Planter from Culture Couture 

Cost: $11.95

Culture Couture 

(Photo credit: culturecouture.com)

Plants are perfect for bringing life into a room, even more so if potted in an aesthetically pleasing planter. The Small Tika Planters from Culture Couture are ideal for mini succulents or homegrown herbs and are currently available in eight colors so you can coordinate with your dorm room’s design palette. Each glossy handmade ceramic pot also comes with a matching saucer. The planters are available for either shipping or pick-up at the Montclair shop. 

Storage Baskets from Dem Two Hands

Cost: $16-59

Dem Two Hands

(Photo credit: @dem2hands)

Storage is often in short supply in college dorm rooms, and Dem Two Hands offers a stunning alternative to basic boxes and bins. The boutique’s Senegalese Baskets come from West Africa’s Senegal, where women craft these intricate woven vessels from both new and recycled prayer mats and rugs. The baskets are sold online in four sizes and unique colors, ranging in price from $16 to $59, fitting any budget, space, or taste. 

Popcorn Popper from Giftbar 

Cost: $35 

Giftbar

(Photo credit: shopgiftbar.com)

Popcorn is a classic college snack, great for a late-night study session or a movie night with roommates. The popcorn popper from Giftbar is a healthier, sustainable vehicle for your kernels. It’s microwave-safe, easy to store, waste-free, and doesn’t require butter or oil for those who prefer popcorn in pure form. Pick up the popper at Giftbar, or have it shipped to you, ready for when the popcorn craving strikes.  

Bathroom Caddy from The Eclectic Chic Boutique

Cost: $32 

Eclectic Chic Boutique

(Photo credit: @theeclecticchicboutique)

If you’re lucky enough to have your own bathroom in your on-campus residence, this bathroom caddy crate from The Eclectic Chic Boutique is a fun storage option. The handmade wooden caddy, created by Rustic Reflections Home Decor, greets you with the cheeky phrase, “Hello Sweet Cheeks,” while acting as a useful home to toilet paper, tissues, decor, or other bathroom supplies. Shop this locally-made product online, and choose either delivery or in-store pickup. Essex County customers can also take advantage of free local delivery. 

Vanity from White Rabbit Black Heart 

Cost: $92

Rabbit Black Heart 

(Photo credit: whiterabbitblackheart.com)

This gorgeous, rustic vanity is guaranteed to add character and utility to your dorm decor. Fitted with a mirror and drawer, the small metal vanity provides both a place to get ready for the day as well as a helpful storage compartment for makeup, toiletries, school supplies, etc. The piece is able to be picked up at White Rabbit Black Heart, or shipped directly to you. 

See More: 10 Fun Fall Activities to Do in New Jersey

Pitcher from Kitchen a la Mode

Cost: $40

Kitchen a la Mode

(Photo credit: kitchenalamode.com)

A water pitcher is an environmentally friendly and money-saving dorm room necessity, and the Soma Pitcher from Kitchen a la Mode is an excellent choice. The BPA-free 10-cup (80 oz.) container is available in both white and black and comes equipped with a free filter. It’s also a product that gives back, with a donation made to charity: water with your purchase. You can have your new pitcher shipped, or pick it up at the South Orange store. 

Travel Pouch from Sadie’s 

Cost: $12

Sadie’s

(Photo credit: shopsadies.com)

Keep your backpack clutter-free with a cute travel pouch that’ll keep your school supplies organized on the go. The old-school Out of Print Composition Notebook Pouch from Sadie’s is terrific for storing pens, pencils, highlighters, and other small class essentials on your commute. Even better, every sale supports funding for literacy programs and book donations for communities in need. Shipping and in-store pickup are both available online. 


Written by:

Since her family moved to New Jersey when she was 5 years old, Lexa has called the state home. A firm believer that summers should be spent down the shore, and that the Garden State has the best bagels hands down, Lexa is proud to call herself a certified Jersey Girl. Having graduated from Boston University with a degree in journalism, with experience bringing stories to multiple publications, Lexa is a born writer passionate about connecting to a community through words. When she’s not creating content, she’s most likely sweating it out at spin class, reading the latest book trending on TikTok, or spending the day sipping coffee, shopping, and dining out in downtown Montclair.