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Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

  • after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.
  • after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

Main image courtesy of By Sophia Lee.

When you head back to school each year, there are so many things to remember and look forward to. While it’s exciting to know that you’ll soon see all your friends (or meet new ones) and start your semester of classes, you need to make sure you remember to pack everything to make your dorm feel like a home. You’ve got to pack up the clothes you’ll need, your bed linens and comforter, pillows, decor for your walls and desk, and any appliances that you and your roommate have agreed to bring. One of the most important items you’ll also need to bring is all your bathroom supplies. This includes your towels, robe, shower shoes, and a shower caddy.

But what exactly are you supposed to put in your shower caddy each year? And how do you know which kind of caddy will work with your bathroom situation? While everyone has different preferences on what they may or may not include in their own shower caddy, there are a few essentials that every incoming student should make sure they include.

In this article we’re going to cover:

  • Essentials you need to put in your shower caddy
  • Top tips for navigating communal bathrooms like a pro

What you need to put in a shower caddy

Essential items that no college student should forget to put in their shower caddy!

college bathroom shower caddy
Make sure to include these 12 essential shower caddy items and you’ll be good as gold! Image courtesy of NY Magazine.

One of the first decisions you’ll need to make even before you decide on what to put in a shower caddy, is what type of shower caddy to get. There are all kinds of options out there, and it’s really all about personal preference and where you’ll need to store your caddy. If you are in a dorm room with a communal bathroom, you’ll need to cart your shower items to and from the shower each time you go. There are two main types of shower caddies that you may be interested in:

  • Hard plastic caddies. These are very sturdy and can carry the weight of your shower items with ease. This is especially important if you’re planning on using full size shampoo, conditioner, and soaps. You don’t want the weight of your caddy to buckle under the pressure! They are also easy to store under your bed or in a closet. They’re durable and if properly treated, could last you multiple years.
  • Soft mesh caddies.  These caddies come in all kinds of colors and are very easy to tote to and from the bathroom. You can decide on the size you need, as they tend to run from pretty small and compact, to larger tote size bags that can hold a lot of items. Make sure the bottom of this caddy is sturdy if you plan on using full size items. Soft mesh caddies are easy to store under beds or can be hung on a hook to dry.

Caddies come in all kinds of colors, and can have either one or two handles. Most of that is all personal preference! Just make sure the caddy you choose has drainage holes and is made of plastic, vinyl, or mesh and can drain water easily.

Pro tip: If you have the room, consider getting a larger caddy for your shower needs, and a smaller caddy for your daily face wash and tooth brushing routines. This way you don’t have to cart around your large caddy when you need to go to the bathroom to wash your face and brush your teeth.

If you live in a dorm that does not require you to use a communal bathroom that you share with your hall, you may still want to consider picking up a caddy. When you live in a dorm suite, typically you’ll share your bathroom with a few other people. Depending on whether that’s two other people or four other people, there’s not going to be room for everyone to store their shower items in the bathroom. A shower caddy that you keep in your dorm room under your bed or in your closet and bring with you to shower may still be the most efficient way to ensure you have everything you need each time. 

Items to put in your shower caddy

Shower shoes

OCM college shower caddy
Why not make it super easy on yourself this year and get one of OCM’s shower bundles? There’s plenty of room for all of the shower caddy essentials on this list. Make sure you check out all the bath options! Image courtesy of OCM.

Besides the actual shower caddy, shower shoes are one of the most essential items to showering while you’re at college. This is especially true if you’re sharing a bathroom with multiple people on your floor. While you may think you know them well enough, you never want to take the risk of exposing your feet to the fungi that could be present in your showering area. This is true of all college campuses (and locker rooms for that matter!), no matter how clean they are. Keep yourself free of annoying bacteria with a sturdy pair of shower shoes. 

You can find all kinds of options, just make sure you get a good plastic or vinyl pair that won’t cause you to slip on the bathroom tile—because it will be wet! Even if you’re only sharing your bathroom with your suitemates, it still may be a good idea to keep your feet off the tub and tile.

Shampoo & conditioner

The next essential that you’ll need to make sure you have in your shower caddy is a shampoo and conditioner. Now, depending on the type of hair you have and how long it is, you’ll want to go with something that’s clarifying, moisturizing, or for hair that tends to be oily. There are all kinds of options out there, so make sure you do a little research and determine which type of shampoo and conditioner are best for your particular hair.

And remember, no one said you have to wash your hair every day! If this sounds like you, make sure you also include a shower cap and some dry shampoo for those days when you just don’t want to be bothered. If you don’t want to wet your hair all over again, a shower cap can really come in handy. 

If you have curly or wavy hair, you’ll also want to include a comb/brush and a leave-in conditioner or a detangler. Many people like to detangle their hair in the shower while it’s wet, so make sure you include a comb or a brush to make this necessary task a little easier.

Not essential, but nice to include: If you want to make sure your shampoo is doing exactly what it should be doing, which is cleaning your scalp, consider picking up a scalp massager/shampoo brush. These brushes feel wonderful on your scalp, and they make sure to evenly distribute the shampoo leaving you with gorgeous clean hair.

Soap or body wash & washcloth

You’ve also got to make sure you have some soap so you can clean off. It’s up to you to decide whether or not to use soap/body wash in a bottle or a bar of soap. If you choose to go the bar method, make sure you also pick up a case to store your soap in, as you don’t want to just leave it in the bottom of your caddy. 

In addition to soap, we suggest including a washcloth for your body or a loofah as well. While many people choose the loofah route, it actually can hold a lot of bacteria if it isn’t swapped out often. And chances are you can’t throw it through the wash. That’s why we suggest getting enough wash clothes for one or two weeks, so you always have a fresh, clean washcloth to bathe with. 

Face cleanser

OCM college bath towels
Make sure you have a nice set of towels with you in your dorm room. If you have the space for two sets, even better, that way you’ll always be able to have clean towels when it’s laundry day.  Check out all the colors and sizes available here! Image courtesy of OCM

In addition to soap for your body and your hair, it’s a good idea to include your face wash. If you like to use a washcloth for your facial cleanser, you’ll want to include that as well. Keep your facial cleanser mild, as many can dry out the skin easily, especially if you’re taking hot showers. If you have a separate caddy for just your essentials that we mentioned above, you may consider having two bottles of face wash. That way no matter which caddy you grab, you won’t arrive at the bathroom without this essential!

Razor & shaving cream

Both guys and girls may want to include a razor and shaving cream in their shower caddy. You may think you don’t need to include it because you don’t shave everyday, but you’d be surprised. If you don’t include it in your caddy, then chances are you’ll forget about it all together and when you want to shave, find that you have no razor! Don’t make that mistake and just tuck it away in the caddy. 


After a shower, it’s always a good idea to put some lotion on. Your pores are open, and if it was a warm shower, it could dry out your skin. Avoid having flaky, itchy skin and use a good moisturizer right after you shower. You can have one for your face and another for your body, or you can save space and just use one bottle of lotion for both. 

Toothbrush & toothpaste

Toothbrush and toothpaste should also find a home in your shower caddy. You can also keep these in your mini caddy for the essentials if you want too. Make sure your toothbrush has a cap or is in a container, because you don’t want the bristles coming into contact with the bottom of your shower caddy! Since bacteria tends to build up on wet bristles, when you get back to your dorm, see if you can let it air dry.

Towel & robe

Finally, you can’t go take a shower without a towel or a robe! Most students like to use a robe as they travel to and from the bathroom, since this offers the most coverage and leaves their hands free. But large towels are also an option too! Hang your towel next to your robe and near your shower caddy in your dorm, and you’ll never have to worry about forgetting it again.

Not essential, but nice to include: If you’re headed to the showers and your roommate is away, it’s not a bad idea to lock your door and bring your keys with you. You don’t want to come back to find your room locked! Having your keys on you may seem annoying, but will prevent you from being locked out of your dorm. 

Tips for navigating communal bathrooms 

You can definitely get used to using a communal bathroom with these tips

communal college bathroom
You’ll eventually find a bathroom and showering routine that works for you! Image courtesy of The Daily Campus.

Once you get used to using a communal bathroom, you’ll eventually fall into a routine. Like everything else at college, it will become just another part of your day! Here are some of our top tips for thriving in a communal bathroom environment.

  • Always bring your shower caddy, shower shoes, and robe/towel with you to the shower
  • Try to shower at off-peak times, such as in the evening or in the afternoon
  • Don’t be a slob! Although the campus housing staff will clean the bathroom each weekday, make sure you’re clean and leave the bathroom like you found it.
  • Everyone has to use the bathroom on the floor, and eventually the awkward feelings of running into people in the bathroom will disappear!

Make sure you include the 12 essentials in your college shower caddy! While there are other items you can choose to add depending on your needs, make sure you don’t skip out on these.