The Ultimate College Packing List – What to Take to Your Dorm

Are you going to be a freshman soon? Moving to college and starting a dorm life is exciting, but it might be quite frustrating without an adequate college packing list.

college student overlay
January 16, 2018 Posted in Moving Checklist

Whether you’re going far away or staying in the vicinity of your hometown, this is a challenging and exciting period for many young people. Having the right items and supplies with you can make a significant difference in making the student life feel like home. Remembering everything can save you those hurried shopping experiences and provide you with the necessary coziness and peace. So, take a look at essentials that should be packed when going to college. But, first, find out what dorm life is like and what you can expect there.

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Things to Consider Before You Create the College Packing List

Traditional dorms are usually singles or doubles, and students share communal living areas and bathrooms. So, be ready for a huge adjustment when moving into the dorm and think about things that might make your space more pleasant beforehand.

Also, most four-year colleges have dining halls with meal plans, but they are not open all the time and sometimes just can’t meet your dietary needs. So, be sure to find a way to prepare food in your room – that’s why some kitchen essentials should find their place on your content checklist.

Whether you like it or not, student life is going to be your everyday reality for the next several years. Try to bring with you all the essential commodities needed to make you happier and provide you with a taste of home.

What Supplies to Bring to College – a Space-Related Question

Before you start getting ready, check with your school what is and what is not provided for your future dorm life. Don’t hesitate to ask questions in order to get a clearer picture of what’s needed. One of the questions should have to do with the room size and furnishing. You should be prepared for limited space, so it’s crucial to know what to pack and what to leave at home.

To pack all moving essentials and not to overpack your bag, jot down all the stuff that makes your everyday life easier. With our packing tips, your relocation will go smoothly, and your new home will be to your liking.

labeling a box
Find out what kind of dormitory rooms there are and consult your future roommate on what each of you should bring

Packing Should Be Organized Thoughtfully

Good organization is of utmost importance in a small place. To stay organized after moving in, you should start coming up with a system before relocation. Here are several useful tips to help you keep things under control:

  • Create a labeling system for all the boxes or storage containers
  • Be practical and pack your items the way they will be stored in your room
  • Pack your clothes last and give yourself enough time to decide which clothes to donate and which pieces you really like to wear and want to keep
  • Talk to your future roommate(s) about who’s bringing what before you move in

With These 6 Essentials, You’ll Have the Best List Ever

When it comes to being all alone with your own needs, keep in mind that your parents or siblings won’t be there to do something instead of you or to prepare a delicious breakfast and coffee for you every morning. Your tiny room or apartment will become the place where you will eat, sleep, read, change your clothes, be with roommates… you name it.

Besides excellent organization, you shouldn’t forget all those things that will beautify your environment and mitigate your daily routine at the same time. Luckily, in such a tiny space, everything is within reach, so your only task will be to figure out how to arrange all the items to fit.

making a checklist
Your inventory can help you remember to pack something of crucial importance

#1 Bedding

When you need to boost your energy and clear your thoughts, your bed enters the scene. That’s why it should have excellent equipment, tidbits, and some useful things, such as bedside shelves to provide you full comfort. Here is some bed stuff you shouldn’t forget to pack:

  • A bedding set – sheets, pillowcases, comforter
  • Pillows
  • Throw blanket
  • Mattress cover
  • Mattress topper
  • Reading lamp
  • Underbed storage
  • Nightstand
pillows on the bed
Bedding and your bed's equipment are crucial things for a comfortable and cozy student lifestyle

# 2 Kitchen Stuff

Before you decide what to bring to equip the space with some cooking devices, discuss these things with your roommate to avoid double items:

  • Mini fridge
  • Electric kettle
  • Water filter pitcher
  • Sets of plates, forks, knives, spoons, and bowls
  • Microwave
  • Coffee maker
  • Food storage containers
  • Pots and pans
  • Trashcan
  • Trash bags
  • Sponges
  • Dishtowels
  • Paper towels

Additional tip: Some colleges have strict safety regulations about kitchen appliances and cooking devices, so check out beforehand what is allowed to bring into the room.

Food, Glorious Food!

Your favorite snacks can work wonders for you in an adjustment to a new town. Being surrounded by unfamiliar young people is stressful, but, with tasty bites, it is much more bearable. So, don’t forget to pack some of these:

  • Dried fruit
  • Almonds, nuts, hazelnuts
  • Granola bars
  • Peanut butter
  • Coffee
  • Cereals
  • Sugar
  • Dark chocolate
  • Ramen noodles
  • Soup
  • Popcorns
  • Bottled water
coffee in the morning
Small kitchen appliances - yes or no? That depends on the college's rules, so you should find out beforehand what to pack and what to leave at home

#3 Toiletries

If you have small, waterproof bags with handles, they can be the best solution to pack toiletries. Anytime you go to the bathroom, you can easily pack everything without worries about your soap or body milk getting wet or lost. Here are some essential bathroom items and toiletries:

  • Air freshener
  • Shower mat
  • Shower curtain and rings
  • Flip flops
  • Shower cap
  • Shower caddy
  • Towels
  • Bathrobe
  • Hairdryer
  • Hand mirror
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Nail accessories
  • Bar of soap
  • Body wash
  • Makeup
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Deodorant
  • Toilet paper
beauty products
A shower caddy and waterproof bags for toiletries can save you from lots of worries

#4 Clothes and Laundry

Remember that you’re going to campus and you’ll need practical and comfortable pieces of clothes. You can always come home during holidays if you want to switch out or bring back warmer or thicker clothes. Of course, for special events, it’s advisable to have at least two dressy outfits.

You shouldn’t exaggerate with clothes, due to the small storage space in your dormitory area, but with underwear, you can’t go wrong. Even two weeks’ worth of undergarments won’t be too much. When it comes to shoes, you should pack casual and seasonal shoes. However, sneakers and one elegant pair are a must.

So, let’s find out what would be desirable to have on your checklist regarding clothes and laundry:

  • Underwear
  • Socks
  • Pants/jeans
  • Shirts/blouses
  • Sweats
  • Pajamas
  • Slippers and/or flip-flops
  • Sweaters
  • Light/heavy jackets
  • Gloves/scarf/hat (and other foul-weather gear as needed)
  • One pair of boots
  • Two pairs of comfortable/walking shoes or sneakers
  • One set of business-casual clothes
  • One pair of dress shoes
  • One swimsuit
Pack seasonal pieces of clothes and don't overflow your bags

#5 School Supplies

Although you’ll definitely need school essentials, many of them can be purchased at your school bookstore, especially if you’re relocating long distance and need to minimize your moving boxes and luggage. Some of the basic items that may find their place on your checklist are:

  • Pens and highlighters
  • A large tote bag or backpack
  • Calculator
  • Stapler
  • Three-hole punch
  • Notebooks
  • Sticky notes
  • Scissors
  • Tapes
  • Permanent markers
  • Desktop organizer
  • Desk storage box
  • File folder for important documents
packing material
School supplies are necessary, but you can always buy everything you need in a local bookstore

#6 Electronics and Equipment

Being without your favorite technical devices far away from home can be a real shock for a freshman. So, to avoid these situations and be able to check your email and social media regularly, take into consideration these tech essentials:

  • Laptop
  • External hard drive
  • Flash drives
  • Keyboard
  • Wireless mouse
  • Lap desk/stand
  • Laptop case
  • E-reader
  • Chargers
  • Portable phone charger
  • Extension cords
  • Camera
  • SD for camera
  • Cell phone
  • Router

Additional tip: Since electronic devices are fragile and valuable things, you should pack them carefully. If you don’t have enough experience with packing, perhaps you might entrust this process to professional packers and not worry about how to pack electronics for moving.

piece of paper next to a computer on the desk
One of the most important things to carry with you should be your laptop or tablet

Good Things Come in Small Packages

Depending on your needs and preferences, you can bring with you some additional things for practical but also decorative purposes. One of the major categories that must be packed is essential documents, medicine, and extras that make the campus a better place. Let’s take a quick look at these items and find out what should you pack:

  • Driver’s license
  • Student ID
  • Bank documents
  • AAA card
  • Copy of birth certificate
  • Copy of social security card
  • Passport
  • Health insurance cards
  • First aid kit with basic medicines
  • Sports equipment
  • Umbrella
  • Bike, bike helmet, and bike lock
  • Sleep mask
  • Earplugs
  • Contacts, solution, and case
  • Eyeglasses and case
  • Eyeglass cleaner
  • Vase
  • Wall art, posters, photos
  • Wall clock
  • Cushion cover
  • Couch cushion
man searching for documents
Personal documents are mandatory

An Excellent Checklist of Essentials for a Dorm Life is Worth Gold

If you’re moving to a campus, it will be your new home for several years. That’s why it is important to bring with you all the crucial things and tidbits that can make this experience more pleasant and enjoyable. With a detailed college packing list, you’ll ensure your hassle-free relocation and feel at home. So, it bears repeating how crucial this checklist is for your student life. However, you can always adapt it according to your own requirements by adding some new items or removing existing ones when your moving service provider arrives and loads your belongings onto the truck.

Lucy Lucas

Born and raised in Miami Lucy is a content writer with a love of moving and packing. She is an expert at making sure everything fits into her suitcase.



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