Dorm Checklist: The Complete Guide to Packing for College

Empty dorm room

Dorm Checklist: The Complete Guide to Packing for College

Published May 30, 2023

Empty dorm room

Moving into your dorm room can be an exciting time, but it can also be a bit overwhelming. This article will help you create a dorm checklist of everything you need to bring with you so you can start your college experience off right.

For our full list of recommendations, curated from parents in our Paying For College 101 Facebook group, check out our Amazon shopping page with all the suggestions.


You’ll need a variety of clothing for different occasions, including classes, social events, and the weather. Be sure to pack some comfortable clothes for lounging around your dorm room, too.

  • Clothing for classes: You’ll need clothes that are comfortable and appropriate for class. This might include jeans, khakis, skirts, dresses, and sweaters
  • Clothing for social events: You’ll want to pack some clothes that you can dress up or down for social events. This might include dresses, skirts, blouses, and pants.
  • Clothing for the weather: Be sure to pack clothes that are appropriate for the weather in your college town. This might include shorts, t-shirts, sweatshirts, and coats.


You’ll need sheets, pillowcases, a mattress pad, and a blanket. You may also want to pack a comforter or bedspread if you get cold easily.

  • Sheets: Bring a set of sheets for your bed. Twin XL sheets are the most common size for college dorms.
  • Pillowcases: Bring two pillowcases for your pillows.
  • Mattress pad: A mattress pad can help to protect your mattress and make it more comfortable to sleep on.
  • Blanket: Bring a blanket to keep you warm at night.

Laundry Supplies

Bring laundry detergent, fabric softener, stain remover, and a laundry bag or basket. You may also want to pack a mini sewing kit in case of any accidents.

  • Laundry detergent: Bring a bottle of laundry detergent. Be sure to check with your school to see if they have any restrictions on the type of laundry detergent you can use.
  • Fabric softener: Fabric softener can help to make your clothes smell nice and feel soft.
  • Stain remover: Stain remover can help to remove stains from your clothes.
  • Laundry bag or basket: Bring a laundry bag or basket to carry your dirty clothes to the laundry room.
  • Steamer: If your student is concerned about wrinkles, having a steamer handy will make their clothes look crisp.

Organization and Storage

You’ll need a way to organize your belongings, so bring some storage bins, under-the-bed trays, and a desk organizer. You may also want to pack a bulletin board and pushpins to decorate your walls.

  • Storage bins: Storage bins can help you to keep your clothes, toiletries, and other belongings organized.
  • Under-the-bed trays: Under-the-bed trays can be used to store shoes, books, and other items that you don’t need to access on a regular basis.
  • Desk organizer: A desk organizer can help you to keep your desk clean and organized.
  • Bulletin board and pushpins: A bulletin board and pushpins can be used to decorate your walls and display photos, mementos, and other items.
  • Quick drying toiletry organizer: An absolute must when transporting toiletries to and from the bathroom.


Bring a laptop, phone, charger, and any other electronics you use on a regular basis. You may also want to pack a portable speaker or headphones so you can listen to music or watch movies in your dorm room.

  • Laptop: Bring a laptop computer so you can do your schoolwork, surf the internet, and watch movies.
  • Phone: Bring a cell phone so you can stay in touch with your friends and family.
  • Phone Charger: Bring a charger for your laptop and phone so you can keep them powered up. We love Anker brand chargers. They are small and light enough to carry around and quickly recharges your smartphone or tablet, so your student doesn’t have to constantly be looking for an outlet if you’re out all day. It holds enough for four charges.
  • 3 Port USB Wall Charger:Boy Scouts need to “always be prepared,” and students need to “always be charged.” With so many things that need power (phone, laptop, etc.) and so little outlets, this handy device is a lifesaver that can charge 4 devices at once.
  • Extra Long Charging Cords: Students use their phones for everything these days and want them close by at all hours. Most dorms don’t have a lot of outlets, so best to make sure they have a LOOONG cord for being able to have their phone as an alarm to wake up on time.
  • Other electronics: Bring any other electronics you use on a regular basis, such as a gaming console, tablet, or e-reader.


Let your student bring some mini appliances to help them make food and drinks whenever they have the urge. These are some popular items students bring with them:

  • Mini fridge: A mini fridge is a must-have for any college student. It will allow you to store food and drinks, which can be helpful for late-night study sessions or when you’re feeling homesick.
  • Microwave: A microwave is another helpful appliance for college students. It can be used to heat up food or make quick meals.
  • Coffee maker: A coffee maker is a great way to start your day off right. It can also be helpful for late-night study sessions or when you need a pick-me-up.
  • Water filter pitcher: A water filter is a great item to have in your dorm room. Easily refillable, they also cut down on the amount of plastic water bottles you’re tossing out. 

Unusual Items

There are a few unusual items that you might want to pack for college. These items might not be essential, but they can make your college experience more comfortable and enjoyable.

  • Surge protector: This is essential for keeping all of your electronics charged and protected from power surges.
  • A first-aid kit: This is always a good idea, especially if you’re living in a dorm with other people.
  • A plunger: This is one of those things that you hope you never need, but it’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it
  • Shower flip flops: It is best to invest in a good pair of waterproof shoes or sandals to wear in and out of the shower to keep your student’s feet safe and healthy.
  • Air purifier: An air purifier can help to remove allergens from the air, such as pollen, dust mites, and pet dander. This can help to reduce allergy symptoms, such as sneezing, coughing, and wheezing.
  • Dust-mite-proof bedding: Dust mites are tiny creatures that live in dust and can trigger allergic reactions in some people. Dust-mite-proof bedding can help to reduce the number of dust mites in your dorm room, which can help to reduce allergy symptoms.
  • Ultra Slim Velvet Hangers – Pack of 30: Closet space is scarce in college dorm rooms, so make the most of it by using the slimmest hangers possible.
  • Command Hooks: These hooks are amazing—strong, can be placed almost anywhere, and don’t leave marks on the wall when you remove them. Amazon has an amazing selection of these hooks in a variety of sizes, strengths, and styles.
Dorm Room Checklist of College Essentials
Check out Road2College’s Dorm Room Essentials

Tips for Packing for College

Packing for college can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. By following the tips in this article, you can create a checklist of everything you need to bring with you so you can start your college experience off right. Remember to pack a variety of clothing for different occasions, as well as linens, laundry supplies, organization and storage items, personal items, electronics, and any other items that you think you might need. And don’t forget to pack some unusual items that can make your college experience more comfortable and enjoyable. With a little planning, you can be sure to have everything you need for your new dorm room.

Here are some additional tips for packing for college:

  • Start packing early. This will give you plenty of time to make sure you don’t forget anything.
  • Pack light. You’ll be moving around a lot, so you don’t want to be weighed down by a lot of luggage.
  • Pack for all types of weather. The weather can change quickly, so be sure to pack for both hot and cold weather.
  • Label your luggage. This will help you find your luggage quickly when you arrive at your destination.
  • Take a break. Packing can be a lot of work, so take a break every now and then to avoid getting overwhelmed.

With a little planning and effort, you can make packing for college a breeze.





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