The Ultimate College Dorm Checklist

Packing and getting ready for college can be very stressful. Everyone has their own opinions about what you will and will not need.

After attending my first year of college, here is everything I used while at school.

Of course, everyone is different and may need and not need certain things on this list. I am also a girl, so some of these things may not pertain to guys. The list is for both men and women so not everything is needed.

Take time and start preparing early in the summer for going away to college.

You are basically moving out, so you are going to need to take a lot of things. Also, take into consideration how big your dorm room is and what your roommate is bringing. You don’t want to have double of everything.

Look through this list and see what pertains to you and then maybe add things to it that you specifically need. These aren’t the only things that you will need, but it is definitely a good start.

I didn’t focus on clothing and shoes because this will be extremely different from person to person. It also depends on what the weather is like in the place where your school is located.

School Items

  • Book bag you carry your book bag every day so make sure it is a good one and it is comfortable
  • Laptop / tablet and corresponding chargers
  • laptop / tablet case
  • Pens, pencils, highlighters, etc.
  • Stapler
  • Sticky Notes
  • Scissors
  • Notebooks / notebook paper
  • Desk organizers
  • Printer, ink, printer paper – this is optional and completely up to each individual person. It depends on how your school does printing and if they give you free printing. Also, pay attention to how late the libraries and printing stations are open. It may be more convenient to just have one in your dorm if there is room


  • Dryer sheets
  • Laundry detergent or pods – pods tend to break in the small college washers, so you might be better off using detergent. My friends and I all had a few pieces of clothing ruined by Tide pods that had exploded
  • Laundry bag / laundry basket
  • Stain remover
  • Wrinkle release – way easier than trying to use an ironing board at college. I bought one and brought it to college and never even opened it up out of the package


  • Plastic silverware, plates, and cups – you are rarely going to want to actually do dishes when you are only taking care of and feeding yourself
  • Dish soap and a dish scrubber – you will still need to clean out your water bottles and other things so make sure that you are prepared
  • Water bottles – bring a few water bottles because more than likely you will carry one with you or in your book bag every day. Some campuses have the filtered water systems where you just put your cup up to the system and it fills it
  • Thermal cup
  • Storage containers – you can never have enough storage

Bathroom Supplies

  • Shower caddy
  • Shower shoes
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Body wash
  • Lufa
  • Bath towels
  • Face towels
  • Razors
  • Shaving cream
  • Lotion
  • Body spray / cologne
  • Toothbrush – make sure that you bring two sets of all of the hygiene items. You would rather go into school with extra than not enough. Basically, just buy two of everything
  • Toothpaste
  • Floss
  • Mouth wash
  • Makeup / makeup removers – for girls
  • Facemasks- finals get stressful
  • Shower bombs – they actually make shower bombs that are similar to bath bombs. You just put them in the shower and they dissolve. This is good for stress or to clear you out if you are sick or have allergy sinus issues
  • Disinfectant spray and wipes – it is so easy to get sick at college because everyone shares everything
  • Nail clippers / nail file
  • Nail polish – for girls
  • tampons / pads – for girls
  • Medicine – make sure to bring any sort of medicine that you may need over the next nine months
  • Hairbrush / comb / pick
  • Hairspray / any sort of hair product that you need – for girls
  • Command strips and hooks
  • Robe
  • Chapstick
  • Tweezers
  • Ponytails / bobby pins / scrunchies – if needed
  • Face wash and moisturizer
  • Straightener / curling iron / hairdryer – if needed


  • Comforter – most college dorms have a bed and the size is usually “twin XL” so you will probably have to buy new bedding
  • Sheets, extra sheets, pillowcases
  • Blankets and extra blankets
  • Mattress topper – this is essential because of the college beds are normally not very comfortable
  • Dorm decorations


  • Dishtowels
  • Hangers
  • Trash bags – this can differ from school to school because some schools offer free trash bags. This is something that you can just figure out once you get there
  • Plastic bags
  • Sandwich bags
  • Sunglasses
  • Suntan lotion
  • Regular glasses / glasses case or contacts / contact case / contact solution- if you have or need them
  • Medical insurance card – if you have to go to the doctor while at school you are definitely going to need this
  • Car insurance card – if you bring your car to school
  • License
  • Social security card / birth certificate – if you apply for any job you may need these
  • Things to do in your free time like books, games, instruments, etc.
  • Workout clothing
  • Yoga mat – if you need one
  • Weights, mats, protein, etc. – if you work out a lot or want to work out in your dorm room. You may also need a mat for any sort of workout club you may want to join
  • Baseball / softball glove, bat, and balls if you are interested in using them while at school
  • Scholarship information – bring all of the information from any scholarships received ( if you received any) so that you have all of the information you need to fill out scholarships for the next year. This is especially important for any renewing scholarships you may have
  • Credit cards/debit cards
  • Cash
  • School ID
  • Lanyard, wallet, phone wallet – you are going to need something to carry all your necessary cards and campus card every day. I use one of the wallets that stick on your phone so that I always have what I need and I don’t have to carry a lanyard or purse
  • Extra bags – for trips and for taking things to and from home when you visit
  • Clothing – make a list and really take your time to make sure you are not forgetting any necessary items of clothing. Make sure that you are prepared for the weather
  • Shoes – make sure that you have boots if you are going somewhere cold. You may have to buy new boots because you will be walking through the snow every day in the winter if the state where you are attending college has cold winters. You also want to make sure that you have at least a few pairs of comfortable walking shoes because you will be walking more than you have had to before
  • Step stool – if your dorm beds are higher you may want to bring a step stool to help you get onto the bed
  • Seating- you may want to get a small chair, bean bag, or cube for guests to sit on when they visit or for when you have friends over
  • Band-aids
  • Tissues
  • Napkins
  • Cold medicine
  • Cough drops
  • Q tips
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Febreze – dorms can get stuffy which means sometimes they can get smelly too
  • Fan
  • Car air freshener – you can put it on your fan and it keeps the room smelling nice. Most colleges don’t allow candles so you have to come up with other ideas
  • Diffuser – this is just another way to keep your room smelling nice
  • Small sweeper
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Rug
  • TV – if you have room
  • PS4 / Xbox and the controllers and games that go with them – if you have the room and use them
  • Mirror
  • Extension cords
  • Command strips and hooks
  • Hanging organizers
  • Closet organizers
  • Phone chargers
  • Pepper spray
  • Folders
  • Planner – you are going to have to write everything down or you will forget something. There is a lot more that you are responsible for in college than in high school
  • Camera / polaroid camera – this is an exciting time, make sure to document it
  • Calendar – stay organized
  • Pictures – you want your room to feel comfortable and like home. You are living here for 9 months


  • Snacks
  • Granola bars / something for breakfast – more than likely you will not go to breakfast on the days you have school so make sure that you have something in your dorm that you can eat for breakfast
  • Mac n cheese / ramen noodles / noodle packets – these types of things are great if you have a microwave in your room. You are going to not feel like walking to the dining hall sometimes and it’s always good to have a backup
  • Mini fridge and microwave – check and see if your college supplies both of these if not you are going to need one
  • Frozen dinners
  • Soup
  • Peanut butter / Nutella / almond butter
  • Salt and pepper
  • Milk / almond milk – almond milk takes longer to expire and still tastes good
  • Drinks
  • Coffee maker / Keurig / K cups / K cup holder / creamer / sugar
  • Tea and honey

I hope this list was somewhat helpful and takes some stress away from your college preparation. Take the time to make your own list and start preparing early because that is the best way to go into your first year feeling confident and prepared.

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