The Ultimate Dorm Checklist


Sasha Sklarov

Preparing for college can be a pretty stressful experience if you don’t know what to pack, especially if you’re the first child going off. It can also be fun time to put together everything you need to survive your four-plus years. Welcome to your College List – everything you ‘need & want’ will be included.

Bringing all your items from home, plus more and moving it into a tiny dorm shared with a roommate can be daunting. What do you need to bring? How will all my clothes fit? What does the university include in our rooms? How will all of this stuff fit?

This list is here to help guide you through the stressful college move-in!


Bedding ties together your whole room vibe and says a lot about who you are as a person. Make your bed cozy, because nights of take-out, hanging out with your friends, studying, will all take place in your room!

  • Foam topper
  • Duvet Cover
  • Throw blanket
  • Throw pillows
  • Pillowcase
  • Twin XL sheet
  • Twin XL bed skirt (optional)
  • Extra under bed storage
  • Sleeping bag (optional for visitors)
  • Art decor for walls
  • Bed Risers
  • Twin tall headboard
  • Set of 4 body towels, 4 hand towels, 4 face towels
  • Shower caddy
  • Shower shoes
  • Shower Curtain/Liner
  • Bath Math
  • Bathrobe

“Honestly for me sleeping in my room is what I miss a lot. So I brought my pillow pet, sleep mask, and ear plugs. I sleep like a baby,” graduate Landon Edwards said.


Have you ever done your laundry before? Well, you’re going to be well-prepared for college! Colleges don’t provide you with anything except the hall washing machines (and some make you pay for each load).

  • Laundry hamper or bag
  • Detergent
  • Wrinkle Releaser
  • Softer
  • Dryer sheets
  • Stain remover pen
  • Quarters (or campus card – specific universities)
  • Collapsible drying rack (for non-dryer items)
  • Mesh bags


Yes, colleges might not provide you with all of the things your home does. Before buying any of these, check in with your university to see what they supply / what you would want!

  • Alarm clock
  • Bedside lamp
  • Desk lamp
  • Water filter
  • Coffee maker
  • Vacuum
  • Fan/heater
  • Small printer (if you’re library is far away and you’re finishing essay’s at 3 a.m.)
  • Fridge / Microwave (if you’re school allows / doesn’t already rent)
  • Speaker
  • TV / firestick

Desk & School Supplies

Your room is where you’re going to be doing all your studying, which is why you will need a ton of school supplies. Before splurging on supplies, visit your classes first to see how you want to organize all your materials. But for your desk, some of these might be helpful and motivate you to study!

  • Stapler
  • Tape dispenser
  • Calendar
  • Pens
  • Pencils
  • Markers / highlighters
  • Extension cord
  • Paper clips
  • Binders
  • Calculator
  • Glue
  • Whiteout
  • Loose paper
  • Index cards
  • Sticky notes
  • Ruler
  • Desk shelf (if the university doesn’t supply)
  • Three-hole punch

Around your room

Since you don’t live at home anymore, having accessible things will be beneficial for your dorm. All of these will help give your room a homey, organized feel to it!

  • Trash can / Recycling can
  • Storage ottoman (to step onto your bed)
  • Bedside table
  • Area rug
  • Closet organization
  • Double hanging rack for your closet
  • Jewelry organizer
  • Full-length mirror
  • Shoe Rack

“A good essential I think a lot of people may forget is this closet organizer I had. It’s a rack that divides the closet in half horizontally to maximize the ability to hang items in a closet,” graduate Connor Clemmensen said.

Late Night Snacks / Supplies

We all know you might be up studying late and hunger will soon follow. Having the best snacks in your dorm will be helpful when the cafeterias are closed. Getting some protein filled snacks, cheap and easy snacks, and organization materials for your dorm is very necessary for a college student.

  • Chip clips
  • Drawer or bins for food
  • Utensils / plates / napkins
  • Coffee mug/cups
  • Plastic bags
  • Popcorn
  • Cereal
  • Granola bars
  • Mac and Cheese
  • Ramen
  • Oatmeal

“I would say my easy cup Mac and Cheese because I always eat that whenever I don’t have time to get dinner. It’s the perfect on the go dinner that will keep me full,” graduate Emma Hoshino said.


Whether your mom or dad, housekeeper, siblings, or friends help you clean your room, it’s your responsibility to take out the trash, wipe down your desks, and clean your sheets! Check out the other listings for laundry and appliances such as a vacuum.

  • Trash bags
  • Ziplock bags
  • Hand soap
  • Clorox wipes
  • Air freshener
  • Multi-purpose cleaner
  • Windex
  • Shampoo / Conditioner
  • Body Wash
  • Towel hook


As soon as you walk into your dorm on move-in day, you will stumble upon a plain wall with a wood bed. You’re probably thinking how do I see those Pinterest-perfect dorms? It’s all about the decor! Hang up posters, paintings, lights, and wallpaper to give it that feel!

  • Posters
  • Pictures
  • String lights
  • Neon signs
  • Tapestries
  • Temporary wallpaper
  • Key Hanger
  • Coat hanger
  • Chair cover


These are some extra things for you to bring with you in case of your situation!

  • Carry-on suitcase or weekender bag
  • Umbrella/raincoat
  • Desk bookshelf (if the university doesn’t supply)  
  • Aspirin
  • Ziploc storage bags (to transfer your clothes to the university)
  • Games / sports equipment (for fun)
  • Additional seating
  • Cord organizer
  • Scale
  • Blow dryer/straightener
  • Bike
  • Pepper spray (if legal)
  • Small safe (for jewelry, money, documents)
  • Small toolbox

“I can’t live without my little toolbox. I’ve been asked so many times by people to fix things in their rooms. I’ve also had to fix a couple of things in my room too,” graduate Andrew Gherlein said.

Important Documents

Applying for a job? Most of you will need these items. These will also come in handy for many other situations you might not know about yet.

  • Debit / Credit Card
  • Bank documents
  • Driver’s license
  • Car registration and insurance (if bringing your vehicle)
  • AAA card
  • Copy of birth certificate
  • Copy of Social Security card
  • Passport
  • Student ID
  • Emergency contact list
  • Financial Aid

Don’t know where to shop for your dorm? Here are some links to useful sites.

Container Store

Urban Outfitters


Serena & Lily



Pottery Barn Teen

Restoration Hardware

Lulu and Georgia

Bed Bath & Beyond

West Elm

Joss & Main