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The College Packing Checklist For Dorm Rooms

If you’re attending college or university out of state, then besides all the emotions of excitement and nervousness, you have to deal with this question…what do you bring for your dorm room?

Here’s a standard college packing checklist to use when figuring out what to take with you on move-in day.

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college packing checklist

Basic Room Needs & Storage

  • Bedside lamp
  • Alarm clock
  • Mini trash can
  • Storage Bins
  • Under-the-bed storage containers
  • Desk lamp
  • Portable Fan
  • Drying rack for laundry
  • Bulletin board
  • Dry-erase board
  • Mini toolkit (screwdriver, hammer, wrench, etc.)
  • Command Hooks

Desk Supplies

  • Electronic storage media such as memory cards and USB flash drives
  • Stapler and staples
  • Pens and pencils
  • Pencil holder/cup
  • Notebooks
  • Pocket folders
  • Labels of various sizes
  • 3 × 5 index cards
  • Sticky notes
  • Paper and binder clips
  • Rubber bands
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • Highlighter pens (multiple colors)
  • Ruler
  • Stackable desk trays (minimum of 4 trays)


  • Laptop
  • Portable speakers
  • HDMI and Ethernet cords
  • Surge protector
  • Extension cords
  • 3-2 prong adapters
  • MP3 player
  • Headphones
  • Cell phone

Shared Items — Check with roommate(s)

  • TV
  • Coffeemaker/hot pot/microwave, if allowed
  • Small refrigerator (if one isn’t provided)
  • Area rug
  • Posters/art

Linens & Laundry Supplies

  • Sheets and pillowcases (2 sets to be safe)
  • Towels
  • Pillows
  • Mattress pad (check with college for size needed)
  • Blankets
  • Comforter
  • Clothes hangers
  • Laundry bag/basket
  • Laundry detergent, fabric softener, and stain remover
  • Lint brush
  • Mini sewing kit

Household and Kitchen Items

  • Paper towels
  • Trash bags
  • Lightbulbs
  • All-purpose cleaner
  • Plastic storage bags
  • Food-storage containers
  • Dish soap
  • Wet wipes
  • Tissues
  • Bowl, plate, and cup
  • Coffee mug
  • Water bottle
  • Silverware
  • Can/bottle opener


  • Antacid
  • Aspirin or other pain relievers
  • Adhesive bandages, antibiotic ointment
  • Shower caddy
  • Shower shoes (flip-flops)
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Hairstyling products
  • Bath and face soap
  • Travel soap container(s)
  • Toothpaste and toothbrush
  • Dental floss
  • Comb/brush
  • Tweezers
  • Nail clippers
  • Hair dryer/straightener/curling iron
  • Razor and shaving cream
  • Lotion and/or facial moisturizer
  • Cotton swabs


  • 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)
  • 1 pair of boots
  • 2 pairs of sneakers or comfortable/walking shoes
  • 1 set of business-casual clothes
  • 1 pair of dress shoes
  • 1 swimsuit

A Couple Of Easy Tips

Be mindful of these last second tips which will help you plan for move-in day and make the process much easier and faster.

Contact Your Roommate As Early As Possible – To make the packing process easier, touch base with your new roommate(s) as soon as you receive your assignments.

A quick phone call to introduce yourselves will reduce the awkwardness of meeting for the first time on move-in day. Moreover, you can plan on what items to bring, so that you don’t have to over pack and bring doubles of everything.

Check Out The Room’s Format Beforehand – When signing up for student housing, check with the school about what kind of room you’ll be living in and how it’s setup.

Check and see how much floor space is available, and then divide it in half because that’s what you’ll be living in. Find out if you have a community bathroom or one adjoined to the room itself. Check what storage and furniture options come with it too.

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Todd Marcus

Written by Todd Marcus

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