College Packing List - What to Bring to the Dorm

College Packing List - What to Bring to the Dorm

Unfortunately, it’s impossible to bring all your favorite things to the student dorm; however, it’s also not easy to decide what you need most of all. No worries - we will help you navigate. Take a look at the list of the most essential things for living in a dormitory and pack your bags. There is a golden rule of a comfortable student living in a dormitory. There should be nothing superfluous. Bring only the most necessary and multifunctional things. Let's start with the college packing list in the right order.

New Student Life Essentials

You might consider college life as a continuation of high school, but you are mistaken. College opens new doors for you, and can change you, shape you in diverse ways that you might not even imagine. Attending college, a student should realize that he/she starts a new life. Students are becoming more independent in college, as they develop into responsible, mature, and independent adults. College life helps students explore themselves, invest in themselves, and explore outside the classroom.

Forbidden Things

Most colleges outline the list of standard prohibited items. However, there are also items that can be permissible at the number of colleges, whereas they would be forbidden at the rest ones. To make sure the list of forbidden things follows your college restrictions, please always keep your college in mind. Anyway, check a list of forbidden items in dorm rooms to know what you can't bring and what you can bring instead.

  1. Space heater. Bring thermal blankets instead.
  2. Weights. Bring a yoga mat instead.
  3. Air fresheners. Bring solid air fresheners instead.
  4. Conditioner. Bring a small desk fan instead.
  5. Hoverboards. Bring a skateboard/bicycle instead.
  6. Candle. Bring string lights instead.
  7. Wallpaper. Bring posters/photos instead.
  8. Electric kitchen supplies. Bring a frying pan instead.
  9. Wall screws. Bring bathrobes/bath towels/jackets/scarves instead.
  10. Alcohol. Bring non-alcoholic beverages instead.

 Room Appliance:

Although dormitory rooms are already furnished, you may still need some extra stuff to bring there. Here is what you need to include in your college packing list to arrange the space in the best way.

  • Desk / bed-side lamp
  • Under-the-bed storage containers
  • Mini trash can
  • Bed runner
  • Bookshelf (if there is any)
  • Board for notes and stickers
  • Some photos of your family and friends
  • Alarm clock
  • Mini toolkit
  • Fan
  • Additional seating (folding chair, comfy chair, etc.)
  • Coffee table
  • Over-the-door storage units
  • Shoe rack

To make sure you do not bring things that are already present in the dorm room, check this information on college official website or admissions office.

Laundry Supplies

It may sometimes be so that sleeping accommodation and laundry supplies are uncomfortable for you to use. To avoid the situation of this kind, we recommend you to prepare a laundry set and be ahead of the game.

  • Bed linen (2-3 sets - check the size of the dormitory bed to buy bed linen of the right size)
  • Pillows (2 pieces)
  • Towels (3-5 pieces - for bath, hands, and face)
  • Wipes
  • Blankets
  • Wall clothes hangers
  • Plastic laundry bag
  • Bedbug-protecting mattress cover
  • Mattress pad
  • Reading pillow
  • Sleeping bag or air mattress
  • Fabric softener
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Sewing kit
  • Lock

Be aware that you can also purchase many of these items locally, but we have put them together a printable checklist, which you can take to the store if you like.

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Desk Supplies

Having the right equipment at hand will make the studying process in college easier and more effective. If you want to have all the desk essentials at hand, then it is time to purchase the following:

  • Sheets of paper
  • Binders
  • Pens and pencils
  • Highlighters
  • Stapler
  • Tape
  • Calculator
  • Desk organizer
  • Envelopes and stamps (for any necessities)
  • File folder for some documents
  • Notepads
  • Sticky notes
  • Pencil case and sharpener
  • Ruler
  • Scissors

In case you seen any of these items is going off shortly, do not forget to purchase it in advance.

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  • External hard drive, memory cards, or USB flash drives
  • Laptop / computer
  • Printer and printer ink (if there is not in the campus)
  • Keyboard and a mouse
  • Surge protector
  • Laptop Case (if you are going to bring a laptop)
  • Chargers (phone, laptop, camera, etc.)
  • Adapters (HDMI, Ethernet, etc)
  • Router
  • Batteries
  • TV

Once again, you can coordinate with your roommates on who is going to bring a particular item so that your college packing list doesn’t get too long and you could share some things.

Bathroom Supplies & Toiletries

  • Detergent
  • Hair treatments
  • Toothbrush
  • Bath mirror
  • Soap
  • Bathrobe
  • Shower gel
  • Bathroom towel
  • Air freshener
  • Shower curtain (if needed)
  • Shower organizer
  • Bathroom shoes and cap
  • Washcloths
  • Bathroom cleaning supplies (if there are not at your dorm)
  • Body wash
  • Soap
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner  (if you use it)
  • Shaving cream (if needed)
  • Deodorant

Check with the admission office representatives which of these items are already provided at a dorm to bring only the stuff you need.


  • Shoes
  • Underwear
  • Pajamas
  • Formal and going-out outfit
  • Sunglasses
  • Costume clothing for theme parties
  • Belts
  • Gloves
  • Hat
  • Purse
  • Socks
  • Sweaters
  • Watch
  • Work out clothes

Household and Kitchen Items

  • Blender
  • Microwave
  • Caddy
  • Water bottle
  • Plates
  • Toaster
  • Coffee machine
  • Utensils
  • Napkins
  • Trash bags

Any of these items may have already been available at the dorm. Therefore, we strongly recommend to clarify this information at the college admission office.

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  • Comfy chair
  • Fairy string lights
  • Cozy bedding
  • Fun pillows
  • Pretty desk decor
  • Leaning mirror
  • Stick wallpaper

Shared Items

  • TV /DVD player
  • Audio equipment
  • Coffeemaker
  • Hot pot
  • Microwave
  • Mini refrigerator 
  • Area rug
  • Poster 
  • Art

School Essentials

  • Pencils
  • Sling bag
  • Lap desk
  • Pens (black, blue, red) 
  • Index cards
  • White-out
  • Textbooks
  • Highlighters
  • Printing paper
  • Sharpie markers
  • Binders
  • File folders
  • Calculator
  • Notepads
  • Desk organizer
  • Paper clips
  • Staples
  • Stapler
  • Hole puncher

Health and Medical stuff

  • Thermometer
  • Scissors
  • Ibuprofen for fever
  • Bandaids 
  • Gauze bandages
  • Ace bandage
  • First aid tape
  • Alcohol pads
  • Calamine lotion
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Aloe lotion
  • Hot pack
  • Ice pack
  • Tweezers
  • Allergy medicine
  • Diarrhea medication
  • Cold & Cough medicine
  • Cough drops
  • Flu medicine
  • A book of first aid techniques and procedures

Cleaning Stuff

  • Disinfecting wipes
  • Paper towels
  • Dish Soap
  • Sweeper-Mop
  • Mini vacuum

Food & Snacks List

  • Fresh fruits
  • Canned beans
  • Dried fruits
  • Canned tuna
  • Canned chicken
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Tortillas/mini bagels/ English muffins/pitas

Handy Items to Have

  • Memory fiber pillow
  • Under-the-bed storage
  • Multi-hook over the door
  • Hanging shoe organizer
  • Suit hangers
  • Academic planner
  • Keychain container
  • Protective masks
  • Door mirror
  • Hammock chair


  • Health insurance 
  • Dental insurance 
  • Driver's license 
  • ID
  • Official college documents (plus acceptance letter).
  • Accommodation documents.
  • Course acceptance letter.
  • Bank details
  • Bank card.
  • Passport photos.

Extra Items

  • Umbrella
  • Backpack
  • Lunchbox
  • Sports equipment
  • Hand weights
  • Safety whistle
  • Sleep mask
  • Earplugs
  • Video game console or playing cards

To make sure you do not forget any other important things in your packing, put all the documents and medicines in your bag. There should be your bank documents (bank cards and checks), driving license, vehicle registration and insurance info, copy of birth certificate and social security card, passport, student ID, emergency contact list, and financial aid documents.

It would be also a good idea to have drugs at hand, such as allergy medicine, first aid kit, menstrual pain medication, cold medicine, throat drops, eye drops, thermometer, upset stomach medication, etc.

Our Verdict

Hope this list by our writing experts will be useful for you. If you are the first-year college student who has just left school and is going to move to the dormitory, this checklist is for you. Don’t be afraid to leave your home and remember to follow our pack selection. Thus, you will save your time for hanging-out with friends and will have great memories about moving to the dorm. Alternatively, you can spend a day to pack all your stuff and send it directly to the dorm.