Dorm Room Essentials

As summer is coming to an end and college students begin to prepare for moving back to the dorms, things tend to get a tad chaotic. Students may have a hard time trying to limit over-packing but also wanting to have more than just the bare necessities. So what do you pack for your new college life?

Of course the list differs among students and living facilities, but there are some items everyone needs when it comes to dorm living. Here is a list that will benefit first-year students when packing up to move out.


  • Bed linens
    • Don’t forget to pack a comforter, sheets, and pillow(s). You may want more than one set if you’re laundry tends to pile up. (Tip: Check whether your bed will be regular or extra-long before purchasing bed linens.)
  • Alarm clock
    • After a long night of studying or late night shenanigans you may want to have an alarm clock to help wake up for that 8 am lecture in the morning.
  • Clothing
    • There’s only so much room in a dorm closet, so pack just enough clothing to make it from one laundry day to the next.
  • Tablet/Computer
    • Despite having access to a computer lab it is nice to have your own. For those weekends of Netflix junkie watching or late night studying.
  • Desk lamp
    • This is essential for those late-night cramming session plus polite to use when you have a sleeping roommate.
  • Laundry basket
    • Get a laundry hamper that is easy for you to carry up and down stairs, around corners, and that is light because you might have a long walk to the laundry room.
  • Storage boxes and stackable crates
    • Great for stowing things under the bed or in a corner.


  • Bath linens
    • Bring your own washcloth and towels. Again I’d bring two or three of each just in case your laundry tends to pile up. (Tip: Consider marking your name on a tag in permanent marker to identify your towels.)
  • Flip-flops
    • These little slabs of rubber aren’t just wallet-friendly, they’re great for your podiatric health too.
  • Shower tote
    • It’s much easier to transport your toiletries to the bathroom in a handy carrier.


  • Appliances
    • Find out what appliances you are permitted to have (such as a toaster oven), and coordinate with your roommate(s).
  • Dishes, glasses, and utensils
    • Plastic and paper cups/silverware/plates/ bowls will do. It’s just nice to have something to eat off of for those mornings that it’s impossible to wake up for breakfast.
  • Snacks
    • Sometimes you need a boost while writing that thesis on chaos theory.


  • Fan(s)
    • There is no AC, and it is still hot in August.
  • Important papers
    • Be sure to pack any important documents or ID cards you may need, such as a driver’s license, registration forms, and financial-aid forms. If you plan to get a job, bring a copy of your birth certificate as proof of age.
  • Posters, pictures, and other decorations
    • You want your room to have a bit of personality, so bring along some artwork and pictures of family and friends to make this small place a bit homier.
  • Duct Tape
    • It pretty much fixes everything.
  • A Message Board for Your Door (with an attached marker)
    • This is crucial if you have a roommate. You will most likely go days without seeing each other with all the studying, classes, and late night activities you’ve got going on. This is the best way to keep in touch with a hectic schedule.


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  1. Excellent! This is PERFECT. I’m sharing this on my Facebook page. Thanks for the organized and detailed list that’s easy to share. I love fans for white noise while you’re sleeping too. You never know what you’re going to hear from your roommate or next door!!

  2. Yes, this covers most of the important stuff. Usually alarm clocks are on your phone, so buying one might not be necessary unless your phone dies easily…

  3. Great checklist. I’d also consider putting a foreman grill on here as it’s a really easy way to make your own meals which is really nice.

  4. Shower tote, fan, and duct tape will all save your life in college! I also really loved having an electric kettle in my dorm room for making tea, coffee, and hot cocoa! Check to see if your school allows them in your room.