Student Life

Back to School 2023: College Dorm Packing List

Our back to school college dorm packing list.

Shawna Newman

July 07, 2023

Back to School 2023: College Dorm Packing List
Follow this list to help ensure you've packed all the essentials without over packing.
By now, you've probably started to think about dorm room ideas and packing for college. While it's easy to get overwhelmed, remember that you're just going to college – not Mars. Packing for your dorm room is like walking a fine line – there is a very high chance that you’ll be over- or under-prepared. After all, we always remember those dorm rooms to be bigger than they actually were. Maybe that’s just wishful thinking.

What Should You Pack for Your College Dorm Room?

In hopes of helping with the process, follow this college packing list to ensure you've packed all the essentials. You can also download the checklist here.
The below items will prepare you for the school year ahead. If you find that there’s something missing once you begin unpacking your dorm room, it’s not the end of the world. College campuses usually have retail centers nearby where you can buy what you need – or you can take advantage of Amazon’s student Prime discount. Chances are, you’ll be using that quite a bit throughout college. It’s also imperative that you know what not to bring.

Items to Ask the School Housing Office About

Before bringing any of the following items, contact your school's housing office and ask about the rules and regulations within the residence halls. Many schools don't allow things such as: • Halogen bulbs and/or lamps
• Hotplates, skillets, toasters, toaster ovens, Instant Pots/pressure cookers
• Air conditioners
• Extension cords
• Candles
• Pets
• Nail picture hangers

Dorm Room Items

Consider your dorm room the hub of your college experience. This is where you’ll keep everything. Though much of its purpose is functional, you can utilize your dorm room décor to showcase your personality and make the space feel like its yours.
Sheets (Check to see if they need to be a special size)
Bed risers (If your bed isn't a loft)
Desk/Bed lamp
Book light
Crates or stacking storage containers
Microwave (If allowed in room)
Mini-Refrigerator (If allowed in room)
Facial Tissues
Paper plates and cups
Cups, dishes & silverware for in-room snacks
Reusable water bottle
Reusable coffee mug
Plastic containers with lids for snacks (Bugs, otherwise!)
Delicious snacks

Toiletries and Bathroom Supplies

Shower caddy
Soap/body wash
Shower pouf/loofah
Towels (Bath, face, washcloths)
Shower shoes
Body lotion
Shaving Cream / Razors
Feminine Products
Cold and pain medicine
Hair dryer (Straightener, Curling Iron)
Cotton swabs, cotton balls, etc.
Sewing kit (with safety pins)
Lint brush
Wrinkle release

Laundry Supplies

Laundry rooms in residential halls are typically community spaces. That means you’ll be sharing washers and dryers with everyone in the building. Bring your own supplies – and some patience.
Laundry basket/bag
Laundry detergent
Stain remover
Rolls of quarters (If necessary for laundry)
Dryer sheets

Electronics and Technology Items

A college student can’t function today without technology, both in and outside of the classroom. Determine which of the below you need.
Computer/laptop case
Wireless mouse
Lap desk
Tablet or E-reader
Printer cartridges
Extra Phone Charger(s)

School Supplies

Most students look forward to outfitting their dorm room but remember that you’re going to college to learn. Don’t forget the essentials – school supplies.
Desk organizer
Binders, folders
Printer paper
Pens, pencils
Dictionary/ Thesaurus (Apps work, too!)
Backpack or messenger bag
Day planner
Post-It notes
Three-hole punch
Paper/binder clips
Rubber bands

Cleaning Supplies

Living in a dorm isn’t all fun and games. You need to keep your living quarters clean as well.
Rags, sponges, scrub-brushes
Swiffer/Swiffer pads
Mini Vacuum
Rubber gloves
Dish soap
Dish brush
Dish rack/drying mat
Febreze/Fabric refresher

Nice to Have

Finally, the below items aren’t necessary, but they may make your college dorm room more fun and functional.
Video Game Console/Games
Framed photos with family, friends, roommates
Dry erase board (For messages from friends)
Deck of cards, Board Games
Area maps
Safe with a lock (For valuables)
Toolbox/Basic tool set
Weekend bag or small suitcase
Extra Power strip(s)
Extra Extension cord(s)
Poster putty for hanging up decorations (Most schools don't allow nails)
College Dorm Checklist: Download PDF Note: Even though you can usually get school supplies on campus, it's often cheaper to buy it during the back-to-school sales at off-campus stores. Don’t freak out if you forget something you need that’s on the above college planning checklist. Even if you’re far from home, there’s nothing you can’t get exactly where you are. You can usually even find a lot of student necessities on campus. However, if you can’t find those forgotten essential items on campus, do some dorm room shopping in the nearby town. Finally, if you forget an important item you cannot replace with a store-bought item (something sentimental or a favorite shirt, for example) and you’re too far away from home to head back, you can always kindly ask your parents, siblings or other family members to ship the item(s) directly to your dorm address. Moving to college for the first time is a huge step in any student’s life. Preparation and planning play a key role to an easy transition. The less you worry about things other than your new academic schedule and finding your place on campus, the better.

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