College Apartment Checklist For New Students

college apartment checklistThere’s a lot more to going to college than registering for classes and buying books. Every student needs a set of essential items for their new home. Working off of a college apartment checklist is a great way to ensure the student has all they need to make it through their first semester of college.

Make sure the student has all the proper supplies and accessories to do their own laundry, cook a meal, clean their home, do homework, organize paperwork and do bills or relax and have time alone. A proper environment for learning should be created within the home, and students should prepare for their first semester by learning study skills, meeting new roommates and setting up their new homes.


  • Two laundry baskets or hampers: one for the restroom and one for the bedroom.

  • A small card table for folding laundry. This is only necessary if the apartment has a washer and dryer or if the laundry facilities lack a place to fold clothes.

  • Assorted hangers: coat hangers, wire hangers, dress hangers and slacks hangers.

  • Laundry soap, bleach, stain remover, fabric softener sheets or liquid fabric softener and a Downy ball.

  • An iron and ironing board with a spray bottle if the iron lacks a steam setting.

Shower Supplies

  • College housing frequently has communal showers. Be sure to invest in shower shoes. Water socks or shower shoes might not be the latest in couture fashion, but they do offer protection from fungi and contagious skin infections like athlete’s foot.

  • A bath poof is a wonderful, inexpensive purchase. Not only do they work up a wonderfully cleansing lather, they also work as an exfoliator to remove dry or dead skin. The only down side of a shower poof is that they harbor bacteria. Pop it in the microwave for 30 seconds once a week to kill germs.

  • Shower gel, lotion, shampoo and conditioner can all be bought in regular sized bottles and transferred into smaller travel sized bottles to make it more convenient to carry. If this sounds like too much of a hassle or there are still too many products to carry, a portable shower caddy with an easy to grip handle or a mesh, vinyl or water resilient net bag will be needed.

  • A terry cloth robe offers protection and modesty while walking from the showers to the dorm room or apartment. This is especially appreciated by young female students.

  • Plenty of towels will be needed. One or two towels is just not enough to get through until laundry day. Seven towels should be sufficient.


  • If moving into a dorm, expect the student to sleep in a twin sized bed. Most dorms are furnished with twin sized bunk style beds with built-in desks or work stations below the top bunk.

  • If sharing a room with another student, privacy is hard to find. Purchase a canopy bed kit that can attach to the bedroom ceiling.

  • Cloth room divider kits are great for college kids who value their privacy.

  • A couple good sets of sheets: one made of cotton and the other flannel. These fabrics will keep the body cool and comfortable in the summer and warm and snug in the winter.

  • A bed in a bag is a great way to get decorative accents and comforters in one. Make sure that the comforter is machine washable.

  • Bedroom coordinates help tie a bedroom together and will make it feel more like a home. Garbage cans, lotion dispensers, pencil cups, pictures frames and more can be purchased in coordinating colors from any super store.

  • A lightweight blanket and a throw style blanket come in handy in sweater whether and are a cheaper alternative to cranking up the heat.

Desk / Study Supplies

  • A laptop, desk and book shelves. Without these three items, college in the modern age would be very difficult. Make sure the student has the proper furniture for studying and a well running laptop or tablet to take to class.

  • A small printer can be a college student’s best friend. Stock the supply cupboard with plenty of extra paper, ink or toner cartridges, envelopes, files, paper clips, labels, tape, thumb tacks, book protectors, batteries and white out.

  • Pens, mechanical or wooden pencils, erasers and highlighters will be needed every day. Bring plenty because they disappear quickly.

  • Filing cabinets are a useful tool for student apartments, but only if there is enough room. Fill it with files and teach the student to organize bills, store receipts and store financial records.

  • A white board is nice for jotting down fleeting thoughts or working through problems analytically.

  • At least one personal finance book or information packet. Students should take a course in personal finance before moving away from their parents’ homes.


  • Every college kid must learn to feed themselves. To do this, they will need cookbooks, instructional videos and perhaps a cooking course or two. Learning to choose and prepare healthy foods will prevent students from gaining the stereotypical “Freshman 15. ”

  • Utensils, such as spatulas, wooden spoons, slotted spoons, a set of sharp knives, a pizza cutter, knives, forks and spoons, serving spoons, measuring cups, a potato peeler and a whisk are essential kitchen items every student needs.

  • A microwave if one isn’t included in the apartment.

  • A dorm fridge for the student’s bedroom or apartment sized fridge if one is not provided.

  • A folding table and two chairs for dining and food preparation. If there is not enough room for a folding table, a rolling kitchen island will work just as well.

  • A good trash can and plenty of liners will go a long way towards keeping the apartment clean and messes under control.

Living Room

  • A couch with a built in recliner is nice if space permits, but if not, a love seat and a recliner should fill out the room and provide a nice, comfortable resting spot.

  • End tables and/or a coffee table are essential. Everyone needs a place to put books, set beverages and rest feet, and coffee tables are the perfect solution. Neglecting this purchase could result in a messier apartment with stained floors.

  • Family photos are nice for college kids who miss their families. During bouts of homesickness, framed family photos or digital frames can help ease their pain and give comfort.

  • A TV isn’t necessary for survival, but it’s nice to have. Purchase a new TV with all of the latest tech toys included, because it will be a while before another one will be bought. Don’t waste money on unnecessary inches, but do buy one big enough to enjoy high definition details.


  • Most apartments have a broom closet. This closet should be supplied with a vacuum cleaner, mop, broom and dust pan. Swiffer products are nice, but refills pads and cleaning liquids are unaffordable for students. Tradition mops and brooms are more appropriate.

  • Disinfectant spray, toilet bowl cleaner or disposable cleaning wands, multi purpose cleaners, bleach, magic erasers, tub and tile spray, scrubbing pads, a scrub brush, sponges and wash clothes should be stored in portable caddies for convenience and organizational purposes.

Getting students all they need to be comfortable is important. Without the basics, students will spend less time studying and more time trying to obtain what they need. Once the apartment is furnished and supplied, help the student find a job. First time job hunters should learn the basics of how to look for a job and stand apart from the competition. These skills can be learned through trial and error, or with online courses and tutorials. With a steady income and an established home, students are prepared to evolve into educated, productive adults.