College Dorm Checklist: Everything You Need in One Guide

College Dorm ChecklistMany high school seniors receive their college acceptance letters sometime in the Spring, which means it’s that time of the year for celebration and… checklists? If you’re someone who likes to get an early start on planning, or you just like to have everything written down for reference, why not consult this handy college dorm checklist? Use it to start your own checklist, or supplement the one you’ve already been adding to. Then when you’re ready to shop, you can just grab this guide and get it all done at once!

Check out this course for more tips on staying organized.

What Kind of College Dorm?

The first thing you want to find out when preparing a shopping list is what kind of college dorm you’re going to be staying in. Some students might find out right away, others might need to apply for housing in the Summer and will find out their dorm situation later on. Figure out which category you fall into, and plan accordingly.

If you’re staying in a single dorm room by yourself, you will be responsible for bringing everything you need. If you have roommates, you can plan alongside them for shared items and see if you can split the shopping among yourselves. For instance, you don’t want three roommates each bringing a TV! If you’re staying in an on-campus apartment, where all three roommates get their own room, however, each of you bringing your own TV would be fine.

The size of the dorm will also determine what kind of things you can bring. If the room is going to be very small and cramped, you shouldn’t plan on having a mini-fridge, a microwave, and an electric kettle. Not only will you probably have nowhere to put them, but cooking in a room the size of a closet can be a bad idea when it comes to smell and cleanliness. Stick to ordering pizza your first year…

Okay, so now that the technical stuff is out of the way, let’s get right to that list!

Dorm Room

Most college dorms come with furniture, including a bed, a desk, and sometimes a chair, for each student. Extra-long twin size beds are the standard, meaning you’ll need a bed sheet to match. Even though it’s on the list, let me stress the importance of mattress covers here. It’s a sanitary measure, so don’t skip out on it if you can afford not to!


  • Extra-long twin size sheets
  • Extra-long twin size mattress cover
  • Extra-long twin size comforter
  • Pillows
  • Mattress pad
  • Alarm clock
  • Bedside lamp


  • Desk chair
  • Seat cover or cushion (optional)
  • Desk organizers for pens and paper
  • Desk lamp
  • Mini trash can
  • Bulletin board
  • Sewing kit
  • Small tool kit
  • Picture frames
  • Printer/scanner


  • Laundry basket
  • Clothes hangers
  • Detergent
  • Lint brush
  • Drying rack


  • Fan
  • Wall tacks
  • Storage bins
  • Area rug
  • Space heater

This is starting to look like a ton of stuff, and that’s because it is. Don’t worry – preparing the big move into college can be a stressful time, and you’re not alone. Check out this course on stress reduction and learn how to keep calm during this hectic period!


Most college dorms have communal bathrooms, and you won’t always get lucky and have one right across the hall from you. Sometimes, it can be a far walk. Sometimes, the one nearest you might be closed for repairs, and you’ll have to use another floor’s shower! Don’t be without a bath robe and other supplies below.

  • Bath robe
  • Shower loofah
  • Shower basket
  • Shower cap
  • Shower shoes (cheap flip flops work well)
  • Towels
  • Shaving cream
  • Razors
  • Deodorant
  • Hair dryer
  • Brush
  • Hand soap
  • Shampoo, conditioner, body wash
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Other toiletries

School Supplies

  • Notebooks
  • Pens
  • Pencils
  • Erasers
  • Highlighters
  • Planner
  • Post-it notes
  • Stapler
  • Staples
  • Scissors
  • Rubber bands
  • Ruler
  • Paperclips
  • Scotch tape
  • Stamps
  • Envelopes
  • Index cards
  • Folders
  • Binders
  • Binder paper
  • Calculator
  • Printer paper
  • USB sticks

That’s a lot of stuff! Don’t let your college living space become a mess. It’s terrible for productivity and just plain unsanitary. Check out this guide on de-cluttering your life for tips.


  • PC or laptop
  • Laptop charger
  • Portable speakers
  • Headphones
  • Extension cord
  • Surge protector
  • HDMI cord
  • Ethernet cable
  • Video game console
  • Camera
  • Cellphone
  • Cellphone charger
  • External harddrive
  • Television
  • Microwave
  • Mini-fridge

So a video game console isn’t necessary for school, but even college students need to have fun sometimes. Make sure to maintain a balance between school and play, though! Check out this time management training course for college students for some handy tips.


  • First-aid kit
  • Medicine
  • Backpack
  • Duster
  • Umbrella
  • Gym bag
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Posters
  • Batteries
  • Flashlight
  • Key chain
  • Bicycle lock
  • Helmet
  • Chargers

Don’t forget, of course, clothes and other amenities. If you’re in an on-campus apartment with a kitchen, below are more relevant supplies.

Kitchen Supplies

  • Silverware
  • Cutting board
  • Knives
  • Spatula
  • Cooking spoons
  • Frying pan
  • Cooking pot
  • Cooking oil
  • Plates
  • Bowls
  • Baking sheet
  • Foil
  • Parchment paper
  • Plastic wrap
  • Ziploc bags
  • Freezer bags
  • Tupperware containers
  • Measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • Chip clips
  • Coffee maker
  • Cups
  • Mugs
  • Dish soap
  • Dish towel
  • Sponges
  • Dish rack
  • Garbage can
  • Garbage bags
  • Broom
  • Mop
  • Microwave
  • Toaster

Unless you live in an apartment, you probably won’t get the chance to cook much in college. Even if you do have an apartment, finding the time to cook might be tough, though there are plenty of students who manage. Stay healthy in college by checking out this course on healthy cooking fundamentals.

Personal Items

These are things that are easy to forget,  especially for young adults heading to college for the first time, and who might not be used to taking care of certain things on their own. Below are the personal items that someone living on their own must have… don’t leave any of this with your parents!

  • Birth certificate
  • Social security card
  • Credit and debit cards
  • Checkbook
  • Insurance card
  • Emergency contact card
  • ID card or driver’s license
  • Immunization records
  • Admission information

Moving In

Actually moving into your dorm is an entirely new ordeal. Even after all the shopping is done for items you’ll need at school, you’ll realize that you need even more items to get all of this stuff from your home, and to your new dorm.

Pack plenty of plastic bins and other storage boxes, preferably short but long stackable ones that you can easily fit into the back of a car, and then slip under your bed for the entire year. This way, your parents or whoever is driving you to school will have less of a load on the way back.

Or, if you’re driving yourself, you won’t need to figure out what to do with all those extra boxes. Just slip them under your bed, or in the corner of your room. You can even use them to store things you don’t need all the time, like cleaning supplies, extra clothes hangers, and so on.

If you can afford it, or if your parents or guardians already have it, a vacuum sealer is a great way to pack bulky items like bed sheets and towels. You just need a vacuum sealer and vacuum sealable bags. Throw comforters, pillows, and other large sheets inside and shrink them down for easy packaging. You can also use these as a way to cushion fragile electronics like a PC, monitor, or television while it’s being transported in the back seat of trunk of a car.

Remember, you’ll need:

  • Plastic storage bins
  • Storage boxes
  • Vacuum sealer and bags

You might also want to bring luggage such as suitcases and briefcases. You can use it to pack your clothes when you’re moving in, and have something around for when you take trips or visit home during the school year.

Staying organized and knowing how to manage your time will be your two most valuable skills your first year of college, while you’re still getting the hang of things. Check out this time management for students guide and learn how to stay on top of your schedule.