Your College Dorm Room Essentials Checklist

Heading off to college brings nervous excitement. New classes, new friends, new spaces… the possibilities are endless. But with so much happening at once, it’s hard to think of everything you need to pack.

Before you pack or make what you feel are necessary purchases, check your college’s housing rules. Some schools have health and safety regulations or specific rules about what size appliances you can bring, and they may also provide items you don’t need to go and spend money on.


College Dorm-room Checklist

Bedroom Essentials

  • Alarm clock – Wake up for class, every time.
  • Bedding and towels – You may want to have two sets of linens just in case the laundry starts to pile up.
  • Clothes hangers – Make it easy to get dressed each morning as you’re running out the door.
  • Laundry basket – Keep all your dirty clothes in one place, and make it easy to transport your items to the laundry room.
  • Decorations – Add personality to your room with posters, pillows, a rug, or photos.
  • Picture hangers ­– Double-sided tape, poster tack, etc. Good to see what your school’s rules are, too!
  • Extra storage – Under-the-bed storage, stackable plastic pins, etc.
  • Portable fan – You’ll need one, especially if your dorm doesn’t have air conditioning.

Studying Supplies

  • Laptop computer ­­­– You’ll be typing up plenty of lab reports and papers.
  • Desk lamp ­­– Extra light is a late-night studying essential, especially if your roommate is sleeping.
  • USB flash drives: To store all of your papers and class materials, making it easy to share with peers or take to a library computer.
  • Backpack – For hauling your books and notebooks from building to building.

Miscellaneous College Items

  • Entertainment and necessary cords – Think TV, Blu-ray player, video games, stereo, HDMI cord, camera… whatever you want around for study breaks. Maybe a good idea to bring a couple extension cords also.
  • Coffee maker – For late nights and early mornings.
  • Refrigerator and microwave – If they’re not already provided.
  • Cleaning supplies – Wet wipes, laundry detergent/softener, all-purpose cleaner, paper towels, trash bags, etc.
  • Umbrella – You never know when you’ll need to walk to class in the rain.
  • Dishes, mugs, cups, and silverware – Just the necessities when you don’t feel like trekking to the dining hall.
  • Shower caddy – If you’ll be using community bathrooms, this is a must.

Of course, you’ll have to adapt this list to your own situation, but check most of these items off and you’ll be in good shape.

If you're looking for a second opinion on dorm room essentials, take a look at a few lists from our friends:

The Cash Cow Couple do a great job breaking down what items you most likely already have, and what you're going to need.

KnowsyMoms knows a thing or two about sending kids off to college. In particular the added items you might need to buy for your dorm room bed.

DialMforMoms shares essential dorm items, as well as, must-have's that may have slipped your mind. Ex. a checking/savings account.

And if you’re someone who plans ahead, here’s a look at part-time jobs you can have while being a student. Money may not be on your packing list per se, but it’s good to prepare ahead of time for your college cash flow!

Tags: College Finances