What to Pack for a Move into a College Dorm

Image By: xandert on morguefile.com
Image By: xandert on morguefile.com

(This article was originally published to Helium.com.)

(There are many ways to save on college dorm needs, including frequenting yard sales, thrift stores, and dollar stores. If you plan far enough ahead, it is possible to save a great deal of money on necessary items during back to school – and after back to school – sales for a few years before your child attends college.)

Going off to college is an exciting event in the life of a young adult. Make sure you have packed everything that you will need before your first visit home, especially if you live a long distance from campus you will move to. Create a checklist of the items you must bring with you in order to be comfortable and not have to do a lot of shopping while away from home. These ideas will get you started.

Clothing and Accessories

Pack enough clothing to get you through a week or two, or until you will have a chance to do laundry. Pants and shirts, skirts and blouses and shorts and tops are a must, as are underclothes. Team logo clothing, such as tee shirts, might also top your list. Formal attire may be needed for dances, and business clothes are useful for interviews. Do not forget sneakers and dress shoes.

Coats and jackets will also come in handy, depending on the weather in the area where the college or university is located, as will boots, hats and gloves. A bathing suit and exercise attire should be packed as well.


Before deciding what to bring, contact your college of choice and ask what will be provided in the dorm room you will be assigned to. A bed is necessary, as is a desk and chair. A book case is important, and you might want a couple of saucer chairs or a futon if there will be enough room.


Two or three sheet sets, a comforter and an assortment of blankets should be packed, as well as pillows. Consider a thick mattress pad in case the provided mattress is not as comfortable as you like, and a few throw pillows and blankets for use when you do not want to be in bed.

Personal Care Items

Pack plenty of shampoo and soap, as well as toothbrushes and toothpaste. Lotion, makeup and razors will be needed as well. If your dorm room has a bathroom, you may need a shower curtain and liner, and remember to pack towels and wash cloths. When sharing a floor bathroom, be sure to bring flip flops and a carrier for all your shower supplies.


Essential, especially in small dorm rooms, organizers will help you to keep things picked up so the room is not always a mess. A hamper is needed for dirty clothes, though two are better if you have to go a long time between laundry days. Trunks can be placed on closet floors, or under beds. A bureau is also necessary if one is not provided. Pack desk organizers as well.

Food Needs

A small refrigerator will aid you in storing perishables, and a microwave makes it easy to prepare assorted food items. A coffee maker might also be needed. Call ahead to be sure these items are allowed in the dorm room.

Pack at least one plate, bowl, cup, spoon, fork and butter knife, though a couple of each is better. Microwave safe items are desired. Having extra storage containers on hand is a good idea, as are coffee and travel mugs.

The food you choose to bring will depend on whether or not you will have small appliances in your room, or in another area like the student lounge. Coffee, tea and soda are options. Snack foods are a good choice, and microwavable food items are desirable.

Cleaning Supplies

A broom and dust pan, a mop, and trash bags are needed, and you will want to consider dish and laundry detergent. An all-purpose disinfectant is another item you will want to pack.

Course Needs

Your textbooks are important, as are other items. A desk lamp, laptop and printer will all be necessary. You will need a bag to carry class needs in, and don’t forget to pack paper, pens and other needs.

Do Not Forget

Do not leave home without your cell phone, or a phone and answering machine for the dorm room. Pack music and movies that you want to bring along. A camera might also be packed, and you will want to consider books and magazines for down time. Decide on anything that you want to use to decorate your dorm room with as well.

Your list is likely quite long at this point. Go over it again so you do not forget to add anything. Mark off each item as it is packed, and label each box with the category of items that is within.


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