Dorm Room Checklist for College - Ideal for Freshmen

"What to Bring for Campus Living and How to Pack in 3 Easy Steps"

This dorm room checklist includes the essentials for campus living plus a few tasks for college-bound students to complete prior to move-in day, ideal for freshmen. While this checklist may seem like a lot to pack, many items suggested are dorm room size and easily stored.


  • 1PRINT DormSmart's Free Dorm Room Checklist. Need Adobe Reader? Get it here. (Tip: Use our Campus Housing Connector to check your school housing info and make any necessary adjustments to your checklist. Know your school's policies about what to bring to campus and  what not to bring to campus.) 

  • 2Make room in your home to store your college dorm room essentials as you acquire them over the summer. (Tip: Save money, pack the items you have at home first. For essentials you must buy, shop for college early to give yourself ample time to check your purchases and make returns. Avoid procrastinating because move-in weekend at college is busy.)
  • 3Use your list to inventory as you pack for quick access when you arrive on campus. For example, if you pack sheets in Box #1, write Box #1 next to that item on your checklist. (Tip: Use your dorm room checklist as an inventory for your College Property Insurance Policy.)

Dorm Room Cooking / Eating Supplies

Box #Box #
UL Listed Compact Refrigerator or Microwave Refrigerator Combo - CHECK WITH ROOMMATE UL Listed Auto Shutoff Small Coffeemaker (NO Hotplate) - CHECK WITH ROOMMATE
Dorm Dishes (Non-breakable, BPA Free, and Microwavable) - 2 dinner plates, 2 small plates, and 2 bowls4 Glasses (Non-breakable)
2 Water BottlesInsulated Travel Cup
Water Pitcher (Make sure it fits in your dorm size refrigerator.)Eating Utensils - 2 forks, 2 teaspoons, 2 tablespoons, and 2 knives
Microwavable Cookware (BPA Free)Storage Containers (BPA Free. Square containers save space.)
Can OpenerChip Clips
Measuring CupMeasuring Spoons
Paring Knife or PeelerPizza Cutter
Salad / Spaghetti TongsSmall Funnel
Spatula / TurnerStrainer / Colander (Collapsible saves space.)
Check to see if dorm sink needs a stopper - CHECK WITH ROOMMATEDish Scrubber
Dish Liquid2 Pot Holders
2 Dish TowelsTrash Bin
Trash BagsPaper Towels
Paper Plates and Plasticware (Great for move-in weekend.)Dorm Food / Bulk Snacks (Saves money!)
Coffee and Coffee Filters OR Coffee PodsOther Bulk Drinks (i.e. sodas, water... store them under your bed)
Freezer / Storage Bags (One box of large and small bags to store food, toothbrush, and toiletries...)

Dorm Room Bedding Essentials (Check Mattress Size With College)

Box #Box #
2 Sheet Sets (Remember extra pillowcases.) Blanket
Duvet and Duvet Cover OR Comforter SetMattress Cover (Bedbug Protection)
Mattress PadFoam Topper
Pillows (Lots of pillows for sleeping and to turn your dorm room bed into daytime seating.) Soft Throw (For lounging around your dorm room or outdoor events.)

Dorm Room Cleaning Supplies

Box #Box #
UL Listed Compact Vacuum Cleaner (consider bagless or 2 in 1 unit that includes a handheld for quick clean up) - CHECK WITH ROOMMATEBucket with lid to store cleaning and laundry products safely.
Cleaning Products (Bring a few old cleaning rags.)Toilet Brush (only necessary if you have an in-suite bathroom.) - CHECK WITH ROOMMATE


Box #Box #
2 Ethernet Cables 14ft and 25ft (Use when wireless doesn't work. Run 1 cable to the desk and 1 to the bed.)Computer Requirements (Get compatibility requirements from your school.)
Laptop / Tablet Sleeve (Protect your computer when running around campus.)Computer Bag / Book bag (Purchase a bag that will hold both your school supplies and computer.)
UL Listed Surge Protectors with Overload Protection (Flat plugs save space.)Compact Printer with Cable (Optional. Great for procrastinators.) - CHECK WITH ROOMMATE
Ink and Paper for Printer (Optional) - CHECK WITH ROOMMATE

Dorm Room Decor

Box #Box #
Dorm Room Area Rug - CHECK WITH ROOMMATEPhotos From Home (Consider a digital photo frame to display your photos and save space.)
Lightweight Message Boards (White, cork, chalk, or memory boards are great choices.)Accessories for Message Boards (i.e. dry erase markers, chalk, and an eraser...)
3M Command Strips for hanging wall decor (Save your dorm room deposit!)Wall Decor (Removable and reusable wall decals look great and save your deposit! Don't forget a break resistant mirror.)

Dorm Room Electronics (UL Listed)

Box #Box #
Alarm Clock (Whenever possible, multipurpose to save space. Consider using the alarm on your cell phone.)Portable Music Player
Small TV / Blu-ray or DVD Combo. Whatever your needs, just be sure it is SMALL - CHECK WITH ROOMMATENoise Canceling Headphones for TV / Blu-ray or DVD Combo and Portable Music Player (Residence halls can be noisy.)
Cable Splitter (In case you don't want to share a TV with your roommate.)Extra Cable (You may need extra cable depending upon where the cable outlet is located in your dorm room.)
Extension Cords (Flat plugs save space.) - CHECK SCHOOL HOUSING POLICIESPhone / Answering System (DECT 6.0 prevents wireless interference.) - CHECK WITH ROOMMATE
UL Listed Air Cleaner (Optional. Consider filter free.) - CHECK WITH ROOMMATEUL Listed Fan (Optional) - CHECK WITH ROOMMATE
Pest Control (Optional. Depends on school policy and location.) - CHECK WITH ROOMMATEUL Listed Desk Lamp (NO halogen)
UL Listed Bedside Table Lamp (NO halogen)Removable Tap Lights for closet, if needed.
Inexpensive CameraChargers for Electronics
Extra Batteries

Dorm Room Furniture - Check to see what your school provides for students.

Box #Box #
Bedside table that includes shelving or additional storage, such as a trunk cube, to maximize space.Comfortable Desk Chair (Check with your school.)
Additional Seating (If room permits.)Bed or desk if none provided by school. (Check housing policy before investing in furniture.)

Laundry / Ironing Supplies

Box #Box #
UL Listed 3-Way Auto Shutoff Iron - CHECK WITH ROOMMATEIroning Board - CHECK WITH ROOMMATE
Hangers (Approximately 4 dozen - hanging clothes saves space!)Folding Clothing Dry Rack (Optional. Great for drying sweaters or fine washables.)
Sweater / Delicates Wash Bag Set (Optional. Extending the life of your clothes saves money.)Laundry Staples (i.e. detergent, softener or dryer balls, color bleach, and stain remover...)
Lint RollerSewing Kit
Laundry Hamper (i.e. Pop Up, Folding, or Backpack...)

Dorm Room Safety / Personal Security / Health Supplies / Tool Kits

Box #Box #
First Aid KitFlu / Cold Medicines / Cough Drops / Thermometer (For when you feel too sick to get out of bed.)
Pain Relief MedicineMulti-vitamins or Vitamin C (Stay healthy!)
Anti-bacterial Hand Sanitizer (Always use after class or lab... before touching your face or food!)Prescriptions (Don't forget to pack your prescriptions!)
Laptop LockBicycle Lock
Dorm Room SafeDefensive Spray or Alarm (Check your school regulations or state laws prior to purchasing mace or pepper spray.)
FlashlightKey Chain
Compact Tool KitRain Poncho
UmbrellaRain Boots (A must have in areas like New Orleans.)
Sun ScreenSun Hat (If you participate in an outdoor activity, take a hat or two for hotter climates.)

Dorm Room Shower / Bath Supplies

Box #Box #
Waterproof Shower Bag or Caddy (Bring one that dries quickly and won't slime up on you!)MINIMUM of 2 bath towels or bath sheets, 2 hand towels, and 2 washcloths OR shower scrubbies
Spa Wrap or RobeSlippers
Shower Shoes (Pick up a pair of flip flops with good traction and save a little money.)Shower Curtain, if needed - CHECK WITH ROOMMATE
Bath Mat, if needed - CHECK WITH ROOMMATEHair Appliances (i.e. blow dryer, flat iron, curling iron...)
Hair Products (i.e. shampoo, conditioner, styling products...)Razors
Shaving CreamShower Soap
Toothbrush / Toothbrush HolderToothpaste
MouthwashDental Floss
DeodorantFoot Powder (For sports, marching band, cheerleading activities... be kind to your dorm mate!)
Manicure KitAir Freshener / Neutralizer
Extra Toilet PaperTissues
Personal Toiletries (i.e. makeup, perfume, cologne... and those other personal items.)

Dorm Room Storage

Box #Box #
Storage Bins (Use collapsible or folding storage bins on shelves, under your bed, and in your closet...)College Trunk (Optional for secure storage, travel, and extra seating...)
Under Bed Storage (i.e. a Smart Storage Cart for easy access and organization.)Bed Risers (Check inside dimensions. Square shaped works best for dorm bed posts.)
Hanging Storage for closet. (Check your closet dimensions before purchasing organizers.)Storage Caddies (Optional. Store school supplies, hair appliances, or makeup... everything!)
Storage Hooks for dorm room closet door. (Holds book bags, purses, jackets, and wet towels...)Space Bags (Optional. Save space by minimizing bulky clothing or blankets when not in use.)
Clothing Bag (Optional. Store your business suit. Take one professional outfit for special activities.)

Getting Around Campus

Box #Box #
Bicycle (Bring an inexpensive bicycle to get around on or near campus.) Bicycle Accessories (i.e. helmet, bike lock, basket, tire patch kit, and small air pump...) Tip: A plastic shopping bag tied over the seat when not in use keeps your butt dry on rainy days.

School Supplies (Remember this depends on how much or if you are allowed to utilize electronics in the classroom.)

Box #Box #
6 College Ruled Notebooks6 Folders
6 Report CoversStapler
StaplesStaple Remover
3 Hole PunchScissors
Index CardsTape Dispenser
TapePush Pins
Post it NotesPens (Red, Black, Blue)
#2 Mechanical PencilsErasers
CalculatorRubber Bands
Paper ClipsBinder Clips
Desk OrganizersAcademic Planner

Everything Else

Box #Box #
Proof of Health InsuranceImmunization Records
Accident / Theft InsuranceCreate and carry an Emergency Contact Card
Check your cell phone coverage area and adjust plan if needed. Don't forget to pack your charger.Setup a Bank Account / Get a Bank Card
Establish a Monthly BudgetAdd money to your college / university card for campus purchases, services, and laundry.
Only take coins if your college does not have a card system.Register your bicycle.
If taking a vehicle, remember to register your vehicle with your school and get a parking permit.Pack a few cool weather items such as a coat and jacket... Cool days happen in the summer and early fall!
Equipment for activities (i.e. music, sports, cheerleading...)YOUR CLOTHES! Make a list of everything you'll need first then pack them up! (If your campus has a recreational facility, you need to bring your workout clothes, swimsuit, and a beach towel. Don't pack expensive jewelry.)
Luggage for travel over school breaks.You may want to pack a small air mattress and extra blanket or sleeping bag for overnight company.

Moving Your Dorm Stuff

Box #Box #
If needed, reserve your moving trailer / transport early! Don't forget a dolly.Purchase moving supplies such as boxes, packaging materials, tape, and a sharpie marker.

Move-in Weekend Planning Tip:

Move-in weekend is BUSY! There are thousands of boxes arriving on campus and many students trying to locate those boxes. If possible, it is best to purchase dorm room supplies early, pack them in an orderly fashion, and accompany them to their final destination... your dorm room. If you do ship your dorm room supplies directly to your college campus, remember to use your campus shipping address and give yourself ample time to locate your items during move-in weekend. It's best to create a list of purchases that you need to retrieve when you arrive on your college campus.

Bottom line... you need as much time as possible to get settled into your dorm room on move-in weekend while participating in all the mandatory activities. So be smart, allow your family to help you get organized and settled into your new home. It will make the transition to college life much easier for everyone. Don't forget your dorm room checklist for college!

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Publisher Information: Dorm Room Checklist for College is an original work by, L.L.C., first published December 23, 2009 and last updated on January 1, 2018.

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