Dorm Checklist

So the big day, also known as move-in day, is only a few weeks away and you have no idea what to bring with you to campus.

Feeling a little STRESSED?

I completely understand.  It is important that you start your first few weeks off on a good note.  This will most likely set the tone for the remainder of the year.

In this post, we’ll discuss how to make move-in day as smooth as possible by providing you with a dorm checklist.

Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute

Starting college and moving away from home is already stressful enough, so don’t create even more stress on yourself by waiting until the last minute to start thinking about what you want to bring.

Give yourself a couple months.  The dangers of waiting to a few days before include you leaving important items at home or just plain ‘ole over packing.

Neither of these situations are good and can cause unnecessary stress.

Dorm Room Essentials

Here are the things that you just can’t live without.  You should definitely add these to your list.


  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Towels
  • Washcloth
  • Sponge
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Soap/Bodywash
  • Facial Cleansers
  • Contacts/Glasses
  • Contact Cleaning Solution/Case
  • Deodorant
  • Perfume/Cologne
  • Shaving Cream/Razor
  • Robe
  • Nail Clippers/Nail file
  • Extra Toilet Paper
  • Hair Dryer
  • Shower Shoes
  • Shower Caddy


  • Hangers
  • 10-15 Casual Shirts (Long & Short-Sleeved)
  • 5-10 Pairs of Casual Pants (Jeans, Khakis, etc.)
  • 1 Sweatshirt
  • 2 Pairs of Sweatpants
  • 1 Dressy Outfit (Suit or Dress)
  • 1 Pair of Running Shoes
  • 1 Pair of Dress Shoes
  • 2 Pairs of Everyday Wear Shoes
  • 2 Pairs of Sandals
  • 1 Pair of Boots
  • Undergarments
  • Socks
  • Pajamas
  • Belts
  • Slippers


  • Jacket(s)
  • Hat
  • Gloves
  • Scarf

*Will vary based on school location (i.e. climate)


  • Comforter and Blankets
  • Extra Long Sheets
  • Pillows
  • Pillowcases
  • Mattress Pad
  • Bed Risers (optional)


  • Laptop or Desktop Computer
  • Printer
  • Word Processing Software
  • Ethernet Cables
  • Small TV
  • Powersurge Protector
  • Alarm Clock
  • Telephone (or Cell Phone)
  • Thumb Drive


  • Non-perishable Snacks
  • Paper Towels
  • Napkins
  • Plates, Bowls and Cups
  • Knife, Fork, and Spoon
  • Frozen Dinners*
  • Fresh Fruits and Vegetables*

*Only if you have a mini-fridge.


  • Mini-Fridge
  • Microwave
  • Small Fan

School Supplies

  • Binder With Plastic Sleeve
  • Subject Separators with Tabs
  • Pencils
  • Pens
  • Erasers
  • Lined Paper
  • Printer Paper
  • Spiral Notebooks
  • Highlighters
  • Paperclips
  • Stapler/Staples
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Backpack
  • Calculator
  • Dictionary
  • Daily Planner

For Your Health

  • First Aid Kit
  • Prescription Medications
  • Over-the-Counter Medications (Pain Reliever, etc)
  • Umbrella
  • Vitamins
    • Cleaning Supplies


  • Under-bed Boxes
  • Laundry Bag/Hamper
  • Tupperware
    • Plastic Bins

For Laundry

  • Laundry Detergent
  • Fabric Softener
  • Change for Washer and Dryer
  • Iron
    • Ironing Board


  • Pictures and Picture Frames
  • Rug
  • Desk Lamp
  • Posters
  • Bean Bag
  • Dry-Erase Board With Pens
  • Wall Calendar


  • Bathing Suit
  • Headbands
  • Jewelry
  • Jewelry Box
  • Sunglasses
  • Flashlight

Don’t Forget To Call Your Roommates

At some point during the summer, your school should provide you with your roommate’s contact information.

Go ahead, give them a call.  This will make things a little less awkward come move-in day.  Also, this will give you an opportunity to coordinate who’s going to bring what.

You want to make this as fair as possible.  Maybe you decide to bring the TV and microwave and your roommate will bring the fridge and the TV stand.  Whatever you decide, it’s best to do this ahead of time.

Are you feeling a little more prepared?

I sure hope so…

Keep in mind that regardless of how perfect your dorm checklist is, you’ll likely be making a trip to either Walmart or Target before it’s all said and done and that’s OKAY.

It’s just impossible to anticipate everything you’re going to need ahead of time, but the point is that you want to be as prepared as possible.

Just stay calm and most importantly, remember to have fun!

Good Luck!

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Lauren Anderson is a certified school counselor who's passionate about helping students all over the world successfully transition from high school to college! After spending 6 years as a business professional, she obtained her Master’s degree in School Counseling and now spends her spare time helping students.

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