college dorm checklist

Best College Dorm Packing Checklist – Free PDF Included [2020]

Starting college is no easy transition. Among the new places to go on campus and the interesting people to meet, it is easy to get caught in a whirlwind of activity. While this can be stressful, your college dorm room doesn’t have to be. We’ve created the ultimate college dorm room checklist for your ease. Let this college dorm room checklist be your guide and help you create the BEST dorm room. With this ultimate college packing list, dorm life will be a breeze.

Downloadable College Dorm Packing Checklist

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Checklist #1: Storage

College dorm rooms can be pretty small. So now’s the time to get creative and maximize space. This is the first on your dorm room checklist because space is important when it comes to storing these dorm room essentials. Ideally, things should take up only a little bit of room so you can pack in a lot of stuff.

  • Storage bins
  • Under the bed storage trays
  • Mini tool kit
  • Stackable desk trays

Checklist #2: Dorm Room Essentials

In your college packing list, you will NEED this stuff. It’s a basic in any functional college dorm room.

  • Bedside lamp
  • Desk lamp
  • Mini trash can
  • Fan (if you aren’t lucky enough to have AC)
  • Drying rack for your laundry
  • Bulletin board (great for putting up flyers)

Checklist #3: Desk Supplies

No college checklist is complete without desk supplies. While you may be doing a lot of work at the library, your desk could easily become an important space for last minute studying and writing.

  • Stapler and staples
  • Printer paper (if you have a printer)
  • Index cards
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • Pens
  • Pencils (plus a sharpener and extra erasers)
  • Calculators (Can’t forget about those intro math classes)
  • Notebooks
  • Agenda/planner
  • Folders with pockets
  • Paper clips and rubber bands
  • Sticky notes
  • Pencil Case
  • Highlighter pens
  • Ruler
  • Post-it flags

Checklist #4: Laundry

Do yourself a favor and don’t save your laundry for the last minute. Trust me.

  • Laundry bag
  • Laundry basket (You will need this to get to the laundry room)
  • Laundry detergent
  • Stain remover
  • Mini sewing kit
  • Lint brush
  • Dryer sheets

Checklist #5: Bedding/Linens

Just be prepared that the little twin bed mattress will not be the most comfortable thing. However, you can still make it luxurious and cuddly.

  • Two sets of sheets and pillowcases
  • A mattress pad (for those uncomfortable dorm beds)
  • Bed risers
  • Duvet cover
  • Two Pillows
  • Two blankets
  • Comforter (look into the size of your mattress beforehand)
  • Three bath towels for showering
  • Two hand towels

Checklist #6: Toiletries

While this list is obviously very personalized, here are the basics for all your bathroom needs.

  • Aspirin or Tylenol
  • Bandaids
  • Shower caddy (The bathroom may be father than you think)
  • Shower shoes (Cheap flip flops– trust me, you need these for communal bathrooms)
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Lotion
  • Body wash
  • Cough drops
  • Tweezers
  • Nail clippers
  • Vitamins
  • Cotton swabs/Q-tips
  • Tums
  • Face wash
  • Hair styling products
  • Toothpaste and toothbrush
  • Floss
  • Comb/brush
  • Hair dryer/straightener/hair curler
  • Deodorant
  • Makeup products
  • Makeup remover
  • Razor

Checklist #7: Electronics

Most of these you would never even leave your dorm or apartment without. But here are just some friendly reminders.

  • Cell phone
  • Laptop
  • Head phones
  • Phone charger
  • Laptop charger
  • Portable speakers
  • Multiple cord power strip
  • HDMI cord (Trust me, they come in handy)
  • Surge protecter

Checklist #8: Clothing

Again, this will be varied. Be mindful of the size of your closet. Here are the basics.

  • Underwear
  • Socks
  • Shirts
  • Sweatpants
  • Sweatshirts
  • Sweaters
  • Workout clothes
  • Slippers
  • Flip flops
  • Sneakers
  • Boots
  • Casual shoes
  • Pants/jeans
  • A business casual outfit or two
  • A formal outfit for dances/formals
  • Light jacket
  • Heavy coat
  • Scarf and gloves
  • Warm hat
  • Baseball hat
  • Dress shoes
  • Swimsuit

Checklist #9: Household Items

Some people have a living space with a kitchen, others don’t. See what applies to you and your residence hall.

  • Paper towels
  • Strainer
  • Pots and pans
  • Utensils
  • Cups
  • Thermos
  • Bowls
  • Plates
  • Trash bags
  • All purpose cleaner (and other cleaning supplies)
  • Dish soap
  • Hand soap
  • Tissues
  • Mugs
  • Water bottle
  • Can opener
  • Measuring cups
  • Blender
  • Cutting board
  • Cutting knives

Checklist #10: Shared Items

You will need to collaborate with your roommate on this one.

  • TV
  • Coffee maker
  • Mini fridge
  • Microwave
  • Rug for the room or other floor decor
  • Posters or other decor to brighten up those dreary dorm walls

Checklist #11: Anything and everything else

There are just so many things you can bring and a world of dorm room decor that you can explore. Dorm shopping can be fun, so here are a few more essentials.

  • Umbrella
  • Lanyard for your keys
  • Backpack
  • Sports equipment like a soccer ball or frisbee
  • Books
  • Record Player
  • Plants
  • Framed photos
  • Ironing board
  • String lights

You can use this college packing list for years to come, even if you aren’t living in a college dorm anymore. This list is still perfect for any college apartment and for any college student. Honestly, this list works for any apartment or adult living situation in general.

About the author

January Nelson

January Nelson

January Nelson is a writer, editor, and dreamer. She writes about astrology, games, love, relationships, and entertainment. January graduated with an English and Literature degree from Columbia University.