DORM ROOM ESSENTIALS: YOUR COLLEGE PACKING LIST
Starting a new year at college can be both exciting and stressful. Fortunately, you can help reduce some of that stress by putting together a checklist of college apartment or dorm essentials before you start packing.
It might be tempting to bring every little thing you can think of, but limiting your checklist to the essentials will help keep you from feeling overwhelmed while also making move-in day (and move-out day) much easier. Keep in mind:
- The size of your dorm room
- How many roommates you'll have
- What your roommates will be bringing (coordinate in advance if possible)
- Campus policy about what items are/aren't permitted
Once you have those things confirmed, refer to the following guide on what to pack for college.
Bedding & Bath
Most dorms are furnished with extra-long twin beds, but it's a good idea to check in with the housing department to make sure you bring bedding in the right size. Here's what you'll need:
Dorm room mattresses tend to be highly durable but also notoriously uncomfortable. Look for a plush mattress pad to add cushioning.
Outfit the bed with machine-washable, budget-friendly sheets in a low-maintenance material like cotton. Pro tip: buy two sets so you'll always have clean bed sheets handy.
A twin XL bed only requires one standard sleeping pillow, but you can add your own sense of style by placing an accent pillow in front of it. You can also use a pillow on your desk chair for extra comfort during extended studying sessions.
Comforters, Quilts & Bedding Sets
Simplify dorm styling and choose a comforter—an inexpensive option that's usually sold as part of a matching set that includes shams. A quilt can be layered on for chillier nights or can replace the comforter when the temperatures rise.
Blankets & Throws
Give your space some added texture, a fun pattern or a pop of color with a blanket or throw. They're perfect for cozying up while reading or catching up on your favorite shows.
Make sure to pack a few sets of hand towels, bath towels and washcloths. For extra comfort, add in a bathrobe and pair of shower shoes to protect your feet in the communal shower.
Cute dorm rooms all have one thing in common: decorative accents. The best pieces can make a room feel personal, relaxing and inviting. Consider bringing the following items:
Art, Wall Decor & Mirrors
Perk up your college room wall decor with framed prints and textiles. Pro tip: a decorative tapestry can double as a room divider or curtain, while a mirror instantly makes a space look larger.
Candles & Diffusers
Add lavender or chamomile essential oils to a diffuser for a calming ambiance. Traditional open-flame candles are typically forbidden in dorms, so a candle warmer is a safer bet.
When you're up late studying, respect your roommate's sleeping hours by using a personal lamp. A simple, compact light that moves around with ease fits in with any decor.
Determine the measurements of your room to ensure the rug you choose will fit the space. Be sure to check in with your roommate to see if they'll be bringing a rug as well.
Maximize your space with organizational heroes like drawer towers and stackable bins. Storage ottomans and baskets serve double duty by livening up the room while keeping your stuff contained.
Tech & Appliances
Noise-Canceling Headphones & Portable Bluetooth Speaker
A pair of noise-canceling headphones can help improve focus when distractions are high. A portable Bluetooth speaker makes watching movies or listening to music more enjoyable, whether in the dorm room or common areas.
An electric kettle is an ideal convenience for preparing quick meals and drinks like instant coffee, ramen and oatmeal. Be sure to check in with your resident advisor first to confirm that the dorm allows an electric kettle before including it on your college packing list.
Using a small humidifier can help alleviate allergy symptoms and dry skin. Opt for a cool mist humidifier since dorm rooms are often sweltering in the winter.
Other College Dorm Essentials
Desk Accessories & Stationery
Now that you've got your living space sorted, these extra essentials will start you off on the right academic track:
- Planner to organize your time and jot down reminders
- Notebook or laptop for taking notes during lectures
- Folders to stay organized
- Wall calendar
- Sticky notes
- Pens, pencils and highlighters
- Desk organizers
Water Bottle & Travel Mug
Stay hydrated during class with a personal water bottle. Switch to a travel mug for sipping hot tea and soup on chilly days.
Books, Games & Puzzles
Bring your favorite books, games and puzzles from home or team up with your roommate to build a collection that you both can borrow from. Create an array to choose from to combat cabin fever during the colder months or when you're looking for entertainment on a tight budget.
Include a sleep mask on your list of college essentials to help you fall asleep faster. Make sure your mask is snug enough so that it doesn't come off easily with movement but isn't too tight.
You now know everything you need to plan for a smooth transition to college. Adapt this list to housing rules and personal needs to make living on campus the exciting experience it should be.