Off to College Packing Checklist

A comprehensive list of many of the items college students may need or want while living in a dorm.

Linens/Laundry Supplies

BED - - - Note: Many college beds are XL TWIN (extra-long.)

       Sheets and pillowcases (2 sets). Check about what size is needed. 

Mattress pad (check with college for bed size)

Mattress topper/ egg crate mattress - this will make the bed much more comfy! 

Blankets (2 - one for bed and one to use as a throw when studying)


Bed bug protection kit (I'm undecided on this one - for piece of mind, perhaps?)

Pillows (1 or 2 standard sized) 

       Body pillow or “Bedrest Pillow with arms"


Towels (3 bath and hand towels, 1 beach or pool towel.)

Face cloths

Clothes hangers (you will probably need more than you think!)

Drawer separator boxes

Laundry bag/basket 

Laundry detergent (The individual pods are handy)

       Fabric softener and stain remover

Delicates/ bra-washing mesh  bags

Lint brush

Iron or steamer (travel size)

Roll of quarters, if laundry facilities use these.

Electronics and Office/Desk Supplies

(NOTE: you may wish wait to purchase some school supplies until after you arrive and learn what you need.)

Computer or Laptop (printer is optional; there are usually printers for student use)

Printer, ink, and paper (if you decide to bring a printer) 

Electronic storage items (i.e.) memory cards and USB flash drives



Cell phone

Portable speakers (if you want to play music from laptop)


Chargers and cords

Stapler and staples

Pens and pencils

Highlighter pens (multiple colors) 

       Permanent markers (with both black and silver, you can label almost anything!) 

Pencil holder and sharpener


Folder with pockets and/or Binders

       Textbooks (If you know which you need and it is less expensive to purchase in advance) 

        Labels of various sizes

3 × 5 index cards

Sticky notes

Assortment of paper clips, binder clips, and rubber bands

Tape (scotch, masking and duct tape are all useful)


Ruler / measuring tape

3-hole punch


Stackable desk trays

Stamps and envelopes

HDMI cord, Ethernet cord for computer (check if your room has wireless internet)

Surge protector / power strip

Extension cords

3-2 prong adapters

Shared Items — Plan for these with roommate(s) 

Audio equipment

TV /DVD player

Coffeemaker/ hot pot/ hot water kettle, if allowed

mini crock pot or microwave rice cooker bowl

       Microwave (if not provided in room

       Small refrigerator (if not provided in room)

Area rug and seating / storage ottoman

       Posters/ art

Room Needs/Storage (See the size/layout of room before buying some of these items.)

Bedside lamp (clip-on may work best)

Desk lamp

Alarm clock/clock radio

Mini trash can

Storage bins, storage cart with drawers, bookshelf 

Under-the-bed storage trays

       Curtain and tension rod (if closet doesn't have a door you can create one!)

Fan (unless room is air conditioned)

Drying racks for laundry

        Over door towel/ drying rack

Bulletin board and pushpins

Dry-erase wall calendar/board

Mini toolkit (including screwdriver, hammer, wrench, measuring tape)

Picture hangers (double-sided tape for concrete walls)


       Air freshener 

Poster Sticky tack / 3M hooks /  command strips 

Filing cabinet/ trunk or something that locks

Food/ Housekeeping Items 


 Paper towels

Trash bags (Some large and some to line wastepaper can)

Plastic storage bags

Food-storage containers


All-purpose cleaner and dust rag

hand soap dispenser (If there is a sink in your room!)

Dish soap

Sponge and cloth for drying dishes

Disinfectant wipes

1 or 2 bowls, plates and cups

1 or 2 coffee mugs

Water bottle

Silverware (just one or a few sets of fork, knife and spoon) 

Can/bottle opener, sharp knife, small cutting board

coffee filters

       chip clips or clothes pins

Some ideas for dorm room snacks and microwaveable food items:

lemonade mix, tea, coffee, hot chocolate

steel cut oats, pasta, rice, easy mac, potatoes (can be microwaved)


baked goods from home :)

Peanut butter


salt, pepper, oil

crackers, granola bars, beef jerky

Toiletries and Shower Items

Shower caddy / tote

Shower shoes (flip-flops)

Shampoo and conditioner

Body gel or bath and face soap, travel soap container

Toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash and dental floss

       Toothbrush holder (Especially if room has a sink)


Hairstyling products

Hair dryer/straightener/curling iron

Razor and shaving cream

Lotion and/or facial moisturizer

Cotton swabs




Nail clippers

       Glasses and Sunglasses 

       Contacts, contact lens solution and case

                 Dental retainer

Medicine/ First Aid



Pain/ fever relievers (i.e. tylenol, motrin, aspirin)


Antidiarrheal medicine

Cough drops

Adhesive bandages, elastic "ACE" wrap

hydrocortisone cream

antibiotic ointment such as Bacitracin or Neosporin

Prescription medications

bug spray



Under garmets  – 2 week supply (Who wants to do laundry every week?!)

Socks – 2 week supply 

Pajamas or sleepwear

Robe (It can be a long walk down the hall to the shower!)

Slippers and/or flip-flops

Pants / jeans / shorts

Shirts / blouses / t-shirts / long sleeved t-shirts / sweaters

Sweat pants and sweatshirts, yoga pants, active wear

Light/heavy jackets (raincoats, fleece …)

Gloves /scarf /hat (and other foul-weather gear as needed)

1 pair of boots (snow or rain boots, depending on local climate)

2 pairs of sneakers or comfortable/walking shoes

1 or 2 sets of business-casual/ formal clothes 

1 pair of dress shoes

1 swimsuit (& goggles, etc)



Luggage: backpack, carry-on, duffle bag or suitcase, trunk

Sports equipment (skis, bike, helmets, …)

       Sleeping bag

Musical instruments 

First aid kit

Mini sewing kit and safety pins

Flash light


Prescriptions for medications, glasses, contacts (filled and written down)

Daily planner / calendar


       Playing cards and / or board games

       Favorite books ( Small amount as time and space will be limited!)


Check book and bank info and debit card

Driver’s license, auto insurance card

Passport and Social security # card

Health insurance card

Health history information

Family/ friend contact information

Doctor/ dentist/ eye doctor / physical therapist etc. contact information

A favorite stuffed animal

Knickknacks and posters (Remember that space is limited!)

Photo CD, photos on computer and/or prints/ posters of family/friends

Have these things easily available for arrival:

       University Information and Admission information paperwork, 

       Map/directions to campus and a map of campus.