Dorm Packing List – What to Bring to College Dorm Room

Are you going to college?

If you’re an 18-year-old freshman-to-be in the middle of packing up your room for college then you should read entire article. I think it is safe to say that thinking about college is exhilarating, to say the least. From finding out who your new roommate will be to figuring out what things you should bring to college…it’s hard not to get caught up in the excitement. While you’ll probably get consumed with YouTube tutorials and Pinterest projects, coming with ideas to make your dorm room look better than the rest – there are a few essential items you’ll need to bring to college with you that you might overlook.


You really only have space for three pieces of furniture in your dorm — your bed, desk and desk chair — and only one of those is comfortable enough to double as a couch. Be sure to confirm the size of your bed in advance so you know what kind of sheets to buy.

  • Comforter
  • Sheets
  • Pillow(s)
  • Mattress pad (optional)
  • Mattress topper (optional)
  • Duvet Covers (optional)
  • Towels
  • Washcloths/ Lufa
  • Extra blanket (it gets chilly in the dorms!)
  • Sleeping bag (for when your friends sleep over… they’ll thank you for it)


  • Hangers
  • Storage bins (you’ll need at least a couple to put under your bed!)
  • Bed lifts (optional if your dorm allows them… most dorms have beds that can be adjusted!)
  • Hooks (for towels, purses, jackets, scarves)


Your parents won’t be around to stock the supply closet with everything you need for a trip to the bathroom. If you have community showers in your dorm, shower shoes are a must — trust me!

  • Cotton balls
  • Cotton swabs
  • Toothpaste
  • Toothbrush/ toothbrush heads (if you have an electric one)
  • Floss (if you use it)
  • Mouth wash
  • Face wash
  • Hand soap
  • Bar soap/body wash/shower gel
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Body lotion/hand lotion
  • Razor/razor blades
  • Shaving cream
  • Nair or Veet (if you use that)
  • Deodorant
  • Toothbrush holder (if you think you’ll need it… I kept my toothbrush in an over-the-door organizer so I didn’t use one)
  • Soap dish (if you will be using bar soap to wash your hands)
  • Shower caddy/shower shelves (the showers in my dorm didn’t have shelves so I bought some to put in the shower. It was a huge help! If you don’t have your own bathroom then you obviously won’t need them. Get a cute shower caddy instead!)
  • Shower curtain, bath mat (if you have your own bathroom!)
  • Bath robe
  • Tampons, pads, liners
  • Shower shoes (if you’re using a communal bathroom… most people I know just used an old pair of Old Navy flip flops)
  • Perfume, body spray


  • Mousse
  • Hair spray
  • Heat protector spray
  • Gel
  • Bobby pins
  • Hair clips
  • Brush
  • Hair ties (many, many, hair ties)
  • Headbands
  • Blow dryer
  • Straightener
  • Curling iron/wand


  • Nail polish
  • Nail polish remover
  • Nail file
  • Nail clippers


  • Makeup bag
  • Chapstick/lipstick/lipgloss
  • Mascara
  • Eye liner
  • Eye shadow
  • Eyebrow pencil
  • Primer
  • Moisturizer
  • Foundation
  • Concealer
  • Powder
  • Blush
  • Brushes
  • Makeup remover/makeup remover wipes


  • Toilet paper, baby wipes (if you’re living in a suite)
  • Paper towels
  • Tissues
  • Disinfecting wipes
  • Shower cleaner, bathroom cleaner (suite style)
  • Lysol
  • Toilet brush, plunger (suite style)
  • Air freshener
  • Broom + dust pan
  • Swiffer (if your room is big enough)
  • Vacuum (if there’s going to be a rug in your room… you’ll need it)
  • Mop + bucket (if you decide you want one… we never used ours)
  • Garbage bags
  • Garbage can (one for your side of the room, and one big one for the common area if you’re living in a suite)


  • Lamp (the lighting in our dorm room was super harsh so we bought a lamp and we LOVED using it. It made the room so much more homey)
  • Fan (my roommate can’t sleep without the noise of a fan so we had one blowing at night… but at times it got really hot in the room and we needed it for cooling purposes!)
  • Christmas lights (seriously… you need them)
  • Full length mirror for door
  • Area rug (if you want one)


  • Drying rack (I used mine a LOT)
  • Laundry basket (I had 2… one laundry bag and one basket. I kept my dirty clothes in the bag and used the basket to take my clothes to the laundry room)
  • Laundry detergent
  • Stain remover (you’ll probs need this)
  • Iron, ironing board (if you think you’ll need it… we never used it)
  • Dryer sheets
  • QUARTERS (if your washers and dryers take quarters… at Temple we were lucky enough to be able to use our IDs to pay)


  • Desk lamp
  • Calendar
  • Light bulbs (for your desk lamp and your bedroom lamp!)
  • Dry erase/bulletin board (my roommate and I used the bulletin board to tack our schedules up so we knew where the other was during the day!)


Coffee makers, toaster ovens and stoves take up space, and some dorms prohibit them. Mini fridges are an exception, but make sure to check with your roommate first to ensure he or she doesn’t bring one, too.

  • Laptop
  • Laptop charger
  • Laptop carrying case (if you use one… I just use my backpack)
  • Extension cords (you’ll need multiple)
  • Power strips (at least 2, probably)
  • Cables if you want to set up an ethernet connection with your laptop
  • Printer and ink cartridges (Temple has a lot of printers but there were a lot of times where I found myself finishing up a paper late at night and had no way to print it… having my own printer was a lifesaver many times)
  • Flash drive (if you still use one… most times you’ll just be emailing papers to yourself or saving it on Google drive or Dropbox)
  • TV
  • DVD player
  • DVDs
  • Alarm clock/iHome
  • iPhone cases
  • Mini fridge (if you need one)
  • Microwave (if you dorm doesn’t already have one)
  • Video came console
  • Video games


  • Batteries
  • Umbrella (highly recommend a bubble umbrella if you’re going to college in the city… cities are WINDY)
  • Mini tool kit (you probs won’t need this after move in day but it might be nice to have in case of an emergency)
  • Sewing kit (never used one of these but if you think you will, go for it!)
  • Flashlight (to be honest, I never needed to use a flashlight… there’s one already on your iPhone)
  • First Aid Kit (this one is important… make sure you have extra bandaids and Neosporin)
  • Duffel Bag (for those all-important trips home or when you head over to your friends dorm for a sleepover!)
  • Books (don’t bring too many… you probably won’t have time to read)
  • Wall decor… pictures from home, art prints, posters, etc. You know what you’re decorating your walls with.
  • Refillable water bottle (THIS one is important. I didn’t have one before coming to Temple but I bought one on my first day. There are so many filtered water stations around campus and I love having my refillable water bottle with me at all times!)
  • Raincoat
  • Rain boots
  • Blender bottle (if you have one/if you work out)
  • Camera
  • Board games/playing cards (basically, just bring Cards Against Humanity and a deck of playing cards)
  • Bug spray
  • Beach towel (you’ll probably want this if you’re planning to do any sort of grass lounging outside)
  • Bike/bike lock (if you want to bring your bike)
  • Ziplock bags (can be used for so many things…)
  • Jewelry: earrings, rings, necklaces, bracelets, watch
  • Tin foil/saran wrap (to store the leftover pizza I know you’ve ordered to the dorm… pizza boxes don’t fit well in a mini fridge)


  • Backpack/tote/purse/whatever you use
  • A few envelopes with stamps on them (just in case)
  • Push pins
  • Glue


  • Acne cream
  • Aspirin/Advil
  • Ibuprofen
  • Eye drops, glasses, contacts, contact solution
  • Ice pack (if you’ll have your own fridge)
  • Retainer
  • Allergy medicine
  • Vitamins
  • Birth control (pills, condoms, whatever you use)
  • Any other medication you might need


  • Popcorn (for movie nights!)
  • Granola bars (this is usually all I eat for breakfast so I loved having these in my room)
  • Easy mac (for the nights you just don’t feel like leaving the dorm)
  • Ketchup
  • Snacks


  • Student ID
  • Bank information/checks
  • Debit card
  • Credit card (if you have one… I don’t)
  • Cash
  • Gift cards (if you can use them somewhere at or near campus)
  • Driver’s license
  • Medical insurance card
  • Social security card (or at least have the number memorized!)


  • Heavy winter coat
  • Hats/gloves/scarves
  • At least one professional interview outfit
  • Lots and lots of socks & underwear


You are welcome to do so, but there are some things to keep in mind. Tapestries may be no larger than 4’x6′ and any pictures or posters should be affixed to the wall in a way that doesn’t cause permanent damage (with Sticky Tack, for example). Plants are allowed, as are rugs (4’x6′ or smaller is best, given the size of the rooms).