The ESSENTIAL College Packing List | Dorm Stormer

The Only College Packing List You’ll Need

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Packing for College Can be Easy

Making a packing list for college might seem overwhelming at first, which is why we’ve taken the time to compile a list for you! When you’re thinking about packing for college it can be easy to pack more than you need, but remember, you’ll likely be living in a dorm or a small space, and will be living with others who are also bringing things, things you can potentially share to save some space, and still have enough room to hang out in your new place!

You might think it impossible to live without all the creature comforts you have at home, however, moving to your new small space with just the things you need, means you can spend less time cleaning or tidying up and more time having fun and focusing on your studies. Using a college packing list helps you be more efficient!

Checklist for packing for college

Tips for Packing for College:

  • Most likely you’ll have a roommate, talk to them in advance, see what you can share. If there are things you’re willing to share with your roommate, that opens up a lot of space in your dorm.
  • Think about where your college is versus where you’re coming from when you’re packing. Maybe you’re moving from the midwest to a southern school, or from the east coast to the PNW. If you are moving out of state, be sure to do some research to find out what kinds of clothing you’ll need. Whether you’ll be ditching winter jackets or adding in rain gear, you’ll thank yourself for preparing for long walks through campus!
  • It might seem obvious, but try to start your packing well in advance, we recommend at least a month. By packing for college in advance, you can think about it day to day, allowing you to consider what you must-have.

Packing the Right Bedding

Before you head off to college, make sure you know exactly what size bed linens you’ll need. Whether you’re moving from full size to a twin or your regular twin bedding won’t work with your extra-long mattress, you’ll want to make sure what you pack will fit.

  • Bed sheets
  • Mattress cover
  • Comforter
  • Pillows
  • Extra blankets

Choosing Decorations & Furniture

Even though dorm rooms are small spaces, they’re spaces you get to call your own! When you’re packing for college, don’t forget the fun part, decorating your new home.

You’ll need some basics, check with your college to see what will already be there. Things like comfortable seating, lamps, and decorations to make the dorm feel homey.

  • Desk lamps
  • Bed lamp
  • Fan
  • Wall hangings – Tapestries, posters, and photos are a great place to start! Check with your school about what you’re able to hang on the wall, some schools have rules regarding fabric, for fire safety, as well as how you’re allowed to hang your decorations.
  • Rug
  • Microwave
  • Mini refrigerator
  • Coffee maker
  • Push pins and/or hanging supplies
  • Storage items
  • TV – this may be something you share with your roommate
  • Portable speaker
How to pack for college

Packing Clothing for College

When you’re thinking about what to pack for college, think about where you’re going to be living, and also if you’ll be traveling. Is your college located somewhere similar to where you’ve been living? Will it be raining a lot? Snowier? Warmer? All things to consider!

Your college packing list might need to include swim trunks for a spring break trip, skiing equipment for a ski club, or hiking boots for a weekend road trip to the mountains. Chances are you might not have time to run back to your parent’s house before a trip, so it’s best to be prepared when you’re working on your packing list!

  • Tops
  • Bottoms
  • Underwear (and bras)
  • Socks
  • Jackets – lightweight, rain, winter
  • Swimsuit
  • Pajamas
  • Shoes
  • Boots – winter or rain
  • Warm layers – gloves, hats, scarves, etc
  • Clothing hangers
  • You’ll also want to consider bringing at least one special occasion outfit for events.

Do you Need Kitchen & Cooking Supplies?

It’s important to check with your college while you’re packing to see what items are allowed or banned, some colleges allow hot plates and microwaves, others have stricter rules.

  • Microwave safe plates
  • Microwave safe bowls
  • Cups
  • Coffee mugs
  • Silverware
  • Water bottle
  • Can opener
  • Food containers
  • Scissors
  • Food – Once you’re all moved in, you’ll probably be starving! It can be fun to go out right away but just in case you’re exhausted, make sure you’ve brought along some small, non-refrigerated foods you can snack on right away.

Bathroom Essentials

One thing that can be hard to get used to when you’re moving to a dorm is the bathrooms. We promise you will get used to sharing, but having the right setup makes things a lot easier!

  • Shower caddy
  • Shower shoes
  • Bath towels x 2
  • Hand/face towels x 2
  • Mirror for in your dorm
  • First Aid and health – medications, pain relievers, neosporin, bandaids, feminine care products, cough drops, etc.
  • Glasses or contacts and solution
  • Daily items
    • Toothbrush and toothpaste
    • Floss
    • Mouthwash
    • Hairbrush
    • Shampoo and conditioner
    • Body and face wash
    • Razor and shaving cream
    • Nail clippers
    • Cotton swabs
    • Lotion
    • Hair products
    • Styling tools
    • Makeup
    • Loofah

School Supplies

When you’re thinking about what to pack for college, it’s easy to get caught up in what you’ll need daily in terms of fun, comfort, and cleanliness. However, you can’t forget the number one reason you’re going to school, to study!

People organize and study differently, so everyone’s school-related college packing list will look a little different!

  • Laptop and charger
  • Backpack
  • Pencils
  • Pens
  • Highlighters
  • Notebooks
  • Folders/binders
  • Staplers/paper clips
  • Calculator
  • Sticky notes/tabs
  • Organizational accessories

Cleaning Supplies

When you’re packing for college, it’s easy to forget that your move-in ready dorm room will need to be cleaned sooner than later.

  • Laundry detergent
  • Laundry basket
  • Dusters
  • Cleaning wipes
  • Paper towels
  • Trash bin
  • Trash bags
  • Dish soap
  • Sponge


Whether you’d like to pack a football to toss on campus, a skateboard to get to and from class, or you’re favorite gym equipment you’ll be glad you brought a few extra items with you.

  • Umbrella
  • Tool kit
  • Gym bag, yoga mat, or equipment
  • Bike, bike lock, and helmet
  • Earplugs and sleeping mask
  • Luggage or duffel bag
  • Important documents – whether you need your passport to go abroad, your medical card for a doctor visit, and of course your ID
  • Fun extras – things like a soccer ball, deck of cards, boardgame, gaming consoles, headphones etc.

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