Are you getting ready to head off to college? With so many things to think about, packing can be overwhelming. But fear not! We’ve compiled the ultimate college packing list to make sure you have everything you need for your new adventure.
Packing is such an important part of going away to school! You want to make sure you don’t forget anything and that you have all of the basics so that you can start this new chapter feeling confident and comfortable.
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The Ultimate College Packing List
First things first, to kick off this ultimate college packing list we need to make sure you have the essentials. This includes bedding, towels, toiletries, and clothing. Don’t forget to bring a few pieces of formal wear for any events or presentations you may have. And don’t worry about packing your entire wardrobe – you can always buy more clothes once you get there, or get more from home during the holidays.
When packing for college, it’s important to remember the essentials. These are the items that you absolutely need to have in order to live comfortably in your dorm room. Here are some sub-sections to help you organize your packing list:
Your dorm room will most likely come with a twin-sized bed (Twin XL Size), so make sure to bring bedding that fits that size. Here are some items to consider bringing:
1) Sheets (2 Sets)
Pro Tip: We recommend bringing at least 2 sets. When you’re washing and drying one, you can use the other. Also, it’s always good to have an extra set. Things can get damaged and you need to be prepared.
This sheet set from Amazon is really highly rated! With close to 350,000 positive reviews they have been tried and tested by A LOT of people. With over 40 colors available, you can match your sheets to whatever aesthetic you envision for your dorm. Being under $50 you can’t go wrong with this set.
2) Comforter or duvet
To make your bed comfortable a duvet/comforter is a must! Typically dorm beds are a Twin XL size (however confirm this with your college).
With over 105,000 positive reviews, this comforter is a popular choice! It comes in white in a twin Xl which can be covered with a colorful comforter cover (see our picks below)! It can be machine washed and is under $30 which is an amazing price for a comforter.
3) Comforter/Duvet Cover
An easy way to add some color to your dorm room is through a comforter/duvet cover! You can also opt for white if you prefer a cleaner look!
This comforter set is under $30 and comes in 29+ colors! With over 85,000 positive reviews, it’s a really popular option. It comes with a comforter cover and a pillowcase cover.
Comforter Covers with Designs
If you’re more into patterned duvet covers, check out Dormify! They have a wide range of trendy comforter covers that will really add some personality to your dorm room!
4) Pillows (2-3)
Dorms typically do not provide pillows, they only provide a mattress, therefore you need to bring your own set! We suggest 2 – 3. Specifically, 2 for your bed and a third in case you need a replacement!
These are great starter pillows for a dorm! Unlike memory foam, they can easily be popped into the washer and dryer, which makes cleaning a lot easier. They are made from breathable cotton and cooling technology for your best sleep!
5) Mattress pad
A mattress pad is A MUST for a dorm room. Dorm beds are incredibly uncomfortable (trust me, mine was awful). That’s why you need to bring a mattress pad with you so you can get a great sleep.
Splurge: Memory Foam Topper
Memory foam is always the most expensive option however it also usually offers the most comfort. Since it will adapt and form to your body, you’re guaranteed to get a great sleep. This mattress also comes with straps to help it stay in place on top of your mattress.
Budget: Quilted Fitted Mattress
A more affordable option is a quilted fitted mattress topper. This topper is super popular with over 90,000 positive reviews! It’s a great option for a dorm given the price point.
If you want to raise your bed, getting a bed skirt can help you hide the risers and any storage. I personally raised my bed on milk crates and didn’t have a bed skirt. It was a huge eyesore but I survived! If I could redo that first year I would have purchased a skirt to hide everything going on under there.
7) Throw Blanket
For extra comfort and warmth, consider getting a throw blanket for your bed! Not only are they stylish, but they’ll also make your room extra cozy. When I was in University I would visit friends dorm rooms a lot and bring my throw blanket with me!
Amazon has a lot of throw blankets for really affordable prices! Our favorite is this cozy waffle knit. It comes in a wide range of colors and it’s a great price.
For blankets with more patterns, check out Dormify. They have some really cute designs that would really add a really cute vibe to your dorm room:
Additionally, Urban Outfitters has a lot of fun throws and tapestries that are really trendy! You can hang them on your wall or use them as a throw.
8) Bedside Table
If you have room in your dorm, a bedside table is a great addition! Not only does it help with storage it provides a great place to put a fan or a lamp.
We recommend checking out Dormify for bedside tables. They have a wide range of sizes and styles.
If you have some room, this 3 drawer cart on wheels is the perfect addition to your dorm! It can easily be moved around the room and provides so much additional storage.
If you find your dorm to be quite small, consider this smaller version.
Even though this nightstand isn’t as large as some other options, it still has three drawers and can hold a desk lamp.
9) Bedside Organizer/Tray
If you don’t have any room for a bedside table in your dorm there are other compact solutions that will keep you organized.
This bedside caddy is so discrete and can hold a lot of personal items right on your bed!
If you prefer a table style, then a bedside tray is a wonderful option. These are great if your bed is raised off the floor.
10) Floor Pillows
Floor pillows are a wonderful option for additional seating in your dorm room. I spent a lot of time sitting on the floor when I was in University and I wish I had purchased a floor pillow, it would have made things so much more comfortable!
11) Room Fan
When it comes to dorm rooms, you usually don’t get a lot of air circulation, especially if your dorm windows are small. That’s why having a small compact fan can provide you with some nice cool air while still fitting on your desk or even attaching to your bed!
Clip-on fan with rechargeable battery
A clip-on fan is another great option since it can be attached pretty much anywhere including your bed!
Dorm rooms can get really loud. That’s why having earplugs handy are great! These are also helpful when you’re trying to study in your dorm and you can’t focus.
Okay we’re going to get real in this ultimate college packing list, bathroom anxiety happens. I personally experienced it when I went to university. Especially if you’re in a new place, around new people. A trick to help you feel more comfortable is Poo-Pourri. It’s a great product that can mask natural smells.
2) Shower Shoes
If you are using a communal shower, shower shoes are a MUST. There’s a lot of gross things going on in those showers and you want to protect your feet.
Pro Tip: Get shoes with some grip. Unfortunately, a lot of Colleges do not consider putting in floor grips and it can get really slippery especially when you exit the shower.
2) Shower Caddy
When using a communal shower, a shower caddy is a must. You need to have a way to bring your items to and from the bathroom easily! Your caddy should be big enough to store all your essentials like shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, face wash etc. This particular one from Amazon has a ton of space and can be hung up.
3) Towels (2-3)
When you go off the college you need towels. We recommend bringing 2-3 sets. That way you have a set when one’s in the wash.
This set comes with 6 towels: 2 Bath Towels, 2 Hand Towels and 2 Washcloths. It also comes in 14 different colors so there’s a lot of variety! They’re made from 100% Turkish cotton and are super soft!
3) Hair Dryer
Compact Hair Dryer
If you’re looking for a small compact hair dryer, this Revlon one will fit in small spaces.
Revlon One-Step Hair Dryer
I personally use the Revlon One-Step Hair dryer every time I dry my hair and can’t recommend it enough. It gives you the perfect blowout every time.
4) Hair Wrap
Hair wraps are such a great invention! They get your hair out of your way when trying to head back to your dorm room after a shower.
5) Towel Wrap
A towel wrap is an amazing thing to bring to college with you since it helps you cover up going to and from the bathroom! You don’t get a ton of privacy in communal dorms but a towel wrap can help you feel more comfortable after a shower.
6) Makeup Case
Staying organized is so important in a small space. That’s why having a makeup case to keep all your products in is essential when living in a dorm. I have this exact makeup case and love it! It has so many compartments that can be changed in size to fit everything you own.
7) Makeup Mirror
Dorm rooms have the worst lightning! The bathrooms can be even worse, that’s why bringing your own makeup mirror that you can set up on your desk can help a ton when getting ready for a night out!
You’ll want to make sure you have all the toiletries you need to stay clean and healthy. Here are some items to consider bringing:
- Toothbrush (pack) and toothpaste (pack)
- Dental Floss
- Shampoo and conditioner
- Soap or body wash
- Face wash
- Razors and shaving cream
- Feminine hygiene products
- Hair Ties
- Nail Clippers + Tweezers
- Pain Medication + Antacid
- Hair Brush
- Lip Balm
- Sunscreen (Face + Body)
- Nail Polish + Remover
- Cotton Balls + Q Tips
- Dry Shampoo
Storage & Organization Essentials
Dorm rooms are small, so it’s important to have storage solutions to keep everything organized. Here are some items to consider bringing:
1) Under-bed storage containers
If you decide to raise your bed, it gives you a ton of additional storage! We recommend purchasing some clothing cubes to keep everything neat and tidy.
2) Over-the-door hooks
Over-the-door hooks are a must! Dorm rooms never come with any hooks so this is an easy way to add some in. You’re going to need hooks for your jacket and wet towels.
3) Closet organizers
Closet space is always so cramped in a dorm. This hanging organizer can help you maximize space.
This is the best invention! If you have a lot of things that can hang up, these will help you save so much space.
Dorms don’t provide you with hangers so make sure you bring your own. I personally love the felt ones, they help grip onto your clothing so nothing slips off.
4) Desk organizers
Most dorms come with a desk, which can get messy really easily. This organizer can help you keep all of your school supplies clean and in order.
7) Shoe Rack
When you go to college you typically bring a lot of shoes with you! That’s why having a shoe rack is a must. This is also something you can potentially ask your new roommate if they want to share.
8) Command Strips & Hooks
Command hooks are a must when wanting to hang up pictures and items in your dorm room without leaving a mark and having to pay for damages!
9) Over the door Mirror
Dorm rooms don’t come with mirrors, therefore bringing your own full-length one is a MUST!
Going off to College means taking over some adult activities like doing your own laundry! Ask you’re college what type of detergent is compatible with their washing machines before purchasing.
2) Clothing Dryer Rack
A lot of clothing needs to be air dried, that’s why having a clothing rack is a must. Additionally, sometimes all the dryers are being used so having a backup is always a good idea.
3) Laundry Hamper
To keep your dorm room clean, a laundry hamper is needed. Get one with handles for easy transportation.
In today’s world, electronics are a must-have. Here are some items to consider bringing:
- Laptop or tablet + Charger
- Phone and charger
1) Power Strip
You’re going to have a lot of things to plug in, from your laptop, phone, fan, table lamp and the list goes on. Investing in a good powerstrip can make sure everything is plugged in at once.
3) Portable Charger
Don’t get stuck in between classes with no phone because it died! Bring a portable charger with you so you can charge it always.
4) Lap Desk
I personally love working from my bed and in University I did this all the time! That’s why I highly recommend getting a bed desk. That way you can finish all those assignments in comfort.
5) Flash Drive + External Hard Drive
The worst thing to happen in college is your computer crashing and losing all your work. If you have an important assignment, make sure you back it up on a flash drive or external hard drive. You’ll thank me later!
External Hard Drive
6) Portable Speaker
A portable speaker is a must for hanging out, parties and just chilling in your dorm room.
7) Light Therapy Lamp
Dorm rooms can be SO dark, which can make it hard to wake up for early classes. An easy way to help with this is with a sunlamp. We’re loving this one in particular because it also has an alarm clock and slowly turns on when your alarm goes off, mimicking a sunrise.
8) Dorm Safe
Theft can happen, which is why having a safe in your dorm is always good idea.
When it comes to packing for college, the kitchen is an important area to consider. You’ll want to make sure you have the essentials to prepare meals, store food, and keep your space clean. Here are some key items to include in your college packing list for your kitchen area.
1) Mini Keurig Machine
This wouldn’t be the ultimate college packing list without addressing coffee. Coffee is a must when you’re in University or College! All those late nights and early classes require a lot of caffeine. A small luxury to add to your dorm is a Keurig machine. This model is super compact and is less than $100.
***Remember to bring your favorite coffee mug!
2) Mini Fridge
Before purchasing a mini fridge it’s important to understand how much room you have in your dorm. I personally had a lot of room for a mini fridge but it just depends on your room configuration!
3) Water Filter
Staying hydrated is so important and an easy way to do this is with a water filter always in your room. I had one and it really reminded me to drink water.
4) Plate and Cutlery Set
Sometimes you won’t be eating in the cafeteria. Or you might take something to go. That’s why it’s important to have a good Dinnerware set. This one is seriously so cute!
5) Small Microwave
Depending on the dorm’s rules and regulations, some allow a small microwave which is great for meals on the go. Confirm with your dorm if you’re allowed to bring one.
This 32 Oz water bottle comes in 32 different colors and will help ensure you’re drinking water all day long!
Having a stash of snacks in your dorm room can be a lifesaver during late-night study sessions or when you’re running low on meal plan swipes. Some good options to consider include granola bars, trail mix, popcorn, and fruit cups. Just be sure to also have a small trash can nearby to dispose of any wrappers or empty containers.
In addition to a mini-fridge and appliances, it’s important to have containers for storing food. Consider getting a variety of sizes for leftovers, snacks, and meal prep. Ziplock bags and plastic wrap can also come in handy for storing smaller items and keeping food fresh. Don’t forget to label your containers with the date and contents to avoid any confusion.
1) Food Storage Containers
I actually personally own this set of containers and they’re excellent quality! They’re freezer safe making them the ultimate food storage hack!
2) Zip Lock Variety Pack
You never know when an emergency may arise, so it’s important to be prepared. Make sure you bring a first aid kit with you.
1) Basic first-aid kit with band-aids, gauze, and antiseptic wipes
Keeping your dorm room clean is important for your health and well-being. Here are some items you’ll want to have on hand:
1) All-purpose cleaner for wiping down surfaces
Cleaning wipes make disinfecting so fast! They’ll also stay fresh for a long time as long as your make sure they’re sealed properly.
2) Microfiber cloths for dusting and cleaning
Microfiber cloths are a game changer when it comes to cleaning. They easily lock on to dirt and dust making it faster to clean up.
3) Trash can and liners for easy disposal of waste
Everyone needs a trash can, but why not make it cute!
4) Handheld Vacuum
Bringing a vacuum with you is a great idea. Some dorm rooms (like mine) have carpet which gets dirty really fast! Even if yours has tile or linoleum having a handheld vacuum can make cleaning up quick.
5) Broom and dustpan for keeping floors clean
For those hard to reach spots, consider using a broom.
- Dishwashing Soap
- Paper towel
- Dishwash Sponges
- All-purpose spray cleaner
When it comes to clothing, it’s important to pack for all types of weather and occasions. Here are some items to consider bringing:
- T-shirts and tank tops
- Sweaters and sweatshirts
- Jeans and pants
- Shorts and skirts
- Athletic wear
- Underwear and socks
- Shoes + Boots (sneakers, sandals, dress shoes, etc.)
- Formal Wear
- Business Casual Outfit
- Outdoor Jacket
- Party Clothes
Everyone needs a backpack! This one comes in a wide variety of colors for whatever you style may be and is very durable!
An umbrella is something a lot of students forget to pack! Make sure your prepared for your first rainy day.
There are some important documents you’ll need to bring with you to college. Here are some items to consider bringing:
- ID (driver’s license, passport, etc.)
- Health insurance card
- Bank account information
- Social security card
- Any important school documents (transcripts, financial aid information, etc.)
If you take any prescription medications, make sure to bring enough to last you until your next doctor’s appointment. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Pack your medications in their original containers with the prescription label.
- Bring a copy of your prescription with you in case you need a refill.
- If you have any over-the-counter medications you use regularly, such as allergy medicine or pain relievers, bring those as well.
When it comes to school supplies, it’s important to be prepared for all of your classes. Here are some essential items to add to your college packing list:
A planner is a great way to keep track of assignments, due dates, and appointments. Make sure to write down all of your important dates and deadlines.
- Sticky Notes
To make the ultimate college packing list, you may have your own personal miscellaneous items, so make sure you go through all your things and write down anything random you might want to bring. Below we’ve shared a couple of things you may not thing of.
1) Deck of Cards
I know it sounds old school but I can’t tell you the amount of times I used my deck of cards in College, especially during Parties. Most people don’t think to bring them so having a pack can come in handy!
2) Small toolkit
You never know what might need quick fixing in your dorm room so having a tool kit can come in handy!
This wouldn’t be the ultimate college packing list without dorm decor. It’s one of the most important things to bring since it can make your dorm feel like home!
Where to buy dorm decor
There are so many places that have great dorm decor options that are really trendy! Below we’ve rounded up our top four. All of these options have varying price points so we recommend coming up with a budget before shopping so you don’t go overboard.
Pro Tip: Ask to see a photo or go on the dorm’s website before shopping so you have a better idea of the configuration! That way you know what you have room for.
Your one-stop shop for all things dorm! They have everything from bedding to removable wallpaper! If you’re not sure what your personal vibe is, they have a ton of example rooms and a room creator where you can see what everything looks like put together!
Urban Outfitters always has a wide range of trendy dorm decor that would like amazing in your room! From candles to tapestries they have a lot of little items that are sure to add some personality!
Pottery Barn Teen has a wide range of decor items that are perfect for your future dorm room. From college students to high school students, all teens will find something they love at Pottery Barn Teens. I shop at pottery barn frequently and absolutely love the quality of all of their furniture and decor items!
Amazon has such a wide range of decor items at affordable prices which makes it a great place to shop for dorm decor! Also if you have prime delivery it’s so quick!
If you’re looking for inspiration on how to decorate your dorm, check out our related blog post:
1) Throw Pillows
A great way to bring a little color into your dorm is with throw pillows! Dormify has a wide range available and always releases new and trendy designs.
A great way to bring some personality into your dorm room is with posters and all art! Use sticky puddy or tape to attach them to your wall to ensure no damage.
3) String lights
String lights bring a little bit of magic into your dorm room and are so pretty at night.
4) Galaxy Light
A galaxy light is a great addition to any dorm room! It’s such a fun thing to look at, at night and it’s really calming.
5) Room Rug
If you want to make your dorm cozier a rug is the way to go! There are so many rugs from Dormify that will fit perfectly in your new space.
If you’re looking to make your dorm look more like your room at home get a headboard! There are tons of options with built-in USB ports so you can charge your phone from your bed.
7) Curtains + Rod
To finish off the ultimate college packing list we have curtains! Dorms can be built pretty close together, which is why curtains are sometimes needed for extra privacy.
Time for College!
Congratulations! You have successfully packed for college using the ultimate college packing list. By following this list, you should have everything you need to start your college journey off on the right foot.
Remember, this list is a starting point. You may need to add or remove items based on your personal preferences and needs. Don’t forget to check with your college for any specific requirements or restrictions.
As you settle into your new home away from home, take some time to get organized. Use your packing list as a guide to make sure everything is in its place. This will help you stay on top of your studies and enjoy your college experience to the fullest.
We hope this ultimate college packing list has been helpful to you. Best of luck in your college journey!
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