Type to search

College Advice Featured MyDorm Blogs Top Rated

Dorm Checklist – College Packing List 2023

DormEssentials January 2, 2018

When you’ve enrolled in a college or university, it’s time to prepare to check off a college dorm checklist of what you need to have in your dorm or other living quarters while at college. This Dorm Essentials blog covers our recommended college packing list. Remember to check ahead of time with your housing and roommate to ensure you don’t bring duplicates of larger items, or items that may be prohibited. Our Dorm Essentials college packing list includes:

Kitchen Essentials Sleeping Essentials Housekeeping Essentials
Bathroom Essentials Living Essentials Living Essentials (Consumables)
Essential Electronics Room Accessories School Essentials

To make it as easy as possible to cross off your dorm checklist, you can check the boxes next to each item online, or print out the entire page and cross them off with a pen! To make it easy to get anything you're missing, item titles have been hyperlinked to our favorite amazon dorm essentials affiliate links! If you aren't a prime member already, make sure to take advantage of what Amazon has to offer, such as a 6 month free Amazon Prime Trial for Students - and get two day shipping for almost all the items below! After you've gotten the essentials, make sure to check out our top tens for favorite college and dorm items!

 Dorm Kitchen Essentials

  1. Mini Fridge: Keep your drinks cold, or leftovers secure to be eaten the following day.
  2. Freezer: Frozen meals or desserts are just a few feet away with a freezer.
  3. Microwave: The king of dorm cooking, making Trader Joes frozen meals and top ramen.
  4. Air Fryer: The queen of cooking and heating your own food (check if allowed!).
  5. Electric Kettle: A go to for getting boiling water for teas and ramen.
  6.  Dishware & Utensils: Key to eating leftovers or quick meals hassle free.
  7. Glasses: No matter if you’re drinking mixed drinks or water, you want shatterproof glasses.
  8. Water Pitcher with Filter: You can never have enough water- filtered pitchers are key.
  9. Coffee Maker: For the morning class or tests that require the extra wake-up.
  10. Can Opener: A lot of college food is found in cans, so have one ready.
  11. Paper Plates: Stay tidy when sharing a pizza around the dorm or just eating a snack.
  12. Plasticware: There will be many guests; plasticware offers a quick way for them to snack.
  13. Food Storage Boxes: For the times you have or find leftovers.

Dorm Sleeping Essentials

  1. Cozy Soft Throw Blanket: This is your best friend in the dorm, keeping you warm and snugly.
  2. Multiple bed sheet sets: Numerous liquids will inevitably be spilt on your bed; bring extra.
  3. Mattress Cover: Most dorms provide a mattress; get a soft (waterproof/bugproof) cover to protect it.
  4. Mattress Topper: Most dorm mattresses are hard, adding a soft foam topper helps.
  5. Extra Pillows: Pillows are great all around a room or in the bed as seats.
  6. Extra Pillow Cases: The same way you bring multiple bed sheets, bring a few extra pillow cases.
  7. Body Pillow: The body pillow is a fan favorite of the drunk and tired.
  8. Comforter: A cozy comforter for your regular sleeping.
  9.  Bed Shelf: A bed shelf provides access to essentials while in bed.
  10.  Headboard: A optional headboard turns a dorm bed into a throne.
  11.  Soundproof Curtains: With windows, curtains block light and sound for better rest.

Dorm Housekeeping Essentials

  1. Paper Towels: The best friend in cleaning any and all of your dorm messes.
  2. Ziploc Bags: There are many things you will want to bag up, so having these ahead of time is great.
  3. Trash Bags: Get bags the right size for your trash cans, they double as vomit catchers.
  4. Disinfecting Wipes: The fastest way to clean your dorm furniture and things is a quick wipe.
  5. Disinfecting Spray: For those looking for a more intense clean, disinfecting spray will help.
  6. Handheld Vacuum: From dropped food crumbs to crash, a vacuum keeps your dorm tidy.
  7. Dorm Storage: Make more room and organize the dorm room.

Dorm Bathroom Essentials

  1. Shower Caddy: Keeping all your shower supplies portable is needed in a dorm shower.
  2. Toothbrush case: When not brushing your teeth, a sanitary stow-away is needed.
  3. Nail Clippers: Keeping yourself trimmed and free of talons will keep future companions happy.
  4. Robe: The robe makes the walk from dorm to shower in style.
  5. Towels: Towels are great for drying yourself… and spills and the dorm.
  6. Shower Shoes: Flip flops are the sanitary way to traverse the dorm showers.
  7. Toothbrush: Buy multiple, it’s easier to get a new one than to try .
  8. Toothpaste: Whitening and sensitive recommended.
  9. Floss: Just do it, or at-least pretend to like when you tell the dentist.

Dorm Living Essentials

  1. Laundry Hamper: Between washes, you need somewhere to keep the dirty clothes.
  2. Hangers: You can never have enough hangers in your closet.
  3. Flashlight: Power outages occasionally occur, as well as the late night exploration.
  4. Safe: A dorm safe will ensure your valuables are locked away.
  5. Umbrella: Even if it doesn’t rain, an umbrella provides great sun protection.
  6. Bottle Opener: A dorm room staple.
  7. Lighter: Another dorm room staple.
  8. Desk Lamp: Key for late nights of reading, studying, or just gaming.
  9. Desk Mirror: Key for getting ready before nights out.
  10. Jewelry Organizer: Great for handy makeup and jewelry on your desk.
  11. Scissors: Because one pair will get borrowed and lost.
  12. Tape: From temporarily hanging things on your wall to marking things, tape is a common need.

Dorm Living Essentials (Consumables)

  1. Earplugs: Trust us, there's going to be times when you want to escape from the noise and sleep.
  2. Protection: It’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.
  3. Pepper Spray: Walking back to the dorm or your car can get sketchy - protect yourself.
  4. Hair Product: Whether it’s gel or a volume spray, this will help you feel your best.
  5. Makeup: For day to day confidence or nightly glamour.
  6. Lint Roller: Whether you visited pets, or are headed to an interview – getting lint free is key.
  7. Detergent: Dorms generally have shared washing machines, so bring your own detergent.
  8. Dryer sheets: With shared dryers, remember to keep extra sheets for others.
  9. First Aid Kit: Always have a standard first aid kit ready.
  10. Cold Medicine: You or dorm mates will inevitably get sick; having cold medicine is key to recovery.
  11. Stomach Medicine: Whether it's from the burrito you ate late last night or just general nausea.
  12. Sun Screen: For music festivals, days outside, or sunny days in general, sun screen is healthy.
  13. Kleenex: For the good times and the bad, the sick times and the healthy.
  14. Tampons: Because biology doesn't always play fair.
  15. Energy Drinks: Whether it's to amp up before a night out, or to stay up for studying.
  16. Stress Relievers: When midterms and finals comes around, you'll be looking to re-find your zen.
  17. College Snacks: From sweet treats to salty and filling snacks to help give you energy.

Dorm Essential Room Accessories

  1. Whiteboard: Great for keeping track of self-notes, assignments, and other important dates.
  2. Hanging Frame: Great for hanging up the many memories you will make during college.
  3. Desk Lamp: Key to studying or reading late into the night without waking your dorm mates.
  4. Trash Can: You will find that you can never have enough of these.
  5. General Mood Lighting: Bring a unique atmosphere into your room with functional lighting.
  6. General Decorations: From decorative pictures to hanging tapestries, make your room unique.
  7. Lasers: Turn your dorm into a club quick and easy.
  8. Dorm Flags: Represent your mood and vibes with college wall flags.
  9. Fan: It may get hot where you live, a cool breeze is always appreciated.
  10. Space Heater: If allowed, a space heater will keep you and others warm.
  11. Chair: Your dorm is bound to receive guests, so an extra chair allows them to sit (or sleep).
  12. Ottoman: If you want to combine a chair and storage, consider an ottoman.
  13. Area Rug: Dorm floors are commonly bare and cold, your feet will thanks you for a dorm rug.
  14. Space Savers: Space savers are key to fitting all your checklist items neatly into your dorm.
  15. Party Supplies: Because college is meant for the good memories.
  16. Board Games: For the nights in that should still have the laughter of nights out.
  17. Air Mattress: For the visiting friends or drunk party goers who will be crashing at your dorm.

College Essential Electronics

  1. Computer Monitor: You’ll enjoy the bigger display for both entertainment and productivity.
  2. Computer Keyboard: You’ll be a faster at typing with a dedicated keyboard.
  3. Computer Mouse: A mouse is far more precise than a trackpad, in case you only have a laptop.
  4. Printer: Don't rely on the library or floormates for printing assignments.
  5. Laptop (if you don’t have one, or need a new one): Portable, recommended over a desktop tower.
  6. Tablet: Recommended for classes where you want to keep digital notes or track along with slides.
  7. T.V.: For Netflix and chill, or just entertainment.
  8. Smartwatch: To track your wellness goals during college.
  9. Speakers: For bumping party music, bringing a movie to life, or just good vibes.
  10. Extension Cords / Power Strip: For ensuring you are powered (subject to your dorm policy).
  11. Over Ear Headphones: From droning out the neighbors to keeping focused in the library.

College School Essentials

  1. Backpack: You'll need this for all the goods you'll carry around, from books to booze.
  2. Pens: For those still note taking or doing other forms of writing on a notebook.
  3. Mechanical Pencils: For all the scantron tests to come your way, without the sharpening hassle.
  4. Notebooks: For the teachers that don't allow laptops, a notebook is a great way for quick notes.
  5. Graphing Paper: For those more inclined to use a standardized grid.
  6. Flashcards: Making these is a great way to socialize and study with friends.
  7. Graphing Calculator: The staple calculator for college STEM classes.
  8. Non-Graphing Calculator: Some classes do not allow or require graphing calculators.
  9. Portable Phone Charger: Never run out of juice in class or in the library.
  10. Flash Drive: For moving files and presentations to print or present.
  11. Hydro Flask: Fill up around campus and stay on top of class - and the last nights hangover.
  12. Online School : You never know when a class turns online, so be ready.

Is there anything we missed? Make sure to let us know in the comments below!

Find this content useful? Support us by checking out our other hand curated top 10 lists!


  1. Ryan Dufol February 26, 2018

    Just bought abunch of these on Amazon. Thanks for the links and the reminders!

  2. Jacob Johnson July 16, 2018

    Lol captions are hilarious, but I’m pretty nervous about moving into the dorms. Thanks for making this checklist, took a bit of stress off my shoulders.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *