The following is a comprehensive list of items you will need for your dorm room. Before starting to pack, check with the university and your prospective roommate to see what will be provided in your dorm room so you can avoid duplication. By making sure you have all your items neatly categorized, you can make unpacking and getting settled a fun event rather than a chore.

Main Items

You might need a mini-fridge, toaster and microwave as well as a few dishes for when you eat in your room. You may also need a fan, mirror, lamp and curtains or blinds.  For entertainment bring a TV, stereo or DVD player. A bulletin or message board can provide a means of communication between yourself and your roommate, as well as a place to display photos and store important information.

Your Bed

You should have two sheet sets with matching pillowcases. Many dorm beds are ‘extra-long‘, so be sure to check before purchasing sheets. Two pillows, a mattress pad and comforter or blanket are also necessary. Use bed risers to add storage space for an under the bed bin and take a sleeping bag for emergencies or sleepovers. A small light that clips onto your book is useful for reading at night without disturbing your roommate.

Your Bathroom

Four towels and two washcloths should be adequate. Pack a toiletry kit – make sure this is big enough to neatly store all your items. If you put everything away neatly after each use, you will never have a conflict with a roommate over ownership. A separate shower tote is a good idea; this can store shower shoes as well as your shampoo and other ‘wet’ items. Don’t forget your hairdryer!

Clothing  and Laundry Items

Don’t overdo. Closet space is usually at a premium, so consider leaving half your wardrobe at home. You can plan to switch some of your clothing out over Thanksgiving break to rotate your winter wardrobe in. Consider carefully which clothes you do take and avoid too many ‘dry clean only’ items. Buy a laundry bag or hamper, and a basket, and a tote to carry detergent and other necessities in when you go to the laundry. Choosing neutral colors for your bath and bed linens will help make laundry day run more smoothly. Remember to take an iron or steamer as well, and plenty of hangars. An over the door shoe holder is a wonderful space saver, as are plastic storage bins or drawers. Buy a little sewing kit to make simple repairs like sewing on buttons.

Your Desk

Your dorm may have a desk and bookcase; if not, you will need to provide them. A lamp and wastebasket should be purchased along with whatever office supplies you may need. A drawer organizer will keep small items from becoming jumbled, and a power strip with surge protector will guard your computer against information loss in case of a blackout. If your dorm does not supply one, you will need a chair as well.


A good alarm clock with battery back-up is essential, as is a small first aid kit, a flashlight and extra batteries. A camera, small tool kit and tape measure are all good things to have. A binder for important papers and contact information can also hold doctor’s prescriptions, bills and receipts. A ledger for budget planning is also a great idea and will help you manage your money.

Once you have decided what items you will need in your dorm room, packing and moving can be accomplished with ease. Label your cartons as you pack and keep a corresponding list so you can find things quickly. By following these simple tips, you can make your transition to campus life easy and fun!