Last Updated on May 9, 2021 by Jessica Reid
If you’re looking for the ultimate college dorm packing list, you’ve come to the right place.
I lived in the college dorms all four years of college and have learned everything a college student needs to have a comfortable and functional home away from home.
Here is everything you need to make your dorm complete:
Best Bedding Packing List:
This section is a pretty straight shooter. You can keep your bedding super basic or you can add a ton of pillows and beautiful sheets that represent you to make it more comfy and homey. It’s totally up to you.
- Twin (XL) bed sheets
- Twin bed cover (twin long if available)
- Pillow covering
- Mattress Pad
- Throw over
Bedding Highlight: Mattress Pad
Dorm mattresses are known for being super tough. For this reason, I highly recommend that you get this mattress pad to soften your bed. Mattress pads are super effective in making your bed feel super soft and if you get the right one, can help you go to sleep faster.
I personally believe the more cushion the better, that’s why I like this one so much!!
This pad is 3 INCHES high, which means you won’t feel that tough mattress underneath.
Best Desk Packing List:
Most dorm desks have a flat top with drawers below for storage, and they are just big enough for a few items and space for you to work.
My advice is to keep the top simple with a desk lamp, a pencil holder for your pens, pencils, and highlights, and sticky notes. With a full load of classes, you’ll have plenty of assignments and books to keep your desk full!
- Desk Lamp
- Desk Organizer
- Trash bin
Desk Highlight: Desk Organizer
One thing that you definitely should consider buying for your dorm room is a desk organizer. Dorm desks are pretty small and can start feeling pretty cluttered after laying down a few pens, notebooks, and notepads.
With this desk organizer, however, you’ll always have a place to put your pens, notebooks, notepads, keys, and anything else that you can think of. I have one for my desk and its LIFE!!! I put all the school supplies that I use the most is this organizer, so I’m never hunting down my room or within the desk’s drawers for what I need.
Plus, I literally feel less stressed out when I have all my supplies tucked away.
And can we talk about this color for a sec!! This rose gold color is so gorgeous!!! It will definitely look good on your desk.
Best Bathroom Packing List:
The bathroom is another great place to express yourself and your style. You can go minimalistic, crazy, nostalgic, or chic with the shower curtains by picking up something unique at Amazon.com or keep it basic by picking up something neutral at Target or Wal-Mart.
I had a roommate who transformed her bathroom into the city center of London!
It was absolutely beautiful!
There were London phone booths everywhere. Anyway, have fun with it and don’t forget to bring the basic bathroom essentials below with you.
- Toothbrush case
- Face Wash
- Hand Soap
- Hand lotion
- Shower Caddy
- Hair Shampoo
- Hair Conditioner
- Hair ties
- Body Wash
- Toilet bowl cleaner
- Shower curtains
- Toilet Paper
- Paper Towel
- Hair unclogger
- Bathroom rugs
- Over the door hooks
- Bathroom wall rack
- Blow dryer
- Makeup bag
- Suntan lotion
- Hair remover
- Women razor
- Mouth wash
Bathroom Highlight: Shower Caddy
Buying a shower caddy for your dorm is a must. Depending on the dorm room your choose, you’ll be sharing the bathroom with up to three other girls which means limited space for your much-needed bathroom supplies.
This shower caddy however makes it easy for you to have everything you need in one place and tow them back and forth when your ready to use the bathroom.
To avoid my roommates from using my body wash (yep, some girls took without asking), I kept my caddy in my closet and pulled it out when I was ready to use. This shower caddy definitely made my bathroom trips easier!!
Best Cleaning Supplies Packing List:
I don’t know why, but my freshman year, not one of my 3 roommates brought cleaning supplies for our dorm.
(I guess it wasn’t on their college dorm packing list lol).
Unsurprisingly, they weren’t the biggest cleaners either.
I was the only one that came prepared.
For this reason, I would advise you not to show up to your dorm hoping that your roommates brought cleaning supplies with them unless of course, you guys had a conversation before-hand.
Instead, come prepared with these essential dorm cleaning supplies. Then when the cleaning supplies run out, you can ask one of your roommates to replace them and take turns buying supplies from there.
- Clorox Wipes
- Swiffer wipes
- Dust Pan
- Ajax/Bleach (cleaning shower)
- Tub scrubber
- Lysol Toilet bowl cleaner
Bathroom Highlight: Lysol Toilet Bowl Cleaner
Now, you may be wondering why on earth am I highlighting toilet bowl cleaner. Good question! Because this Lysol Cleaner is more than just a great toilet bowl cleaner!! It is the BEST shower cleaner, BEST wall corner and edges cleaner, and an awesome shower tile cleaner.
This product is SO powerful that it could literally get any stain out and clean any surface, which is super huge to me because I hate having to spend hours in the bathroom scrubbing.
With this thing, I can squirt the Lysol on the areas that need it, walk away for 10 minutes, come back and WIPE. It literally makes cleaning so much easier. It’s definitely a must-have for your dorm.
Best Laundry Packing List
This section is pretty short and basic because you don’t need too much to have everything you need to do your laundry.
Just the basics.
One thing that I HIGHLY RECOMMEND, however, is that you get is a laundry cart!!!
You do not want to have to lug 40 pounds worth of laundry across the haul or a long street to the laundry room.
I made that mistake and it was the most tiring, agonizing experience ever.
Make it easy on yourself by getting a cart you can push (with handles on the side if you have to go up or downstairs at any point.)
- Laundry detergent
- Laundry softener
- Laundry cart
Best Kitchen Packing List:
This section is the second most extensive one on this college dorm packing list and one section you want to get right so you don’t come up missing something while you’re cooking.
I just have one big tip that I hope you take with a big bag of salt (because it’s just that important)…
When you are shopping for dinnerware, I highly recommend you buy 1-2 plates, forks, knives, spoons, cups, and bowls.
You do NOT need a complete set of silverware and dinnerware. You’re just one person.
I made the mistake of buying a complete set of silverware, 4 cups, 4 bowls, and 4 plates, and because I was just one person, two of my plates, cups, bowls, and two sets of silverware never saw the light of day.
It was such a big waste of money.
If you are want to buy extra dinnerware because you want to host dinners at your dorm now and then, buy paper plates instead.
No one likes to wash dishes at a party or a “Friendsgiving” anyway and you shouldn’t be stuck washing dishes after hosting.
- frying pan
- big deep pot
- a few large wooden spoons
- a couple of forks, knives, and spoons
- a couple of plates, cups, and bowls
- Silverware dividers
- a complete set of variety-size Tupperware
- paper towel
- dish soap
- dish sponge
- baking pans
- potato peeler
- can opener
- cutting knives
- garbage bin
- garbage bags
- measuring cups
- cutting board
- Pizza pan
- Ziplock bags
- Trash bin
- Cooking seasonings
- Brita water pitcher
- Stove cleaner
- Kitchen mats
To make your dorm shopping as stress-free as possible, click here to download my FREE ultimate college dorm packing list so you don’t forget a thing! It’s includes everything I needed and used all four years of college!
Kitchen Highlight: RubberMaid Tubber Ware
This is the tubber ware set that I bought for my dorm and loved it!! You get SO much product for your buck. You get:
- 2 massive bowls to store pastas, rice, soups, and salads
- 4 medium large bowls to store your other lunch and dinner left overs
- A bunch of tiny tubber ware to store dips, salsa, and snacks, and
- 6 meal prepping bowls that is small enough to fit in your bag and take on the go with you.
Plus these bowls are microwave safe and are airtight, so no leakage ever! I highly recommend that you this for your dorm! You’ll seriously be so happy you did.
Below are some other must-haves that are essential in making your college dorm complete.
The ones that I used the most when I lived in the dorms were: the long mirror, bed rug (cuz my dorm room floor was always icy cold), dorm slippers (for the same reason lol), command hooks, lint roller, and headphones.
One thing that I regret not buying for my dorm and would have absolutely used was the 6-pack outlet strip.
It was such a nuisance pulling out my phone charger to push in my computer charger and vice versa.
Having a 6-pack outlet strip allows you to charge everything at the same time.
- Long Mirror
- Dorm slippers
- Lint roller
- 6 outlet power strip
- Hand sanitizer
- Command Wall hooks and hangers
- TV (optional)
- Printer (optional)
- Printer ink (optional)
- Rain boots
Miscellaneous Highlight: Extension Chord
Until college dorms start building rooms with three electrical sockets, packing an extension chord for your dorm will always be a must. It will be SO annoying having to pull out your phone charger or your computer because the other device needs to charge or taking turns using the outlet with multiple students at school.
This chord will ensure you don’t ever have to do that. I have this one and I love it.
I was super skeptical to use it at first because some extension chords don’t charge my devices as fast as when they are plugged directly in the wall. This one proved my skepticism wrong!
This one charges my devices just as fast without overheating them. I also love that this extension chord comes with usb outlets too. I never have to worry about buying a second chord to accommodate my charging needs.
Best Closet Packing List:
The closet is the shortest on the college dorm packing list and pretty self-explanatory.
You can’t have a closet without hangers lol.
What you do with your closet after that, however, is completely up to you and will depend on how many clothes, shoes, and accessories you bring to college.
If your closet is small and you would like more space, then I’d highly recommend that you get a closet storage organizer at Target/Walmart (limited options) or Dormify.com (unlimited options).
- Hanging Fabric Storage Organizer
- Closet shelves
Closet Highlight: Closet Storage Organizer
This is another item I highly recommend that you pack for your dorm room. Unfortunately, dorm closets do not come with a lot of storage space so having a closet storage organizer that can create more room is super helpful.
As you probably know, jeans can take up a lot of space so I love folding my jeans and storing them away in this organizer. It’s also great for purses, dressy shirts, and shoes.
Of course, you can use your closet storage organizer however you like!
Best Medicine Cabinet Packing List:
I am guilty of completely forgetting to buy anything for my medicine cabinet my freshman year and I don’t want you to make the same mistake or keep making that mistake (if you’re upperclassmen).
Below are your must-have college dorm medicine cabinet essentials.”
I promise that you will absolutely need these products.
You can check out why in this post.
- Pepto Bismol
- Cough drops
- First Aid kit
Medicine Cabinet Highlight: Pepto Bismol
While you should pack every item above for you medicine dorm cabinet, the most important one you should pack is Pepto Bismol, especially if this is your first year of college. As the new freshman on campus, it is so easy to get carried away by all the food on campus (as I did), the party food you endlessly run into, and the constant invitations you’ll receive from friends to grab a midnight meal at the local diner.
And with those experiences comes so many situations where you might get sick to your stomach. As such, you’ll want to have this Pepto Bismol handy.
It is literally the best upset stomach relievers ever. Within 30 minutes, it gets rid of nausea and settles the stomach so you don’t feel pain or discomfort anymore.
Storage Packing List:
Last but not least, you’ll want to get at minimum 1-2 storage bins or storage drawers for your textbooks or any miscellaneous items that you have and don’t have a perfect place for.
Dorm rooms are quite small, so it’s so important that you optimize your space by having a bin or two to put your extra stuff.
- Storage bins
- Storage drawers
These storage bins are the best ones to buy. They’re big enough to fit lots of books or clothes, but small enough to fit under your bed and in your closet.
These were the ones that I had in the dorms and I absolutely loved them. I packed all my political science books in the first two bins and placed all of my seasonal clothes in the other bins. There was always enough space for everything and they were super easy to move.
Finally, I love that these ones are see through. It makes it so easy to figure out which bin I stored a book or clothing without peeling off all the lids.
And that’s all!
If you get everything on this college dorm packing list, you will have everything you need to have a successful college dorm move-in day.
Be sure to download the complete college dorm packing list printable below. It’s Free.
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