College Dorm Packing List: The Ultimate List of Dorm Room Essentials

This college dorm packing list is going to be your go-to while you're getting prepared to go to college and making sure you have everything you could possibly need for your freshman year!

Something to keep in mind is that this list is made to be adapted for your needs! If you're going to college in Southern California or Wisconsin, the clothing necessities are going to be a lot different!

I always recommend talking to family and friends who recently went away to college to find out what their favorite dorm essentials were. Another thing to keep in mind is that a lot of these things can be purchased after move-in day. It would be impossible to transport all of this if you were going out of state, but don't worry there will be a Target there too for you to get everything on this college dorm room checklist.

This college dorm checklist for freshman is SO helpful and straight to the point. We even have a college packing list PDF that college students highly recommend.

This post has the best college dorm packing list.




Your dorm bedding is one of the most important things to pack! Not only is it a great way to tie in decor, but it is going to be your retreat after long days of running around campus and staying up late studying. The mattress topper is seriously my most recommended college essential ever, not even a question, you need it. 



Everyone will tell you, don't bring too many clothes to college. I honestly think you CAN bring a lot of clothes, but be mindful when you're packing and think, will I really wear this? I also recommend packing for the specific season and switching clothes during breaks. 

  • underwear
  • socks 
  • jeans & pants
  • leggings
  • tops
  • sweats
  • sweatshirts
  • sweaters
  • comfortable clothes 
  • workout attire
  • jackets
  • "going out" outfits
  • pajamas
  • one business casual outfit for an occasional presentation
  • swimsuit(s)*
  • gloves/scarf/hat (if needed for cold weather)*
  • one pair of "party shoes" that can get trashed without worrying about them*
  • sneakers 
  • sandals/flip flops
  • slippers
  • one pair of boots (if needed)*
  • one pair of heels*
  • one pair of business casual appropriate shoes



Dorm decor was genuinely my favorite part of going to college. It's easy to overdo it when you are living in such a small space, but I also think people underestimate how good you can make your room look! I recommend bringing decor like printed photos that will remind you of home and showcase your friends and family. Also, having a plant will bring some life into the space and give you a responsibility besides yourself. 

  • desk lamp
  • wall calendar (paper or dry erase)
  • poster(s)
  • printed photos
  • area rug*
  • plant
  • full-length mirror
  • string lights*
  • letterboard*
  • peel and stick wallpaper*
  • curtains and tension rod*




I probably brought a lot more cleaning supplies to college than I actually needed. So after trying everything out, here's what you will really use! The mini vacuum is SUCH a game-changer, everyone always wanted to use mine. Also, please do not be that person with an iron and an ironing board in your dorm room. Downy wrinkle releaser spray will be your best friend! 

  • multipurpose spray
  • mini vacuum
  • lysol wipes
  • air freshener
  • trash bags
  • trash can
  • paper towels
  • laundry basket/bag
  • laundry detergent 
  • wrinkle release spray
  • lint roller
  • dryer sheets
  • stain remover stick*
  • delicates/lingerie bag*



Do not get carried away with kitchen stuff and mini appliances when you are packing for college. You are not going to have a kitchen in your room, and as much as you think you will be cooking in the community kitchen, trust me, you won't. Also, make sure to ask. your roommates what they plan on bringing to you don't end up with two Keurigs. Last, make sure to check out your dorm building’s website (or give them a call) to see if certain items are provided or allowed.

  • mini fridge (check to see if the building provides this or not) 
  • microwave (check to see if the building provides this or not) 
  • tupperware
  • coffee maker*
  • hot water kettle (if no coffee maker)*
  • toaster (if allowed)*
  • ziplock bags
  • microwave-safe bowl
  • cup(s)
  • eco-friendly paper plates
  • eco-friendly disposable cutlery
  • mug
  • water bottle
  • can/bottle opener
  • quick & easy snacks 



Something tells me I was thinking more about decorating than actually going to school because I completely forgot to pack school supplies (oops). You’re going to be spending a lot more time than you may expect with your head in the books, rushing to turn in your online assignments before 11:59 pm… it’s a struggle I know too well.

  • notebooks & composition books
  • stapler & staples
  • pens & pencils of choice
  • #2 pencils for scantrons
  • calculator
  • paper
  • folder(s)
  • binder
  • index cards
  • sticky notes
  • highlighters
  • tape
  • ruler 
  • stamps
  • envelopes
  • thank you notes



Now that literally, everything in college is online, there is no doubt that you will need quite a bit of electronics. Remember, these are just recommendations, so don't think you need to spend thousands of dollars! If your major requires some advanced computer programs, keep that in mind when purchasing your college laptop and/or tablet. 

  • laptop
  • tablet*
  • chargers
  • power strip
  • extension cord(s)
  • air pods or headphones
  • laptop case
  • portable phone charger
  • inexpensive bluetooth speaker*
  • mini fan



Yay, communal bathrooms (said nobody ever)! Okayy, they aren't that bad, but you will need a couple of extra things to make your trips to and from the shower a lot easier. Hopefully, this will also help you not to forget cold medicine (and all that good stuff) as I did, learn from my mistakes.

  • shower shoes
  • towel set (bath towels, hand towels, & washcloths)
  • towel wrap
  • mesh shower caddy
  • bathrobe
  • shampoo & conditioner
  • body wash & loofah
  • personal shower essentials
  • makeup wipes
  • skincare products
  • toothbrush/toothpaste/floss
  • hair styling products & tools
  • personal hygiene products
  • feminine products 
  • tweezers
  • nail clippers
  • nail file
  • q-tips
  • bandaids
  • nail polish & polish remover*
  • vitamins 
  • medicine: ibuprofen, antidiarrheal, antacid, cough drops, cold medicine, etc.



Dorm room organization is extremely important when you're living in such a small space. I brought a ton of organizational tools and I don't regret it one bit. Take advantage of the space under your bed, on the back of your door, and even at the bottom of your closet! 

  • space saving hangers
  • normal hangers
  • desk organizer
  • shoe rack
  • over the door hooks
  • storage ottoman
  • drawer organizers
  • three tier cart
  • storage bins



I wasn't even thinking about bringing this until my dad gave me a folder full of all of my important documents to bring with me to college (thanks dad). You're going to have to take care of yourself, and chances are you may need to access an important document. 

  • passport
  • car registration & insurance paperwork (if you're bringing your car)
  • copy of your birth certificate
  • copy of social security card
  • health insurance card
  • financial aid information



Knowing exactly what to bring to college is some of the best advice for college freshmen. These are some of the random items that I am SO glad I had in college. 

  • command strips & hooks
  • pepper spray keychain
  • lanyard
  • eye mask for sleeping
  • mini toolkit 
  • skateboard
  • gym bag
  • suitcase & duffel bag
  • games 
  • umbrella
  • sports equipment
  • disposable camera
  • tote bag
  • small purse(s) for going out


What should you not bring to a college dorm?

What not to bring to college: Pots, Pans, Full Dish Sets, irreplaceable keepsakes, large appliances, iron, extra bedding, a ton of books, and more

What should I bring to college dorm 2022?

There are a ton of dorm room essentials, but the most important ones are on this college dorm packing list 2022 college students swear by! I highly recommend downloading the printable college dorm room checklist to make sure you have everything you need!

What does a freshman girl need for college?

For a freshman girl specifically, I would recommend having cute "going out" outfits, fun dorm room decor, a pepper spray keychain, and a super comfortable mattress topper. And of course, this college packing list girl students love. 

Can I bring a TV to my dorm?

Usually, there should be no problem with you bringing a TV to your dorm. If you want to double-check, I would look at the dorm building's website, or call them and ask! Don't forget any cables, remotes, or special devices you need for the TV.

What do I need for a dorm checklist?

For your dorm checklist, I recommend using the BSL college dorm packing list printable. It's free, and it makes packing for college the easiest thing ever! 

What are some college essentials?

The BSL favorite college essentials are a 4" mattress topper, a mesh shower caddy, a 10' phone charging cable, a phone wallet, and a mini vacuum.

What food should I keep in my dorm?

Some of my favorite foods to keep in my dorm were granola bars, yogurt cups, mac n cheese cups, instant oatmeal, peanut butter, rice cakes, bananas, popcorn, soup, and other easy snacks.

How many pairs of pants should you bring to college?

This depends on where you are going to college. If you're going somewhere colder, I would say more than if you're going somewhere warmer. Make sure you have jeans, a pair of dress pants, lots of leggings and comfortable pants, sweatpants, and pajama pants.

This post featured the ultimate college dorm packing list. 

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