College Dorm Room Checklist
Getting ready to move to college can be scary and stressful, but shopping for the dorm room shouldn’t be. I have compiled a complete College Dorm Room Checklist to assist you as you navigate the aisles of the super store or order online.
I have stocked three kids with items to go to college and each one (especially my daughter as compared to my sons) has ended up with slightly different items at school depending on their tastes and desires
Your student most likely won’t need or want every item on the list, but the list will help you think about what they should bring.
And best of all, the list is printable!! The list is available in the Printables Library. You may sign up to access it below.
Also check out:
College Dorm Room Checklist
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Dorm Room Bed
Your bed is the most important part of your room. You will spend a lot of time there. It is not only where you will sleep, but most likely the most comfortable place to sit and hang out. It will be worth putting a good quality mattress topper and pad and good quality sheets on your college dorm room checklist. I also recommend a headboard especially one with plug-ins to give you an easy place to charge your phone.
- Twin XL Mattress pad
- Twin XL Mattress topper. This is the one we bought my daughter and she said it was awesome. Made her bed so comfy! Her dorm bed was a twin, which is unusual. Here is a similar one in a twin xl.
- Twin XL Mattress encasement
- 2 sets of twin XL sheets
- Twin XL Comforter
- Bedside shelf/pocket
- Bed risers (These are super cool with electrical outlets.)
- Headboard A headboard gives you something soft to lean against as often the main place to sit in a dorm room is on the bed. Many come with outlets and USB ports.
- Long Bedskirt If you loft your bed, a long bedskirt hides all of the items you are storing under the bed and gives the room a finished look.
The most important bathroom items for your college dorm room checklist are your towels and a shower caddy. Monogramming your towels is a nice way to know which ones are yours. You can also choose a favorite color or a color that matches your room.
For your caddy, make sure it has holes in the bottom. You do not want it to fill with water while you are showering.
- 2-3 Towel sets
- Shower shoes (Check out these awesome Showa-Flops. They are anti-microbial and have drainage holes.)
- Over the door towel rack
- Shower wrap towel
- Hair wrap towel
- A Shower Tote to carry your things to the bathroom (I bought this one for my son 4 YEARS AGO and he is still using it. He used it even when he was in a suite or apartment to hold his bathroom things.) My daughter chose this one.
You closet is another super important part of your dorm room. It will help if you can get the measurements of the closet. Most have a shelf in the top above the closet rod. I used to include a double closet rod on my college dorm room checklist, but the feedback I hear is that they fall and clothes end up on the floor.
- Hanging jewelry organizer
- Hanging organizer for sweaters, shirts, purses, etc.
- Shoe storage (Lots of choices – either a hanging shoe organizer or a shoe organizer for the floor of the closet.) My daughter preferred to buy some baskets to put her shoes in. No sense buying an organizer if it is going to be easier to pile your shoes in a basket.
- Make your own Cleaning Supplies Gift Basket with ideas and a free printable
- Small trash can for under the desk
- Larger trash can for the room
- Small or handheld vacuum
- Air Freshener
- All-purpose cleaner
- Plates, bowls
- Eating utensils
- Water bottles
- Travel mug
- Food storage containers
- Keurig coffeemaker
- Coffee pods
- Make them a Going Away to College Coffee Gift Basket for this area
- Refrigerator (Check with your school All of of my kids’ schools require a particular “micro-fridge.”)
- Ziploc bags
- Paper towels
- Fridge cart
- Hot pad
- Dish soap
These Elfa Rolling Carts with Drawers are the best place to put a fridge. It hold the rented microfridge just fine. When we set up my daughter’s room we initially did not have a cart, but went back to the Container Store to get one so she would have a place for her food. It saves floor space to have the micro fridge on top of a cart.
- Shelving unit
- Underbed storage
- Storage trunk
- Storage Furniture (These Poppin box seats support 275 pounds and can be collapsed when not in use. Our daughter used hers as a step stool for her lofted bed.)
- Drawer organizers
- Makeup organizers
- Over the door hooks (Great for jackets and coats)
- Stacking drawers (I LOVE these modular drawers that can be configured to meet your exact storage needs.)
- Elfa drawers (These are amazing, come in many sizes, can be customized and will last forever. We have had some of our Elfa units for over 20 years. They will go from your child’s dorm room to their first apartment to their first place after graduation and beyond. They are also great for packing in.)
The Poppin Storage Box is another item we went BACK to the the Container Store to get after moving my daughter into the dorm. Why? She needed a step to get onto her lofted bed and if you are going to get a step, you may as well store something in it. (Those beds are up there…. She is 5’8″ and still needed a step stool.)
Sadly, you will not have use of the entire bathroom counter and drawers in which to store your makeup. Real Acrylic (as opposed to cheap plastic) makeup organizers will last forever and give you a spot for your entire collection of makeup.
Health and Safety
- The Best First Aid Kit
- Prescription medications
- Health Insurance card
- Room safe (For jewelry, some prescription drugs, laptops, and other electronics that are easily stolen.)
- Computer lock (There is a tremendous amount of “opportunity theft” on college campuses. No fun to walk away from a laptop for a second and turn around and it is gone.)
- Surge protector (Fried electronics are not any fun either.)
To Make the Room Comfortable and Personal
- Throw blanket
- Magnetic dry erase board, markers, and magnets
- Bulletin Board (Minted will even custom make one.)
- Door stop
- Over the door mirror
- Command hooks (To hang what you want on the walls without damaging them.)
- Command picture Hanging strips
Other Practical items
- Tool kit
- Sewing kit
- Rain jacket
- Gym bag
- Reusable shopping bags (some cities charge customers for shopping bags)
- Weekend bag or duffle
- Bike lock
- Laptop computer
- Planner and Planner Accessories
- Personal bathroom supplies
- Enough clothing, socks, underwear to last a week
The first goal of dorm shopping is to purchase just enough items to comfortably set up a dorm room, but not more than you need. The second goal is to purchase just enough storage items to organize the above items, but not more than you need. Print the College Dorm Room Checklist. Take it with you to the store or use it as you order online.
Some college websites give the exact dimensions of dorm rooms, closets, and any other furniture in the room. If you have this information, take advantage of it, and plan out the room. If not, work with whatever information you have knowing that you can always go to the store or order additional items after you arrive.
If you have taken a child to college, share your advice about what to take, what to leave at home, and how to store it all in the comment section below.