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.

And new for 2020: Don’t forget a collection of masks and hand sanitizer for your room, your backpack, your car….


Also check out:

25 Dorm Room Ideas and Shopping Tips

Back to College: The Essential Guide

10 Dorm Room Items They Will Actually Use

Parent Survival Kit for College Move In

College Dorm Room Checklist


This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click on a link and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. For more information, see the full disclosure in the foot bar.  

Dorm Room Bed

Two items I have neglected to put on the list (and are not on the pdf printout) because I had only sent boys to school until last year are a headboard and long bedskirt. A headboard is comfortable to lean on, dresses up the bed, and many come with electrical outlets in them. A long bedskirt is a matter of taste. It covers up all of the storage under the bed, but gets in the way of actually accessing any of the stored items.

Dormify carries both headboards and long bedskirts.


Dorm Bathroom




Cute and tidy desk top organizers will keep your things together without taking up too much space.

I have this exact set in my desk drawers at home. If you can get the measurements of the desk drawers ahead of time, you can plan what organizers will fit.

Cleaning Supplies


Food Area

These fridge carts are perfect for your microfridge. They are very sturdy and hold a lot of items. We ended up going to the Container Store and buying one for my daughter’s room when they realized they had no place to store their food.

Don’t forget K-cups and a mug if you plan to drink coffee in the room. This gift tag is also available in the Printables Library.


  • 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.)

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.)
  • Flashlight

To Make the Room Comfortable and Personal


Other Practical items

Absolute Must-Haves


See 25 Dorm Room Ideas and Shopping Tips to see what we bought and how we set up my daughter’s dorm room.

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.


The Dorm Shopping Checklist is TOTALLY FREE for members of the Almost Empty Nest Community!

The Dorm Shopping Checklist is part of the Almost Empty Nest Printables Library. Gain access by becoming an Almost Empty Nest Member. 

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