Living By Yourself For The First Time? Here's A College Dorm Packing List!

Part One in our ‘Going To College’ Series! Moving off to college for the first time is both an exciting and frightening time in the life of a young adult. Living in a dorm room is an experience unlike any other and there is a lot for a student and his or her parents to think about before the big move is made. A dorm room may come furnished, and it may seem like there’s not a lot a student could need in such a small space, but there’s actually a lot that the student needs in order to turn the dorm room into a home.

moving into dorm Living By Yourself For The First Time? Here's A College Dorm Packing List!

This list is a great place to start but make sure you personalize it to fit your needs.


Your dorm room will come with a bed. Check with your school to find out the size because many dorm beds are extra-long which means that the bedding you’ve been using at home probably won’t fit on your new bed.

  • sheets – often your college will specify ‘extra long single’
  • pillowcases
  • pillows
  • blankets
  • comforter
  • stuffed animals? You’d be surprised how many people bring their favorites along!


Though the bathroom will probably be down the hall, you’ll want to bring all your own supplies along with you. A portable shower caddy can help you keep your toiletries in order while allowing you to easily bring them back and forth from your bedroom to the shared bathroom.

  • bath towels
  • hand towels
  • washcloths (or loofah / shower sponge)
  • robe
  • flip-flops (Hygiene tip: wear these in the shower to prevent the spread of bacteria and fungus such as athlete’s foot!)
  • shampoo and conditioner
  • body wash
  • face wash
  • acne wash/cream
  • tooth brush
  • tooth paste
  • dental floss
  • mouthwash
  • small cup
  • hair brush/comb
  • hair dryer
  • curling iron
  • lotion
  • mirror
  • razor
  • nail clippers
  • shower caddy – key for hauling all your shower stuff in and out of shared bathrooms!

First Aid

Your school will have a health center to visit if you get sick or injured, but you will want to have your own supplies handy for colds, allergies and bumps and scrapes.

  • A first aid kit
  • pain reliever
  • antacid
  • vitamins
  • prescription medications


Laundry facilities will be located near your dorm room, but the busy life of a student may make it difficult to make it down to the do the laundry often. You’ll want to make sure you have enough clothes to get you through two solid weeks without having to go laundry. Make sure you research weather if you’re moving to a new area as well so that you know what kinds of clothes you’ll need in different seasons.

  • laundry bag / hamper
  • detergent & drier sheets
  • hangers

For the Room

  • alarm clock
  • fan
  • reading lamp
  • photos, posters, and other decorations to make the room feel like home

Study Supplies

  • computer and all the necessary cables and power cords
  • surge protector
  • printer with extra cartridges
  • printer paper
  • back pack
  • white board
  • cork board and push pins
  • calendar
  • pens, pencils, markers, highlighters
  • file cabinet
  • file folders
  • extra notebooks and lined paper
  • post-its
  • index cards
  • scissors
  • ruler
  • glue
  • calculator
  • envelopes and stamps


Though you’ll likely have a shared kitchen and a meal plan, you may also want to do some light cooking on your own. Make sure you have some of your favorite snacks on hand to help you get through those late-night study sessions as well as lots of healthy snacks. If you plan on cooking, make sure you find out what facilities the dorm has and pack accordingly.

  • a couple sets of plastic dishes and silverware
  • a couple plastic cups
  • coffee mugs and a travel mug
  • plastic containers
  • dish soap

dorm students eating pizza Living By Yourself For The First Time? Here's A College Dorm Packing List!

Have anything to add? We’d love to hear from you!

You might also Like