Get Ready for College with our Ultimate Dorm Room Checklist (+ Free Printable)

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Make shopping for dorm room essentials easier! Use our FREE and printable college dorm checklist for students!

College Packing List Hip2Save

Get ready for college move in day with this Dorm Room Essentials Checklist!

Print out this free college dorm checklist of all the dorm room essentials you’ll want to grab and take for when you move into your college dorm! Although every campus offers different amenities and has different rules, it’s SO much easier to remember the college dorm essentials when you have a list like this! From shopping to packing, this list can make sure you don’t leave any important items behind!

printable college packing list

To customize this college dorm checklist:

  • Select only the college essentials that you want from the list below.
  • Click on the Print icon at the bottom of this post.
  • Print a list with just those items!
  • Use it as a shopping list or college packing list and check off your items.

Now if only paying for college were this easy! 😅

college dorm room supplies on display in Target store

Where can I find the best college dorm essentials?

While we never say no to a great store (or sale), check your local Dollar Tree, Walmart, Target, Kohl’s, and of course, Amazon. Some stores will even ship your dorm essentials directly to your college!

Hip Tip: Check with your specific college or university about what is (and is not) allowed, what is (and is not) provided, and what to expect when you get there. Many schools even provide the dimensions for dorm rooms, beds, and windows to give you a good idea of the sizes you’ll need!

Bed & bath dorm room essentials:

store shelves with new pillowcase sets and sheet sets in bags

Bed risers or blocks (for more under-bed space)

Toiletries (shampoo, toothpaste, etc)

Office & desk college essentials:

Student browsing dorm room essentials like laptops

Printer (if not using computer lab/print center on campus)

Printer paper (if bringing a printer)

Camera (if not using cell phone)

School supplies (pens, pencils, paper, etc)

Dorm room essentials:

Get ready for college with this back to school moving checklist – assortment of window and desk fans

Dorm cleaning & laundry supplies:

Tide HE 64-Loads Liquid Laundry Detergent

Cleaning supplies (dish soap, etc)

Quarters (if no laundry card)

Dorm kitchen & household items:

The Home Edit Bento Box Food Storage Containers 3-Pack

Travel coffee mug (for taking to class)

Hot pot or coffee-maker (if allowed)

Microwave (if allowed)

Small fridge (if allowed)

Other important documents:

checkbook and pen closeup

Insurance cards

Credit/Debit/Prepaid card

List of emergency contacts

Social Security card

Bank info/checks

Miscellaneous college essentials:

Duracell AA Batteries which are on the college dorm checklist

College Students Get a FREE 6-Month Amazon Prime Membership. Yes, really! 

About the writer:

Misty has been writing professionally and creating engaging, helpful content in the online marketing space for almost two decades. She’s skilled at finding ways to save money and believes you can still enjoy life (and treat yourself) while living on a budget. When she’s not writing up the latest and greatest deals for Hip2Save, she's either indulging in creative DIY projects, rewatching a favorite comedy series for the 20th time, or traveling and exploring new places.

Join The Discussion

Comments 17

  1. Dee

    Having hauled my daughter’s stuff up 8 flights of stairs last fall, and had to move her out early this spring during a two hour window because of the pandemic, I would go as minimal as possible with whatever you buy/move into dorms this year. Invest in the bed and whatever matters the most. If your student spends time studying in the dorm (some don’t) then a good desk chair is a must.

  2. Toni Potts

    My oldest is a senior in college. She lived in a dorm the first 3 years. This year she got an apartment and all of her classes are online. My middle is a freshmen and just cancelled her dorm since all of her classes are online. Both girls attend larger universities in Michigan. My daughters are very self sufficient packed themselves. They are extremely light packers. We might have had 3-4 totes. I just had to drive and help unpack. Usually made a trip to Walmart to pick up a few extras. My son has a few more years at home. I have a feeling he would with just the clothes on his back. He would even forget his toothbrush.

  3. Mama2Nine

    My oldest moves to college next week. Most universities are asking that students only bring needed items bc of covid. Preparing early for shut down.
    We have only one hour during his time slot to move him in-only two family members allowed.
    Each kid is different…. my friend rented a uhaul and took three loads to move her kid to college last week.
    My kid will barely fill my suburban and he’s not happy taking that much. 😂

  4. kmark

    Highly recommend going to dollar tree and picking up the smaller items there( trash cans, cleaning supplies, dish towels, utensils, plastic bins, coffee things, snacks, spices, paper products, etc ). They have smaller versions of name brand items that are much easier to store and tote up flights of steps on move in to at least get them started!! I FILLED a small trash can from dollar tree with dollar tree items for my cousin for his dorm and he said it was the most useful and convenient items he had and loved it. Plus it’s cheap!! Highly recommend! Also when moving clothes it’s easier to use a trash bag and bag clothes from the bottom up while they hang and leave the hangers on! No packing and unpacking required! Just hang em when you get to the dorm and youre good to go!

  5. TS

    I iron something about once a year and that is often a craft project. It has nothing to do with age. Many people simply wear clothes that don’t demand ironing.

  6. DJ

    I would add a small air purifier and deodorizer.

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Thanks for the suggestion, DJ!

  7. amy

    half the things you buy, they won’t use. focus on a mattress pad, some hangers and basic school supplies. i a nice laundry bag as well, with some quarters.

    • Jessica (Hip Sidekick)

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts on what you prefer to purchase for college, amy! Sure appreciate it! 💓

    • Amy

      When I lived in the dorm nearly 20 years ago the washers and dryers didn’t take quarters even back then. The student ID was used to pay for nearly everything on campus, which was convenient, and I’m sure even more common now!

  8. alaskajoy79

    It will be minimalistic for my college guy. That’s Just way too much.

  9. Tara

    Thank you for this great list!!

    • Collin (Mrs. Hip)

      You’re welcome, Tara! 💞

  10. Auntie

    When a student is a freshman it is normal to go overboard! HOWEVER, strongly advise to stick to the basics/essentials moving in. Dorm space is limited and they have to share. After they’ve settled in, and a few weeks have passed, then either take them extra items, or transfer to money to purchase, or have items delivered. Right now family member is heading off in 2 weeks with too many bulky items on their Wishlist. It’s going t be a rude-awakening due to space limits.

    • Jessica (Hip Sidekick)

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts on what’s best to purchase before heading to the dorms, Auntie! 💞

  11. KellZoll

    I agree with Auntie. Some parents/kids get caught up in the excitement and go overboard. Definitely look at pictures of the dorm rooms and the specific college’s list before buying anything other than the basics. Don’t bother with top sheets unless you know they’ll use them. Most will be home for Thanksgiving and/or winter break and can swap clothing/shoes then. Or you can send them things they forgot a week or two after school starts and the mailroom has gotten its act together.
    Coordinate with roommates. With the exception of one mini fridge per person, they don’t need two microwaves, two coffeemakers/Keurigs.
    Hot plates, toasters, and toaster ovens were not allowed due to fire danger – check the school’s website.

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Thanks for these tips! Always good to think ahead and get specific advice per school. 🙌💕🎉

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