Packing your Student for Dorm Life

The summer may be only half over officially, but stores are already advertising back-to-school items. For most parents, that means buying your children new pencils, folders and notebooks. But if youíre one of the lucky moms or dads, youíll be shopping and packing your college student for life in the dorm. Here are some checklists to assist in the process.

These are merely guidelines, as the amenities and requirements vary by college. Some schools already have refrigerators, while some donít allow microwaves in rooms, so check with the school before completing your shopping. Also, if you havenít seen the room, ask for dimensions or a layout to plan your purchases.


  • Mattress Pad ∑ Accent Rug(s)
  • Draperies and drapery hardware
  • Alarm Clock and extra batteries
  • Microwave oven, cookware
  • Small refrigerator
  • Ice cube trays
  • Coffee maker
  • Water filter pitcher and replacement filters
  • Plates, bowls, cups, glasses, eating utensils
  • Water bottle
  • Hand-held can opener, utility knives, bottle opener
  • Plastic bowls or bags for food storage, chip clips
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Dish towels and cloths, dish detergent
  • Paper towels, napkins, plates
  • Trash bags
  • Book case or book shelves
  • Plastic storage bins or crates (make use of underbed space)
  • Basic tool kit ∑ Lamps, light bulbs
  • Telephone and accessories
  • Extra chair or seating
  • Potted plants (low-maintenance) or silk plants
  • Portable fan
  • Hand-held vacuum
  • Flashlight and batteries


  • Robe, slippers, flip-lops for shower
  • Shower Tote
  • Shampoo, conditioner, hair styling supplies
  • Hair dryer, curling iron, hair straightener
  • Hair brush, comb
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, mouthwash
  • Deodorant
  • Shaving cream and razors
  • Nail clipper and file
  • Moisturizers
  • Soap and soap container, mesh sponge
  • Cologne/perfume, after shave
  •  Cosmetics and make-up with case
  • Cotton swabs, cotton balls/squares
  • Mirror
  • Pain reliever(s) and vitamins
  • Cold/allergy medication
  • Prescription medications
  • Glasses or contact lenses with necessary cleaning supplies
  • Ear plugs, eye mask
  • Night light
  • Bandages, tweezers, antibiotic ointment or cream
  • Hot/cold pack
  • Tissues, toilet paper 
  • Laundry bag or collapsible hamper
  • Quarters for laundry
  • Folding drying rack
  • Detergent, softener
  • Hangers
  • Towels (bath and hand), face cloths
  • Iron, compact ironing board
  • Sewing kit
  • Umbrella
  • Clothes appropriate for the environment


  • Computer or laptop and printer
  • Cables, power strip/surge protector, extension cords
  • Blank CDs or USB flash drives
  • Printer paper, ink cartridges
  • Binders, notebooks, lined paper, folders
  • Pens, pencils, highlighters, markers
  • Erasers, white correction tape or fluid
  • Book bag or backpack
  • Assignment notebook
  • Sticky notes, memo pads
  • Index cards and holder
  • Dry erase and/or bulletin board and tacks
  • Tape, paper clips, binder clips, scissors, ruler, 3-hole punch
  • Stapler, staples and stapler remover
  • Desk caddy to hold supplies
  • Desk lamp
  • Calculator
  • Wastebasket
  • Address book, envelopes, writing paper, cards, postage stamps
  • Reference books (dictionary, thesaurus, grammar, etc.)


  • Television, DVD or VHS player with blank tapes
  • Portable stereo system
  • Video game player and games
  • Posters, photos, etc. for the walls
  • Sports equipment
  • Board games, card games, cards
  • Extra batteries
  • Bicycle, bike lock
  • Camera and film
  • Luggage
  • Snack and food items, basic condiments
  • Holiday decorations


  • Checkbook, checks, checking account information
  • Credit, debit or ATM card ∑ Health Insurance card
  • Cell phone or phone card
  • Driverís license, auto insurance card if you have access to car
  • Maps of region

Remember, these are just guidelines. Check with the college or university first before purchasing or packing some of these items.



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