College Checklist: 250+ Dorm Room Essentials

by Diana Ajih on August 12, 2013

in deals and steals

dorm room essentials, college checklist, dorm essentials

The first day of school is just a few weeks away for some students so in the meantime, start diving into dorm-packing mode by putting together your college checklist. To help, we created a dorm room essentials guide that you may need to establish your home away from home as well as transform your space into a stylish spot for friends to hang out, lounge around, get some studying done, and (of course!) getting some zzz’s. We’ll make sure you have everything you need to move into your dorm or apartment and create an A+ college space!

College Checklist

Here’s a basic list of what to bring with you to college. It covers everything from bedding and kitchen to laundry and medicine.

Free Checklist: Download a free printable checklist that list what you need to pack for college.

Bedding: bed sheets, blankets, comforter, mattress pad, pillows, pillowcases, bedbug-protecting mattress cover, and sleeping bag

Kitchen & Dining: can opener, coffee maker, mini refrigerator, hot plate, microwave, broom, mini vacuum cleaner, toaster oven, cups, plates, utensils, dish soap, trash bags, paper towels, food storage containers, bag clips, wet wipes, water filter, blender, duster, dustpan, coffee mugs, travel mug, oven mitts, hand soap, plastic wrap, tin foil, sealable plastic bags.

Bath: bath towels, bath robe, bathroom cleaning supplies, bathroom rug, loofah, shower caddy, shower shoes, tumbler, shower cap, washcloths, shower curtain with rings, air freshener, hair dryer, curling iron

Room: alarm clock, wall posters, bulletin board and pushpins, bedside lamp, mini trashcan, storage bins, desk lamp, dry-erase wall calendar, area rug, closet organizer, futon,  jewelry organizer, picture frames, space bags, under bed storage, hangers, shoe rack, beanbag/comfy chair, adhesive hooks and strips, stepladder, desk chair

School Supplies: binder, notebook, notebook paper, envelopes, folders, glue, paper clips, pens, pencils, pencil sharpener, pencil eraser, post-its, rubber bands, ruler, postage stamps, scissors, stapler, staples, staple remover, scotch tape, white out, three hole punch, waste basket, calendar, highlighter, calculator, index cards, textbooks, desk organizer, journal, portfolio case

Toiletries: bar soap, body wash, face wash, body lotion, acne cream, moisturizer, toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash, shampoo, conditioner, hair gel, hair mousse, hairspray, cosmetics/makeup, makeup remover, hair brush, eye glasses, eye drops, deodorant, cotton balls, dental floss, mirror, nail clippers, nail polish, q-tips, razor, shaving cream, sunscreen, toilet paper, tampons and pads, tweezers

Tech: computer, tablet, cell phone, cell phone charger, extension cords, mp3 player/ipod, speakers, television, corded phone with answering machine, video game consoles, batteries, camera, headphones, hdmi cable, flash drives, ethernet cable, Microsoft Office, printer, printer ink, surge protector, recording device for lectures, wireless mouse

Laundry & Cleaning: clothes hangers, bleach, laundry detergent, fabric softener, laundry bag or hamper, stain remover, garment bag, drying rack, iron, ironing board, lint brush, sewing kit, and quarters

Clothing: underwear, bras, socks, shirts/blouses, sweaters, pants/jeans, pants, light/heavy jackets, pajamas, slippers, gloves, scarves, hat, boots, sneakers, walking shoes, swimsuit, a pair of dress shoes, a set of business-casual clothes, purse, belts, going out clothes, going out shoes, jewelry, little black dress, rainboots, sweats, sweat pants, workout clothes, sports bra, tights, watch

Medicine: prescription medications, band aids, birth control, condoms/checks, cough drops, first aid kit, hot/cold packs, thermometer, vitamins, pain reliever, contact lens solution, cortisone cream, insect repellent, humidifier, vaseline

Documents: ID, copy of birth certificate, copy of social security card, credit card, debit card, passport, driver’s license, car registration and insurance forms, registration forms, financial aid forms, health/dental insurance cards, emergency contact list, bank documents, renter insurance

Miscellaneous: bicycle, bike helmet, bike lock, scooter, flashlight, duct tape, scotch tape, fan, light bulbs, tool kit, yoga mat, weekend bag, travel bag, umbrella, suitcase, safety pins, playing cards, board games, sleep mask, musical instruments, safety whistle, religious materials, backpack, sports equipment

Free Checklist: Download a free printable checklist that list what you need to pack for college.

Shop Dorm Room Essentials

Click through below to shop some of our favorite dorm room items that will glam up your dorm room.

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Alarm Clock

So you can make that 8 a.m. chemistry class. Recommend: Rise and Shine Alarm Clock, $19

Storage Drawers

Great for school supplies under the bed or in the corner while adding a dash of style in your dorm room. Recommend: Small Tint Stacking Drawer, $5.99 each

Desk Lamp

A must-have for late night cramming while your roommate is still asleep. Recommend: Room Essentials Stick Lamp (variety of colors), $11.24. I also like this one

Philosophy Pencils

Each pencil has a colorful eraser and an equally colorful quote from the artist. Recommend: Andy Warhol Philosophy Pencil - Pack Of 8, $8.99

Storage Caddy

A convenient bedroom organizer perfect for keeping your reading materials and other personal gear right by your side. Recommend: Bedside Caddy in Sand, $8.99

Toaster Oven

A toaster oven is the perfect dorm cooking appliance for a quick breakfast. Recommend: Hamilton Beach Toastation 2-Slice Toaster and Mini Oven, $37.99

Mini Fridge

A mini-fridge in your dorm is a must-have because you'll never have to visit a vending machine for a cold drink. Recommend: Emerson Energy Saving Mini Fridge, $64 (on sale until Aug 2nd)


To ensure a wrinkle-free wardrobe that's much faster to use than an iron. Recommend: SteamFast Fabric Steamer, $24.99

Shower Tote

Super convenient for transporting all your toiletries from dorm room to bathroom in one place. Recommend: Flexible Shower Tote, $9.99. Also like this one.

Coffee Maker

You'll definitely be saving some cash by having your own gourmet coffee maker. Recommend: Keurig MINI Plus Personal Coffee Brewer, $99.99

Bath Wrap

Invest in a stylish and comfy wrap for the trek down the dorm hallway to the shower. Recommend: Threshold Shower Body Wrap, $12.34 (variety of styles)

Wireless Speakers

Bring this tiny speaker to your next study session, party or tailgate. Recommend: JBL Charge 2 Bluetooth Wireless Speaker, $149.99 (Connects with smartphones and tablets)

Bag Clips

Hold all opened snack bags tightly closed to prevent spills and retain freshness. Recommend: Monster Bag Clips, $3.99

Tool Kit

A tool kit will come in handy for hanging stuff on your walls or fixing minor problems around your room. Recommend: Apollo Precision 39 Piece Tool Kit, $17.99

Flip Flops

Flip flops are a must when you're running down the hall to do laundry or to the communal shower. Recommend: Havaianas, $16.99

Travel Mug

There's nothing like sipping a hot drink before an early morning class, or an afternoon caffeine pick-me-up. Plus they're usually ok to bring inside the library and most coffee places will give you a discount for bringing your own cup. Recommend: Thermos Stainless King Travel Mug (more colors), $24.62


It's so much easier and lighter to lug around campus than your laptop! Recommend: Apple iPad Air 2, $499 and Google Nexus 7, $199

Laundry Bag

You'll need a sturdy laundry bag when lugging weeks' worth of dirty clothes to the laundry area. Recommend: Easy Sort Laundry Bags Set of 3, $29.40. Find additional colors here.

Bed Linens

Bring your own comforter, pillows, and sheets. Also check to see if your dorm has a regular twin or XL twin bed. Recommend: Pinzon 5-Piece Bed in a Bag, $59.99. See more bedding sets here!

Wall Decor

Give your room some personality by bringing along some artwork and pictures of family and friends. Recommend: No Nails Fabric Pinboards, $34-69

Surge Protector

Serve enough power to your electronic devices while protecting them from electrical surges. Recommend: Satechi Compact USB Surge Protector, $9.99

Small Trash Can

Keep a small trashcan in your dorm room next to your desk. Recommend: Kickstand Trash Can, $29.00

Survival Kit

Survive minor dormitory disasters with a college survival kit. Recommend: Pinch Provisions College Survival Kit, $29.99. Also like this one.

Electric Kettle

Ideal for a dorm room that doesn't have a kitchen. Recommend: Cuisinart Cordless Electric Kettle, $84.99. Here's a less expensive one.


Having a printer saves you the trouble of hunting down a computer lab just to print out a class assignment. Recommend: Epson Wireless All-in-One Multifunction Printer, $59.99 (on sale). Also like this one.


Strong enough to keep your dorm room clean and doesn't take up too much space. Recommend: Dirt Devil 3-in-1 Corded Bagless Stick Vacuum, $24.99.


Make college life easier with a microwave for on the go meals. Check with your college first to see if there's any microwave restrictions. Recommend: Sunbeam Microwave Oven, $49.

Small Fan

Most college dorms lack thermostats so having a mini fan is a great alternative to keep cool when it's hot an humid. Recommend: Mini Chillout Tower Fan, $15.99.

Laptop Lock

Protect your laptop and personal information with a laptop lock. Recommend: Kensington Combination Laptop Lock, $21.07

Noise Cancelling Headphones

Perfect to drown out the cacophony sounds of the dorm room. Recommend: Beats by Dre Studio 2.0, $299.99. Also like this one by Bose.

Kitchen Set

Must have essentials when setting up your dorm room kitchen. Recommend: Room Essentials 30 Piece Kitchen Utensils Set, $15.99. Also like this one.


From the first day of class to the last, you'll need a good camera that will take many pictures to document your journey. Recommend: Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 Instant Film Camera, $70.99. Also like this one.

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Best Retailers for College Dorm Room Essentials

Below are the top places to find sales and deals on items listed in our college checklist!

Updated 8/9/2015

  • DormSmart – They provide students, parents, and schools with a selection of thousands of quality products for student living.
  • Target– Spend $50 save $10, spend $100 save $25 on bed and bath with code COLLEGE + up to 20% off on college must haves!
  • Walmart – Bedding starting at $39.98
  • Urban Outfitters – Up to 70% off sale items
  • PBteen – Up to 30% off bean bag chairs, up to 30% off backpacks, and up to 20% off desk, desk chairs + more!
  • Amazon – Tons of savings on kitchen appliances, printers, mattresses, clothes, and more. Also include free 2 day shipping for college students.
  • Kohls – $10 off your home purchase of $50 or more with code HOME10

Useful Websites for College Students

I created this list of useful college resources so you can get the most out of your undergrad experience.

  • The College Shack– A leading online retailer that offer collegiate apparel.
  • Campus Book Rentals– A textbook rental site for college students where you can save hundreds of dollars on books!
  • Knetbooks– Another textbook rental site that is simple and easy to use.
  • Greek Creations– They offer merchandise and gifts to Greek students and alumni.
  • Grammarly– A service that makes you a better writer by finding and correcting up to 10x more mistakes than your word processor. Perfect for when you need to write college essays.
  • Redshelf– An eTextbook software which makes learning materials affordable and easy to use!


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Kim Young August 20, 2013 at 4:49 pm

If I’d had neat stuff like this in college I may actually have spent some time in my room studying 😉

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