Freshman Checklist: What to Take with You to Dorm

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Many first-year students are excited about entering college and moving out of the parent’s house to start an adult living. If you are one of those students who are about to move into a dorm but have no idea what you should take with you, this article is just for you.

How Many Clothes You Need

Some students overestimate their need in clothes or everyday necessities. Others, in their turn, underestimate it. If you don’t know how many clothes you should take with you, think this way: define how many times per month you will be able to do your laundry and take just as much as you need for this period plus a little extra. For example, if you are planning on doing your laundry twice a month, you will need as many clothes as you will wear for two weeks plus an outfit or two just in case.

A lot of former students also recommend to take no more than two suitcases of clothes. However, suitcases can vary in size, so it’s hard to tell if you will have enough of clothes this way (or too many of it). By the way, we have a few tips for you on how to pack your things and organize them.

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You should also always consider going home to get more stuff or return some of it back. For example, students who have an opportunity to travel home for weekends, holidays, or breaks can easily take much fewer clothes. They also can take only seasonal garments and bring them back home to take what they need for the next season.


Every student needs to take not only their clothes but also the basic things which they will use every day. The list of such items may vary depending on your needs and habits. However, usually the checklist of necessary things for dorm will look something like this (we created this post in the form of a convenient checklist, so you can just print this page):


  • A pillow (better two of them) and a set of pillowcases
  • A comforter or a duvet
  • Duvet covers
  • A mattress protector (if you can also buy a mattress topper, that will be excellent – you never know what bed you will get and how bad the mattress will be)
  • Sheets (at least two of them, but four is better)


  • Shower towels (at least 2 of them)
  • Shower flip-flops (because you don’t want to be barefoot in a dorm shower)
  • A bathrobe
  • A shower caddy
  • A small mirror
  • Hair care products and a comb
  • A liquid body wash and a mesh sponge (soap bars become messy and also you don’t want to drop it or put on a shelf in a communal shower)
  • Dental care products
  • Toilet paper and wet wipes (better take a lot)
  • Feminine products
  • A razor
  • A laundry detergent
  • A drying rack (if there are no dryers in your dorm laundry room)

You can also take a laundry basket or hamper. However, you can use a big plastic bag to store your dirty clothes (which will take less space), so there is no reason to buy and take one with you.

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Kitchen Tools

  • A few plates, a bowl, a mug, and silverware (because you will definitely want some ramen at 3 AM)
  • Paper towels
  • A can and bottle opener
  • A water filter
  • A coffee maker (also can be used to boil water for tea and ramen) or an electric kettle
  • A hot pot cooker (if allowed)
  • Food containers

Also, you might need:

  • A mini-fridge (even if you have a communal fridge, it’s always better to have a few drinks right in your room)
  • A microwave (if allowed)
  • A water bottle

School Supplies

  • Spiral notebooks
  • Binders
  • Notebook paper
  • Plain paper
  • Pens and pencils
  • An eraser
  • A stapler with a pack of staples
  • An agenda or a planner
  • Scissors
  • Sticky notes
  • Folders
  • A hole puncher
  • Paper clips
  • A calculator
  • A ruler
  • Highlighters

Also, you might need:

  • A backpack (or any bag that you will take with you)
  • A desk lamp
  • Desk organizers (for your notes and assignments)
  • A USB-drive

Other Useful Necessities:

  • An extension cord
  • Earplugs (because sometimes your roommate might be too noisy)
  • Headphones
  • A laptop with a charger
  • A phone with a charger
  • Storage boxes/bins (which you can put under your bed to save some space)
  • Hangers and clothes organizers (there are a lot of different space saving hangers)
  • Hooks for clothes, bath towels, etc. (you will definitely need a few of them)
  • A door stop
  • A fan

Room Decor

  • Christmas lights (they always look good in any dorm room and instantly make one more cozy and stylish. By the way, check out our article on how to make your dorm room neat and beautiful)
  • A bean bag chair
  • A rug
  • A plant
  • Some posters

What Things You Might Not Think of But Which You Will Need

Some things that might be not that obvious to put into your packing list. However, some of the following items are crucial to be taken with you as you will definitely need them even if you don’t think so now.

Such things might be:

  • A nail file and clippers
  • Tweezers
  • A multi-tool (in case you need to fix something in your room)
  • A stain remover
  • Room air freshener
  • Cleaning cloth
  • A multi-purpose cleaner
  • A dustbuster
  • A mop
  • Extra batteries
  • A first-aid kit
  • An eye-mask (for situations when your roommate is up, but you need to sleep).
  • An umbrella

Many students admit that when they were going to the dorm for the first time, they didn’t know for sure what things they will actually need for their everyday life. As a result, they packed too many unnecessary things that caused some difficulties later. For example, you might get a small room which wouldn’t fit all your belongings, or you might have to move out sometime, and will have too much stuff to take with you.

So, think twice before packing anything. You might also consider talking to your future roommate (if you know who you will live with) and decide who will bring what and other roommate rules and deals. For example, you don’t really need to have two mops in your room; also, you both can use one coffeemaker. So, you can easily save some space in your room and some money.

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