School begins in just a few weeks and you’re probably in the middle of packing for your dorm room. With the countdown to move-in day and the overwhelming excitement it can be easy to get lost in that list of things to pack. There are too many components to think about for your dorm: bedding, bathroom essentials, storage, clothing, design, and study essentials. To help ease some of that stress, I’m going to share a list of items that are essential for your dorm room and first-year experience.

Dorm room bed:

  • A step stool—many dorm room beds are tall to increase storage space underneath which can make it difficult to fall into bed easily.
  • 2 sets of bed sheets—there will be a day where you will be too tired to do laundry, but you’ll still want the comfort of a fresh bed. An extra set of bed sheets will be a life saver!
  • A mattress topper—dorm beds are notoriously hard. If that style of bed is not for you then it would be worth investing in a cooling bed topper so that you can stay cool and enjoy the comfort you need.
  • Pillows—universities and colleges don’t provide pillows when you move in. Be sure to invest in a quality pillow since you’ll need your sleep during your first year.

Dorm room bathroom:

Whether you’re staying in a dorm with a private or shared bathroom, these items are essential!

  • Flip flops—bathrooms, especially ones used by students, can get gross pretty quickly and you’ll be more comfortable not worrying about walking around in bare feet.
  • A shower caddy—these bathroom storage carriers make it easy to transport your shampoo, conditioner, soap, and other lotions to and from your room in just one trip.
  • Multiple towels—Only having one towel can become a hassle. It can get gross after multiple uses, and you will constantly have to do laundry. Having multiple towels means you’ll be able to stay clean and won’t have to do laundry as often. You’ll need a few different types of towels as well: bath towels, face towels, and dish towels.
  • Cleaning supplies—while most schools will have someone clean your bathroom, it is not as often as you’d like. Keep your bathroom clean with some Lysol wipes and toilet cleaner.
  • Tylenol and Advil—there is often a time during school where everyone seems to get sick at the same time. Make sure you have Tylenol and Advil so that you can fight the colds and not miss classes.

Dorm desktop:

Most schools will furnish your dorm room with a desk and chair of some sort. However, this study space will require some personal touches to make it comfortable for those long nights of studying.

  • Office chair—consider replacing that wooden chair that the school provides with one that is more ergonomic and comfortable.
  • Stationary organizer—your desk may or may not come with drawers, but if they do then they often become cluttered with pens and stationary accessories. A well-placed organizer will keep your pens and other accessories accessible and out of the way.
  • Desk lamp—your dorm room most likely won’t come with a lamp which will be necessary for those nighttime study sessions. You’re ceiling light won’t provide enough light when you’re reading pages and pages of notes. Protect your eyes and make sure you have more light.
  • Extension cords—your dorm room will come with one, maybe two, outlets, so to plug in your phone, laptop, lamp, etc. then you’re going to need a few of these! Dorm room closet and storage:
  • Hangers—these won’t be provided in dorms, and you’ll need to hang all of your clothes! Always bring more than you need.
  • Storage boxes—these are incredibly useful in dorm rooms where storage is limited. They can fit in your closet, under your bed, and on shelves. Storage boxes can come in all different forms, so you can buy some that fit the aesthetic you want or ones that blend in so well that you can’t tell they’re storage.
  • Shoe rack/organizer—you’re likely going to have a few pairs of shoes, so don’t let them clutter up your floor space. A small, layered shoe rack could easily fit in your closet. Or a hanging shoe organizer will take up little space in your closet while storing multiple pairs of shoes.

Other dorm room essentials:

  • Water bottles—these are often forgotten in the packing list but are essential for your dorm and on campus.
  • Command hooks—schools don’t allow you to hang things on your wall using pins and nails, but these sticky tools can help you organize your life and hang decorations.
  • Fan—if your dorm doesn’t have air conditioning, then this fan will be a life saver. Even if your dorm does have air conditioning then you can use it as a white noise machine. Dorms can be loud at night with all of the students mingling, so this will help block out some of that noise.
  • Alarm clock—this is something that is useful, especially during midterm and exam season. Although everyone uses their phones as their alarm clocks now, they aren’t 100% reliable. We forget to set the alarm, turn on the sound, or keep hitting snooze. Avoid stress and get a backup alarm clock.
  • Speaker and headphones—you’re going to want to listen to music in your room and a small speaker would be fun to entertain your friends. Or use headphones when you want to relax and unwind.
  • A snack stash—there will be days and nights where you won’t want to leave your room to go get a snack on or off campus somewhere. A snack stash will satisfy your cravings quickly.
  • A broom or vacuum—depending on whether your dorm is carpeted or hardwood, it will get dirty quickly. A broom or vacuum will help you keep your room clean.
  • A diffuser or air freshener—since dorm rooms are often small, they can smell up quickly. Schools don’t allow candles in dorm rooms, but an air freshener can come in handy and make your room comfortable.
  • Batteries—this is something that you never knew you needed until you actually need it.
  • Flashlight—this can be useful when the power goes out or you want to go on a nighttime adventure with some friends.
  • Versatile shoes—there are going to be many events that take place during school, and you won’t have enough space to bring all of your shoes. Make sure you have casual shoes that you can wear every day, running shoes for the gym, shoes that you don’t mind getting dirty for clubs and parties, a nice pair of heels that can be used for formal and business functions.
  • Formal and business clothing—there will come an event during the year where you will either need to dress up in formal or business attire and you won’t want to stress about shopping while you’re studying, going to classes, and participating in extracurriculars.

This list is not exhaustive, but hopefully it reminds you about one or two things that you may have forgotten. Have fun packing and planning to decorate your dorm room!

Check out your future school to learn more about what they recommend you pack