Packing For College: The Ultimate Checklist

It’s August which means it’s almost time to move into your new ‘home’, how exciting!! Now, I am fully aware it can be overwhelming to pack up your life and try to move it into a shoebox sized dorm room, but I promise it can be done! It’s tricky to know what you need to bring and what sounds like a good idea but really will just go unused and take up your precious space. Well I’m glad you’re here; although I’m sure you’ve started packing a little already, you can use this ultimate packing list to guarantee you won’t forget anything on move-in day!

Of course this list is going to be different for everyone (especially you boys, I’m sure your list is MUCH shorter!). Just bring as much or as little as you think you want or need; whatever will make you feel the most comfortable is what’s important! Note: for the big items on this list, talk with your roommate and discuss what you can share and who will bring what so you’re not buying two of the same things!



  • Additional seating. Although your room most likely comes with some desk chairs they aren’t the most comfortable thing in the world. It would be a great idea to maybe bring a futon or a comfy folding chair in addition to what they give you for more comfort, as well as extra hangout room for your friends! I brought a cute fuzzy chair similar to this one from Target and loved it!
  • Area rug. If your school has room’s like mine, they do not come with carpeted floors. Although there is an option to pay for carpet to be installed, I personally didn’t find that to be necessary and decided to bring a cute area rug that did the job and also matched my decor! Target has great affordable rugs and that is where I found mine.
  • Bulletin board or dry erase board. I absolutely loved having both of these in my room to stay organized all year.
  • Command Strips. These will become your best friend, you really can’t have too many!
  • Full length mirror. My dorm room did not come with a full length mirror when I assumed it did. I would suggest checking on your school’s website to double check if yours does or does not.
  • Hangers.
  • Hanging shoe rack. This was a HUGE space saver, highly recommend. I hung it in my closest and was able to store my shoes vertically instead of horizontally. Found mine at Target.
  • Photos, picture frames, lights and room decor. I loved adding my personal touch to make my dorm room my own and feel like home. I hung my photos using string and clothespin clips below my lights and also brought other various decorations as well.
  • Trashcan. Most likely your room will come with only one trashcan. I brought my own and it was very nice to have one for just myself underneath my desk.
  • Under-bed storage. I brought plastic stackable bins to store my clothes underneath my bed instead of all in my closet and dresser.

Below are some pictures of my freshman year dorm room.

Here you can see the area rug as well as my under-bed storage.
My desk space as well as some decor. In the corner there is the folding chair I mentioned.
My lights and photos.



  • Bedbug-protecting cover for mattress. You never know, better safe than sorry!
  • Comforter set. I was the typical indecisive girl when it came to picking this out but decided on a nice neutral theme. I found a solid gray comforter and a cozy creme knit blanket which allowed me to be unique with an assortment of throw pillows.
  • Foam topper for bed. Not completely necessary but I absolutely loved having mine and made my dorm bed much more comfortable.
  • Mattress pad.
  • Pillowcases. Yes plural, it was very nice to have more than one if one was waiting to be washed.
  • Throw pillows. Like I mentioned above I had so much fun picking these out!
  • Twin XL sheets. Remember, most dorm room beds are size twin XL instead of just a regular twin. Keep that in mind when picking out sheets because really the twin size will NOT stretch to fit. I would again recommend you bring two sets of these just to have when one set is waiting to be washed.



  • Backpack.
  • Binders.
  • Calculator.
  • Calendar.
  • Clicker (if needed for class.)
  • Desk lamp.
  • Desk organizer. Loved having this to keep my things organized as I collected more and more papers throughout the year.
  • Erasers.
  • Folders.
  • Highlighters.
  • Hole puncher/three-hole puncher.
  • Index flashcards.
  • Journal. I kept one during my first semester which I really enjoyed doing.
  • Notebooks.
  • Paper chips.
  • Pencil sharpener.
  • Pencils.
  • Pens.
  • Planner. Personally a total NEED.
  • Post-It notes.
  • Rubber bands.
  • Scissors.
  • Stamps. In case you want to send letters or packages.
  • Stapler.
  • Staples.
  • Tape.
  • Textbooks. Okay so this one I have some advice about. Before I moved into school I was naive and thought I needed to buy (used) my books and get them right away. I was wrong. I would definitely say that there is honestly no need to buy your books if there is an option to rent them. Much less expensive and it just makes more sense since when you’re done with the class, you’re done and won’t be needing the book ever again. Also you can totally get your books the week your classes begin or even the week after. Sometimes you find out from your professor you won’t be needing the previous said book or maybe you need a different version of it. That way if something has changed you won’t be stuck with a book you bought that you won’t be using. Second semester I decided to rent my books and waited to get them until after I had gone to my first day of each class. Definitely do what you’re most comfortable with but this is just what I learned from my first year experience.



  • Batteries. For calculator etc.
  • Chargers. Phone, laptop, etc.
  • Ethernet cable.
  • Extension cord. This was nice to have to help my chargers and things reach me while sitting on my bed.
  • External hard drive. Life saver.
  • Flash drives.
  • Headphones.
  • Laptop. I got a great deal on my MacBook Air at the Apple Store for being a college student.
  • Laptop Case. I picked out a really great quality Kate Spade case from Best Buy.
  • Printer. Not completely necessary and most likely your school has public printers that you can use and pay for per page printed. That being said, it was still so nice of my roommate to bring a printer and I absolutely loved the convenience of having it right in our room. We shared the cost of refilling ink and paper.
  • Router for wifi. Double check if your dorm hall has wifi in the rooms or not before you move in. For example at MSU some halls did and some did not. Mine did not, but it was very easy to hook up the router I brought for our room.
  • TV and TV stand. It’s extra great if you can find a TV stand that also has storage.



  • Coffee maker or Keurig. If your a fan of coffee, tea or hot cocoa.
  • In room food. It’s always nice to have some food in your room. Things like bottled water, cereal, easy Mac, granola bars, popcorn and your favorite snack foods!
  • Microwave.
  • Mini fridge.
  • Mini vacuum. Although my school allowed you to check out vacuums from the lobby of the resident hall for free, I brought one of those little rolling sweeper vacuums just to quick clean up our carpet which was convenient but not completely necessary.
  • Mugs. For your coffee, tea and hot cocoa 😉
  • Paper plates. Always nice to have some in your room in case you need them.
  • Paper towels.
  • Reusable water bottle. Nice to take to class with you.
  • Trash bags.
  • Utensils. I brought plastic ones that were great to have because I could use them and just toss them out after instead of having to wash them.



  • Drying rack. I didn’t bring this right away until I realized after a couple weeks that I could really use one. For the things I didn’t want to completely dry in the dryer, I was at a loss of space to hang clothes in my dorm to dry. A folding drying rack was perfect because it could just be put away folded up and out of sight when I wasn’t using it.
  • Ironing board. Not completely necessary, I did not have one but one of my best friends who lived in my building brought one and let me use it when I needed to. If you have an extra to bring it’s really nice to have.
  • Laundry detergent. I used Tide Pods detergent all year which I HIGHLY recommend. They are literally so easy and perfect for college students. Drop a pod into the washer and you’re done.
  • Laundry basket or bag. I brought both, usually I would put whites in one and colors in the other so I could save time and not have to sort through my clothes when I got down into the laundry room.
  • Lint roller. This was great to have when getting ready for my job interview to clean up my nice dress clothes a little bit.
  • Portable stain remover pen. Tide To Go Stain Remover is perfect.


BATHROOM: (this could vary due to if you have suite or community style bathrooms)

  • Air freshener.
  • Bath towels.
  • Bathroom cleaning supplies.
  • Bath mats. Talk with your roommate and suite mates if can before so you don’t all bring these!
  • Hand towels.
  • Loofah.
  • Shower Caddy.
  • Shower shoes.
  • Washcloths.



  • Body wash.
  • Conditioner.
  • Chapstick.
  • Deodorant.
  • Face wash.
  • Hairspray.
  • Hand soap.
  • Lotion.
  • Makeup.
  • Makeup remover.
  • Medicine.
  • Moisturizer.
  • Mouthwash.
  • Nail polish.
  • Nail polish remover.
  • Shampoo.
  • Shaving Cream.
  • Sunscreen.


  • Blow dryer.
  • Bobby pins.
  • Comb.
  • Contact supplies. (If applicable).
  • Cotton balls.
  • Curling iron.
  • Eyeglasses. (If applicable).
  • Feminine hygiene products.
  • Floss.
  • Hair clips.
  • Hair straightener.
  • Hair ties.
  • Hair brush.
  • Headbands.
  • Nail clippers.
  • Nail file.
  • Q-Tips.
  • Razor.
  • Sunglasses.
  • Tissues.
  • Toilet paper. My resident hall building actually gave us free toilet paper. It wasn’t great quality but it was free so it’s up to you what you would prefer!
  • Toothbrush.
  • Toothbrush holder.
  • Tweezers.


CLOTHES: (the essentials). If you go to school close enough to home you won’t have to bring all of these items right away. For example, my parents came and exchanged my summer clothes with my fall and winter ones when I needed them.

  • Athletic shoes.
  • Bathing suites.
  • Belts.
  • Boots.
  • Coats.
  • Dresses.
  • Flats.
  • Flip-flops.
  • Everyday shoes.
  • Formal interview clothes.
  • Gloves.
  • Gym bag.
  • Hats.
  • Heels.
  • Jeans.
  • Jackets.
  • Jewelry.
  • Leggings.
  • Long-sleeve shirts.
  • Pajamas.
  • Pants.
  • Purse.
  • Rain boots.
  • Rain jacket.
  • Scarves.
  • Short-sleeve shirts.
  • Shorts.
  • Skirts.
  • Snow Boots.
  • Socks.
  • Sweaters.
  • Sweatpants.
  • Sweatshirts.
  • T-shirts.
  • Tank tops.
  • Tights.
  • Undergarments.
  • Workout clothes.



  • Bank documents.
  • Copy of birth certificate.
  • Copy of social security cards.
  • Credit card.
  • Debit card.
  • Driver’s license.
  • Insurance cards.
  • Student ID



  • Art supplies.
  • Bike. Loved, loved, loved having my bike. Highly recommend bringing a bike especially if you are attending a big university like me. Not only did it saving me a ton of time getting to class but it was also so fun to ride around campus with friends.
  • Bike lock. Definitely bring a lock if you plan to have your bike on campus. Unfortunately bikes often get stolen if not locked on a big campus with a lot of students.
  • Fan.
  • Lanyard. Great to keep your ID card in.
  • Musical instruments. If you play one it’s a great way to make friends. I know I stopped by some rooms with the door open while they were playing the guitar to give them a compliment on their talent.
  • Pepper spray.
  • Playing cards.
  • Suitcase. Nice to have to pack for a weekend visiting at home.
  • Umbrella.


I hope this list can be helpful to you as you pack and I wish you the best of luck this school year! Please feel free to contact me with any questions.

Sincerely, Sienna

(follow my Instagram at siennamohl for more updates!)



2 thoughts on “Packing For College: The Ultimate Checklist”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s