Dorm Room Essentials Checklist

Dorm Room Essentials Checklist

If you’re heading off to college this fall, you’re probably going to need to pack essentials. Unless that is, we don’t go to college in person, in which case the only essentials you’d need are wifi, pajamas, maybe some pop tarts, and of course TikTok because who actually pays attention in class anymore?

But in the welcome chance your college will be in person for the entirety of your school year, we’ve prepared a list for your everyday college needs because chances are, you have no clue what you’re doing! Some essentials are on the pricey side, so we personally recommend asking your distant relatives for some of these as a graduation gift. After all, if your Great Aunt Cathy won’t buy you that $150 comforter set, who will?

We recommend packing light; two people in a 12 by 19 room doesn’t equate to spacious living. Below are MUST-HAVE items for a dorm! Before you go splurging on unnecessary items, make sure these things are accounted for. 



Twin XL sheets- Don’t sleep on any unknown mattress without sheets, crazy.

Comforter- To be comfortable, duh.

Pillow- Who doesn’t want comfortable pillows to stumble onto after a wild night of…studying, a long night of studying, Mom, I promise!

Mattress Pad- Your bed will be uncomfortable. Just being real, your dorm mattress probably hasn’t been changed since 2012 (someone had to tell you). With an affordable mattress pad, you can rest easy knowing that you will not wake up with the back pain of the Hunchback of Notre Dame (these are especially necessary if you go to NC State).

Sleeping Mask- You may have a final you need to rest up for tomorrow, but your roommate might want to watch YouTube on their laptop until 2 am. So, make sure you have a sleeping mask handy so none of that light keeps you from a good night’s sleep. 



A desk fan- It will be hot. No matter where you’re going, I promise you you’re going to be hot at some point.

Heater- It will be cold. No matter where you’re going, I promise you’re going to be cold at some point.

A lamp- To see all the papers you won’t have as you’ll be using a computer most of the time.

Desk organizer- If you’re not organizing your pens in college, what’s the point?

Chair- Most dorms have a chair; if not, bringing a small desk chair or stool is recommended.

Desk- Just in case they don’t give you one; check with your college first, though.



Toothbrushes- Please brush your teeth…

Toothpaste- With toothpaste…

Deodorant- All of these should really be self-explanatory.

Shampoo/conditioner- A must-have.

Body wash- Please bring body wash; don’t do that to your roommate.

Shower organizer- To organize everything; trust me, you don’t want anything to fall on the communal shower floor. 

Shower shoes- Non-negotiable.

Bath Robe- To make the walk back from the communal showers a little less awkward and a little less cold.



 USB Drives (flash drives or other storage devices)- These are crucial if you know you’ll be in a class that requires you to deal with large files.

Computer- A lot of colleges will let you rent or buy a computer on campus, and there will be public computers, but it’s also beneficial to have a personal computer.

Extension Cord- If you’re sharing a dorm, you’ll probably want to spring for more than a few.

Ethernet Cable- To be completely honest, the internet at your dorm or anywhere on campus will probably not be great. But if you can use it, bring an ethernet cable to plug in, as even cheap modems will probably have an adequate wired internet connection.

Portable Charger- How can you possibly survive or function if your phone isn’t charged?


Office Supplies: 

Pens, Pencils, Highlighters, Erasers- Because that’s totally necessary for this day and age.

Notebooks- Again, something that is totally necessary nowadays.

Sticky Notes- Who doesn’t love a good sticky note reminder telling them their 12-page English paper is due in 3 days and they still haven’t started? 

Stapler- To staple that 12-page English paper you wrote the day before it was due.

Whiteout- Made a mistake on that 12-page English paper after printing? Cover it up with whiteout.

Tape- You always need tape.

Ruler- To measure your patience.

Scissors- To cut things.

A planner- To use for three weeks and never look at again.

Whiteboard and/or Cork Board- To put the sticky notes on!

Calculator- TI-84 Graphing Calculator–Your high school math teacher would be disappointed if you didn’t have one. 

Printer and Paper- Not always necessary if your school has one, although sometimes schools charge you, so it may be nice to have your own. 

Three-hole punch- We all know the pain of having a paper that’s not hole punched.


Extra Essentials: 

Water Bottle- preferably a Thermoflask Bottle so you can have coffee or water in it while keeping its temperature. A water bottle with a large opening will make it easier to wash.

Laptop case- To protect the only thing you’ll really use in college.

Umbrella- For rain.

Backpack- You’ll need this to lug around your computer and probably nothing else.

At least one set of dishes- The stereotype is true: College kids eat a lot of Ramen. Instead of having plastic dishes that you keep having to repurchase, just get one set of every dish you need. You’d be saving your wallet and the environment. Assuming, of course, you’re not forced to purchase a meal plan.

Clorox wipes- Because Corona.

Laundry hamper- Dirty clothes have to go somewhere.

Underbed storage organizers- Store all your extra clothes, blankets, sheets and anything else that doesn’t fit in your tiny closet.

Hangers- To hang the (approximately) 4 outfits that will fit in that tiny closet, and even that might be too much for your closet to handle.

Broom and Dustpan- Don’t be dusty.



TikTok LED lights- Obviously, every student should have these. In fact, it should be mandatory. No additional explanation is necessary.

LED String lights- See above explanation.

Mini Robot vacuum- Who needs pets when you have a robot that cleans up after you?

Rug- God knows you’ll already have a lot of work to do; don’t add cleaning up the mess your shoes made on the floor.

Saucer Chair- Or really any other type of chair–sometimes you just want a cool chair in your room.

TV- Not a necessity if you have that handy laptop, but if you want a bigger screen, you should opt for one.

Portable speakers or Headphones/Earbuds- Portable speakers if you’re an extrovert and headphones if you’re introverted. AirPods if you’re not broke. 

Sewing Kit- In case you rip your pants or something. Get a sewing kit; don’t miss your chance, and you won’t end up like the fool who ripped his pants. 

Posters- Your wall is a blank canvas; make it look cool.

Plants- A nice little decoration; just make sure you water them or they’ll get sad.

Mirror- Most dorms come with this, but your vanity demands you get a bigger and better one.


Fun Stuff

Card games- Cards against humanity, Fluxx, playing cards.

Outdoor- Cornhole (it wouldn’t be college without cornhole),  Frisbee (it wouldn’t be college without frisbee), a basketball (for re-enacting the climactic final scene of 1996 classic, Space Jam).

Nerf blaster For battling zombies…or your roommate (Or maybe a zombie roommate?)

Video Games- You and your roommate will probably be thankful for bringing a console and games that go with them; I’d recommend classics such as Sid Meier’s Civilization or Wii Sports (Mario Party if you are in a kill-my-roommate mood).