Congratulations on being accepted to college! You have your start date and you are ready to get prepared for an epic packing adventure. You already know that your dorm room is not going to be the spacious oasis showcased in the movies.
How do you pick the essential items if you don't really know what you need? Don't worry, we have the ultimate college checklist to help you get organized before you arrive on campus.
General Tips To Consider:
Get a list of items provided by the school and things that are restricted. Typically, dorm rooms come with the basics such as a chair, desk and bed. Some places will provide a floor lamp and a dresser or a bookcase. However, each campus is unique.
Find out about your specific rules and regulations. Note that fire hazard items are generally not allowed, so you will want to leave your portable BBQ at home.
Contact your new roommate-to-be and find out what larger items you guys can share. Maybe one of you has a stereo or a printer and the other one wants to contribute the TV.
Maybe someone has a gaming console and the other has some beanbag chairs. Perhaps one of you has a portable fan and someone else has a shower curtain or area rug. This will help you set up your space together without it being cluttered with duplicate items.
Essential Features For Your Dorm Room:
With the number of things running through your mind as the start date approaches, these are items you don't want to leave home without:
Bedroom items: Find out what your mattress size will be in the dorm. Often, it is an extra-long twin but contact the school to confirm. Bring extra-long twin sheets, some pillows, a comforter and even a mattress protector if you are grossed out about who slept there before you. You may want some LED lights or a bedside lamp and a cork board or something for displaying personal items.
Bathroom items: A few towels, PJs or a bathrobe, a shower caddy and flip-flops to protect you from athlete’s foot or toenail fungus from shared wet shower floors are important. You will be traveling to and from your shower and sharing it with others so having a caddy to contain your shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, shaving cream, razor, hairbrush, lotion, scrub brush, etc. will be useful.
Basic Kitchen Items: Approved appliances such as a microwave, kettle, coffee pot, dishes, utensils, mugs and a reusable water bottle are a good idea. Check into which appliances are allowed. There may be a common kitchen area with a refrigerator and a microwave. Some schools even offer these items as rentals. You may want a blender for making smoothies or a Bodum if you don't want a bulky coffee pot. Two of each dish, a mug and a cup and maybe a frying pan or some mixing bowls would be great. Ask about popcorn makers and electric frying pans. A sharp knife or two, a can opener and a carrot peeler are all helpful, along with some larger mixing spoons, a ladle and maybe a spatula.
Essential Extras: A sewing kit, a power strip, tablet and phone chargers, an alarm clock, a tool kit, or multitool and multi-screwdriver will all come in handy to put items together such as bookshelves and to fix things if they break. Keep some batteries on hand for remote controls, etc.
Storage items: A pop-up laundry hamper or a laundry bag that hangs on the back of the door will save space. Consider hanging organizers for shoes and clothes. If there is storage available under your bed, consider that as well. Look around at your free space and see if there are over-the-door hooks for the bathroom and where you can place some storage containers or bins.
Clothing Essentials: Pack lightly and thoughtfully. Comfortable, casual items will be great including T-shirts, yoga pants, jeans, hoodies and only one or two fancier items. A pair of sneakers, dress shoes, flip-flops for the shower and possibly slippers will have you all set. You won't have a ton of closet space so be wise with your choices.
Rain Gear: An umbrella and a rain jacket may become your best friend depending on where you live.
Medication: Bandages, a small first-aid kit, allergy medicine, Vitamin C, Zinc and multi-vitamins and some Advil or Tylenol over-the-counter pain relievers are good to start with. You may want some Pepto Bismol on hand.
Cleaning Supplies: You could use pure vinegar in a spray bottle and microfiber cloths to keep harsh chemicals away while still obtaining a sterilizing clean. Tea tree oil, a Swiffer, a broom, a small vacuum and a mop can come in handy. A toilet bowl brush is essential and possibly a plunger. Extra toilet paper is never a bad thing.
Snacks and Food: Keeping a bin of easy-to-prepare items including canned fruit and veggies, oatmeal, Nutella, jam, peanut butter, cereal, Ramen noodles, Kraft Dinner, soup mixes and crackers is a wise idea. There will be times you are unable to hit the store before it closes or need to wait until payday so think ahead.
Decorations: Are there some things that remind you of home and showcase your personality? Think of pictures, posters, LED lights, and a few trinkets or your favorite stuffed bear. You may find a dry erase/corkboard a lifesaving organization option to help you keep your calendar sorted.
Seasonal Clothing To Start With
Seasonal clothing may be tempting to bring with you. Depending on how much room you have, you can always ask your family to ship you those winter boots and heavier coats later in the semester. Perhaps, you will be traveling home on holidays or weekends, and you can exchange your items then.
Imagine packing for college as though you are taking a trip. You want to remember the key essential items; however, you don't want to bring the kitchen sink with you. There may be baggage or storage fees depending on how you travel and how much space you have. You can always find a store in your new town in you forget something or potentially order it online.
Items To Skip & Leave At Home
Anything valuable like jewelry or your fancy watch is best kept at home where it will be safe. You may have lots of people coming in and out of your dorm, especially as you and your roommate meet new students. You don't want to leave anything important laid out if there is always a crowd coming and going.
Care Package Requests
Your family may enjoy sending you the odd care package. Keep track of your wish list items to have on hand the next time someone asks if you need anything specific.