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    A Checklist of Dorm Essentials for Freshman Year

    Posted by TeenLife Blogger

    College move-in marks an exciting transition. But packing all of your cherished belongings can create a stressful situation, making it all too easy to over- or under-pack. To ensure a smooth, successful (and stress-free) packing process, here’s a list of dorm essentials to bring to school. As a current college student, I use these items every day, and I’d be lost without them.

    Sleep Must-Haves

    • Mattress topper: Although these may be pricey, depending on the brand that you choose, a mattress topper is worth the investment. Most school-provided mattresses are stiff and uncomfortable. A mattress topper is an additional layer of cushion added on top of a mattress. Toppers enhance comfort and allow you to get enough sleep to survive a busy schedule.
    • Bedding: Want to make your dorm room feel a lot more cozy? Pack a comforter, throw blankets, and throw pillows. Incorporating a fuzzy, waffle knit, or patterned blanket adds warmth while also infusing the space with your unique style. Comfort is the key to a good night's rest, especially in a college dorm. Adding your personal touch can easily transform your dorm room into your own comfortable sanctuary.

    Organizational Items

    • Hanging closet organizer: These handy closet accessories help maximize the often tiny amount of space your dorm closet gives you. Store clothing, accessories, or any item you can’t find a home for elsewhere.
    • Rolling cart: Not just for stashing craft supplies, these handy-dandy carts are an integral part of dorm room organization. If you have a lot of miscellaneous items (like me), I promise this cart will become your best friend.  Use it as a nightstand, accessory storage, or a convenient spot for room snacks. Its wheels ​​also make it very easy to roll around the room from desk to bed — a simple solution for creating room in a small space.
    • Hangers: Few colleges provide hangers, so pack enough to keep your clothing neat, organized, and easy to find. I recommend hanger organizers — basically hooks with multiple slots for regular hangers — to maximize your closet’s vertical space and increase storage.
    • Wall hooks: Hurray for Command and Uline's removable wall hooks which offer a simple way to maintain order in your room and save space. You could use these to hang up jackets, backpacks, laundry bags, hats… the list goes on.

    Academic Supplies

    • Dry-erase calendar: This office staple is key to staying on top or even ahead of a busy schedule. Visually tracking your schedule helps you organize your semester and manage your time wisely.
    • Textbooks: The cost of college textbooks is no joke, but you need the right materials for your courses. If your professor’s syllabus lists a mandatory textbook, they expect you to have it.
    • Lamp: Bring a small lamp for your dorm room. A good adjustable lamp is especially beneficial for late-night study sessions when you're trying not to bother your roommates. Plus most students don't like their room's overhead lighting because it's extra bright.


    • Toiletries: Keep your everyday routine moving smoothly by bringing your preferred toiletries.
    • Robe: If you have a communal floor bathroom or a shared bathroom with your roommates, bring a rob to wear when dashing to and from the bathroom.
    • Towels: There’s nothing worse than running out of clean towels. Bring at least 4-5 towels so you’ll always have a clean one available.


    • Proper clothing: Remember to pack the appropriate clothing based on the weather in your school’s location. Is your college in the snowy northeast? Pack snow or rain boots, a warm jacket, gloves, and a hat. Attending university in the southwest? Add sunscreen to your stack of shorts, tank tops, and tees. Not sure what the weather’s like where you’re going? Research historical weather reports to get a better idea. Nothing’s worse than shivering on your long walk across campus, though — it’s better to over-prepare than under-prepare for different weather.
    • Business casual outfits: Whether you’re planning to rush a sorority or fraternity, plan to get a part-time work-study job, or hope to interview for an internship, you never know when you may need business casual attire. Keeping one or two outfits on hand eliminates the panic and stress of a last-minute shopping trip before a big interview or presentation.

    Everyday Routine Needs

    • Alarm clock: Do you wish your phone alarm came equipped with a soft mallet that could bonk you over the head to make sure you wake up in time? Add a digital alarm clock to your packing list.  Check out this list of five best alarm clocks (including those for students who struggle to wake up for those 8 a.m. classes).
    • Reusable water bottle: Staying hydrated is crucial when navigating a busy schedule. Investing in a good reusable bottle will ensure you have water accessible to you wherever you are on campus.
    • Mini-fridge and microwave: Most schools offer rentals or provide these items for you. Typically schools provide access to MicroFridge rentals which is a combination unit of the two appliances. This option is especially useful for small spaces like dorm rooms.
    • Microwaveable kitchenware: For those days when you just don’t have the energy — or time — to run to the dining hall to eat, add a few microwavable plates, bowls, and mugs to your stash. Then you can prep and eat meals (and snacks) in your room.
    • Laundry bag: A durable laundry bag makes carrying laundry to and from the laundromat incredibly easy. A laundry bag takes up far less space than a basket, which helps keep clutter down, too.
    • Wrinkle remover spray: I’m not a fan of ironing — and the iron and board take up a lot of space. Anti-wrinkle spray, however, is a lifesaver. A couple of quick sprays improve the appearance of your clothes — no iron needed. Downy’s wrinkle releaser fabric spray is a good, affordable option.
    • Meaningful pictures: Number one on your college packing list? Photos that remind you of home. Adjusting to college life isn’t easy, and many people get a little homesick. Pictures of family, friends, pets, and memories serve as encouragement and reminders of everyone cheering you on, and these snapshots also personalize your living space.


    • Vitamin C: When you share living space with dozens (or hundreds) of other people, your exposure to germs increases exponentially. So does your risk of getting sick. Remember to pack and take Vitamin C to help strengthen your immune system during this transition.
    • Fan: Since most old dorms don't have air conditioning, bring a good-quality fan with you. Dorm buildings can become uncomfortably hot during the warmer months, so a fan does wonders to keep you cool and comfortable in your living space. Even in the winter, having a fan blowing to keep air circulating reduces the chance of your room smelling musty and stale.

    By packing these important items, you can begin your college journey feeling prepared and ready for success! Bringing the right things can make all the difference in feeling comfortable and settled in your home away from home.

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    TeenLife Blogger

    TeenLife Blogger

    TeenLife Blogger is a writer and blogger at TeenLife.