What should a freshman take to his or her college dorm? There are many, many things you need to pack and bring with you, so it can be quite nerve-racking to come up with a whole list. I hope I can make this much easier for you, providing you with a checklist of must have college dorm items. Some of these items are absolutely necessary, while some are a little less so, but I think all of them have some use. I'll list items like backpacks, staplers and shower racks, but also foods and snacks you'll want to bring with you.

What to Pack For College Dorm? List of Important Things to Pack


- An alarm clock, bathroom towels, a beanbag, chairs, and a small refridgerator are all essential items.

- A microwave I also important but check with your roommates first so you don’t bring more than you need.

- Bedding items such as sheets and pillow cases and a comforter.

- Storage for clothes like underwear.

 - A fan is EXTREMELY important if you don’t have A/C, which is likely. It can get quite hot in a dorm room, especially if you are located somewhere south. Below is one of my favorites that I used personally in college.

Vornado 630 Mid-Size Whole Room Air Circulator
Amazon Price: $64.99 $54.53 Buy Now
(price as of Jul 16, 2016)

- A laundry bag and detergent might be needed.

- Toiletry items such as soap, shampoo, scrubbers, washcloths, etc.

- Sandals or shower sneakers are absolutely needed as dorm showers can be gross, to be blunt. You want to avoid getting athlete’s foot or other fungal infections.

* A shower caddy or shower tote might be very useful for you, holding all your things in the shower!

Honey-Can-Do SFT-01103 Quick Dry Shower Tote, 7-Pocket, Blue
Amazon Price: $1.08 Buy Now
(price as of Jul 16, 2016)

- A television, DVD player or stereo is also a must, but again check with your roommates to see who’s bringing what.

- Condoms, to play it safe. Don’t be a fool - wrap your tool. Although you might want to check with your college because they might actually give them out for free like mine did.

- Plenty of drinking cups.  


- Computer printer and paper

 - Notebooks

- Backpack

- Calculator

-Pencils and pens

- A stapler and scotch tape.

- A planning schedule to put on your wall, which tracks all your classes. This is essential to manage your time and your schedule!


- Buying in bulk is a good idea because you’ll be there for more than 3 months at a time most likely and because you will save more money buying in bulk. You can buy both foods and snacks to save big money in college, but you don’t have to sacrifice your health, either. 

I’m not going to list the obvious #1 college food – Ramen Noodles – because it is so unhealthy for you. I will instead list some healthy – but cheap – food alternatives for college.

Some cheap and healthy foods for college students include:

 - Cereal especially ones in single serving boxes (listed above). My number one favorite food It was good for me  because you don’t need a bowl – you simply put milk in the box. Single serving boxes by Kellogs is a popular choice because you get so many of them for a pretty good price. You can get a package of 96 for  $45 or about .50 cents a box!

- Protein or Health Bars

- Microwavable foods and Instant Foods like Mac and Cheese - Simple and easy to make and not too expensive. Can be eaten for lunch or for a snack.

 - Chips

- Healthy Beef Jerky (Not Slim Jims)

- Pretzels with Hummus

- Hummus Chips

- Rice Cakes 

- Greek Yogurt

- Plenty of bottled water or a brita filter.

- Healthy Energy Drinks or Protein Shakes 

- PopChips

- Protein or Meal Replacement Shakes

Check out more healthy college food and some healthy college snacks. 


Nobody likes hanging out with you if your wall is boring and empty! Show off your personality by buying some things that express who you really are.

It will give your dorm room a cooler and more personalized feel. You can get either some cool college posters, which is popular, OR you can consider getting some vinyl wall stickers that peel on and off easily.

Another thing to get could be a funny unmotivational poster. This is basically a poster that ISN’T the normal type of poster like a movie, celebrity, music, or sports print – they are funny and definitely out of the ordinary.


 - Video game gadgets or systems

- Umbrella 

- Trash can

- A first aid kit.

- Shaving cream, razors, etc.

-  Extra gym clothes

- An extension cord because you might need it with all your electronics.

- Rolls of quarters if you’re doing laundry.

- Tools like a hammer or a swiss army knife

- A dust buster and cleaning supplies.

- Hangers for clothes!

-  A message board for you door.

- Flashlight with batteries.

- Plenty of paper towels for spilt beer.

- Something to play with like a Frisbee, football, baseball, etc. 

 - Other Fun dorm room stuff

Things You Shouldn’t Probably Bring to College

 - Candles because they are probably not allowed or anything else that's flammable.

- Any weapons.

- Air conditioner.

 -A hotplate or toaster oven might not be allowed.

Other Thoughts on College Dorm Life

College is supposed to be the most fun of your life and you should definitely be prepared for it. I think most of these items make sense, but it’s really up to you to decide what’s needed or not.

I definitely think you should start with the essentials listed above, like the foods and snacks and room supplies, then work your way down. It’s up to you how you want to decorate your dorm, but the most important thing is to take care of the essentials first.  Shower and cleaning items are a must, as are school supplies and clothing, so take care of those first. 

I hope this checklist on “What to Take to a College Dorm” really helped prepare you for school!