Packing Checklist for First Year College Students

Heading off to college can be an exciting adventure, but it can also be a daunting task, especially when it comes to packing. With so much to think about and so little space to put your stuff in a dorm room, it's easy to feel overwhelmed. That is why we have compiled this comprehensive packing checklist for first-year college students to help you get started and be prepared! This blog covers all the essentials, from bedding and toiletries to school supplies and kitchen items, to make sure you are ready for life on campus. We will also discuss some items you may not be able to bring or may be restricted from bringing, such as extension cords, candles, and certain types of furniture. By following this checklist and understanding what you can and can not bring, you'll be well on your way to a successful and stress-free first-year college experience.

Moving in and unpacking will be very stressful. So please move-in into college at least five days before your first day of class.

Here is a checklist of dorm room essentials that you must have!

Dorm Room Essentials

  • Twin XL Sheets
  • A comforter or duvet
  • Pillows
  • A mattress pad
  • 20 hangers at least
  • Lamp
  • Clothing: Casual Clothes for class, gym clothes, and formal attire such as a blazer for events or presentations. 
  • Shoes: Comfortable shoes for walking around campus, athletic shoes, and address shoes for events or presentations
  • Backpack
  • Mattress Cover/Pad
  • Hairdryer
  • Plates and Utensils
  • Storage bags (saves so much space!)

College dorm rooms are often very small. Some dorm rooms have tiny closets and low beds, which means there is not much room left for you to store all of your belongings. I know it is hard sometimes. We have some great ideas to help you store all your belongings in your dorm room! When I was a freshman at Boston University, I bought several plastic packing bags to store all my summer clothes in winter. I love how KEEP packing is sustainable, waterproof, and reusable. I can fit all my summer clothes, shoes, and sundries in one bag. More importantly, when I travel back home during break, I use my KEEP bag to move out of my dorm. I can reuse KEEP multiple times, which is very cost-efficient and eco-friendly. 

Having the list ready in hand will be a game changer when it comes to moving in! Check out the Packing List we’ve prepared for you! Click the link down below to download. 

Print Checklist


  • Toothpaste
  • Toothbrush
  • Towels
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Deodorant
  • Shaving Cream
  • Razor
  • Shower Slippers
  • Shower Basket


  • Laptop
  • Chargers
  • Phone
  • Headphones (Especially when you have a roommate!)

School Supplies

  • Notebook
  • Pens
  • Pencils
  • Calculator (depending on your major)
  • Highlighter
  • Flashcards (if you love using flashcards to study like me!)

Laundry Supplies

  • Laundry detergent
  • Dryer Sheets
  • Laundry Basket (a huge one recommended!) 
  • Honeycomb Laundry Bags (for washing socks and undergarments)

Of course, out of the necessities of life, for every college student who goes to school far from home, some items that can provide happiness are essential! With these items, even when you are not at home, you'll feel the joy and charm of life! We've made a list for you. Check it out!

  • Projector: watching a movie with friends on a Friday night after a busy week
  • Bluetooth speaker:  listen to a song and relax without disturbing your roommates and neighbors.
  • Aromatherapy machine: mixed with the beautiful smell of essential oils, not only relaxes the nerves but also moistens the dry air.
  • Plush toys: a familiar playmate that makes you feel at home in your dorm room
  • Stickers: you can use these lovely patterns to decorate the walls of your dormitory
  • Ambient lights: the lights in the dormitory are usually monotonous; if you want to change, you can buy some light strips to decorate the room.