Thursday, June 17, 2021

Do you have a kid heading off to college in August? I told a couple of friends that I would put a list together and then I thought – why not a blog post?

I am no expert, but I did just go through this process last summer and I helped to bring it all home this spring! Lol!

If you are new here, I have twins that ended up at the same college – in two different dorm rooms.

Disclaimer: My kids are really low maintenance!

Here are my tips/advice:

Before you do anything, look at college website for room content! The websites offer a wealth of information and often include a video tour. Also, check the websites for rules about what students can and cannot have in their rooms.

My kids’ college room provided:

2 beds, 2 desks, 2 wardrobes/armoires (you do need to bring own hangers), microwave, refrigerator, trashcan

If you have a spare room or a basement area, it is great to have a “holding area” as you acquire stuff over the summer. We were lucky that we have our old bedroom waiting to be demolished to turn into our Master bath.

We purchased things from Target, Bed, Bath, and Beyond, and Amazon. We gradually accumulated everything over the summer.

I would say there is a Walmart in spitting distance of most college campuses, so you might consider unpacking the big stuff and then taking a trip there for toiletries.

Amazon delivers to college campuses! You might consider having some things sent directly. Check college policies.

What we took: (Move-in day was really smooth. The college had volunteer older students unload our cars, put stuff in rolling bins, and then we could use the bins on the elevator.)

clip on bed light

sticky stuff to hang posters

long charging cord for phone

extension cord

power strip

towels (4) and washcloths (maybe 8 or 10)

sheets (no more than 2 sets)

eggshell mattress cover

bedskirt ?


collapsible laundry hamper/basket with pockets for detergent pods and dryer sheets

backrest pillow

first aid kit

toiletries to get them through first couple of month

snacks (don’t go crazy)

reusable water bottle

rain gear- jacket, boots, umbrella, backpack cover



one swimsuit

one beach towel


hammock (if they have a hammock friendly campus and want this!)

decor (go easy on this and this also depends on boy/girl) – string lights are really popular.

large IKEA bags or similar Amazon bags that have backpack straps: These are ours. They hold so much!

a smaller duffle for weekend trips home or to friends’ parents’ homes

Do not go crazy on the winter clothes at first. You can get those on a first trip home.

What have I forgotten? I hope something helped you! Share this with a friend if you think it would help them!


P.S. – Manage your expectations on move-in day. I thought we would unpack and arrange things in our kids’ rooms and make a whole day of it, with a meal with all four of us before we left. Nope! Jack was o.k. with more help, but Mason wanted us gone and didn’t want any help. Maybe talk to your college kid beforehand but be prepared for them to be ready for you to leave.

Also, we moved to college during the times of Covid, so there were lots of things that were probably different!

6 thoughts on “College Dorm Packing List

  1. So many great tips! I was on the 8th floor of my dorm and only one of two elevators was working. It was a sweaty first move in day. And…I’d forgotten one of my favorite shirts, and called home the day after my parents unpacked me. My dad opened my closet and home and said, “I thought you took all your clothes with you?” 😜I’ve been overpacking since day one!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I never would have thought of some of this stuff. Keeping this list in my back pocket!

    Do you have a link to the laundry basket? I didn’t know this was a thing!


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