Dorm Supplies

College Dorm Checklist

We have put together a checklist from the recommendations of dozens of colleges about the items you should bring to your dorm. Some are necessities while others are luxury items. Check with your college or university for full details on these items to make sure you can and should bring them.

You should find out ahead of time who your roommate(s) is/are and their contact information – it is good to coordinate before arriving on campus because many dorm room items may be shared.

Dorm Bedding

  • Sheets – check with your institution to make sure you get the right size for the mattresses in your dorm. Many dorm rooms have “extra long” mattresses. Don’t forget pillow cases.
  • Pillow(s)
  • Mattress pad/cover – this helps with comfort and cleanliness. Make sure it will fit your mattress.
  • Blankets / Comforter / Bedspread – your dorm will likely have central heating, so one blanket and one comforter or bedspread should be sufficient.

Dorm Bathroom

  • At least one three piece towel set - this includes a bath towel, a hand towel, and a washcloth.
  • Toiletry bag or tote – most dorm bathrooms are shared between multiple people, and many do not have a place for you to keep your toiletries. A bag or tote can be used to hold and carry items in and out of the bathroom.
  • A plastic caddy for your shower stuff – this makes it easy to take your shampoo, conditioner, body wash, soap, shaving cream, and razor all into the shower. Make sure the caddy has drainage holes.
  • Shower shoes – dorm showers are high-traffic places and can get pretty dirty and germ-y. Both guys and girls should wear flip flops, sandals, or shoes that are made to be in water.
  • Bathrobe – this can be useful for trips to and from the shower.

Dorm Storage/Organization

  • Coat hangers – closet space is almost always provided and having coat hangers helps to stay organized. If you plan on hanging pants or skirts, be sure to bring the kind with clips on the hanger as well as the traditional hangers.
  • Dresser – check with your dorm to see if they provide a dresser. If they don’t, it can be helpful to bring a lightweight dresser or other organizational stacking drawers. Be aware that you’ll have to both fit this through your door, and in your dorm room (some of which are very small) so try to utilize space vertically.


  • Alarm clock - getting up for class is a necessity
  • Extension cords / power strips with surge protection – there is often only one or two power outlets per dorm room, so having an extension cord and / or power strip with multiple sockets is a must. Try to get them with three-pronged sockets rather than two-pronged sockets, as more high power devices (such as computer chargers) have three prongs.
  • TV and DVD player – many college dorm rooms have a cable TV outlet. This can be a fun way to take a break from studying, especially with friends since watching TV or movies on a laptop screen can get crowded.
  • Speakers – having speakers to hook up to your computer can make listening to music and watching movies a much better experience than with your computer’s built-in speakers.
  • Headphones – it is not guaranteed that your roommate will love your taste in music, so you might need headphones to be able to listen and keep the peace.
  • Telephone – many dorm rooms provide one phone line per dorm room, but many students choose not to use it because everyone has cell phones.

Dorm Lighting

  • Desk lamp – dorms have overhead lights, but a desk lamp can be preferable for studying. This is also useful if your roommate is sleeping.
  • Clip-on reading light – a reading light that can be clipped onto your bed is useful for nighttime reading when the main light is off.


  • Mini-refrigerator – many dorms have community refrigerators but having your own small refrigerator in the dorm room as well is often preferred.
  • Microwave – many dorms have community microwaves, but having your own microwave n the dorm room can be convenient.
  • Pots and pans, Tupperware, utensils, and a few plates/bowls/cups/mugs – many dorms have community kitchens where you can cook, so it is nice to have your own pot and pan so that you don’t have to clean up after fellow residents. In addition, having your own utensils and things to eat and drink out of is useful.
  • Coffee machine
  • Coffee mug, preferably with a lid so that you can take it with you to class.
  • Dish soap
  • Can/bottle opener


  • Laundry detergent – Most dorms have laundry facilities in the basement, and some require payment, either by a swipe of your student card or with quarters. It can be a good idea to bring rolls of quarters for this purpose.
  • Iron / ironing board – if you have clothing that requires ironing, bring a small, foldable ironing board and iron that you can stow in a closet.
  • Laundry basket or hamper – keeping your dirty clothes contained is important when living with a roommate in a small dorm room.
  • Dryer rack – if you have delicate clothes that should not be put in the dryer, use a folding dryer rack. When not in use, it can be stowed out of the way.


  • Dry erase board – having a dry erase board (and pens) that can be attached to a door or wall can be useful for leaving messages for your peers. A bulletin board with tacks is also a good way to display items.
  • Small folding chair – dorm rooms come with a chair for each resident, but it is often nice to have an extra chair or two to accommodate visitors, or yourself if your dorm chair is not comfortable for studying.
  • Bike and Lock – Depending on the location and size of your campus, a bike can be a good mode of transportation, and locks are important to prevent theft. Most dorms have bike storage in the basement and most academic buildings have bike racks nearby.
  • Plants – houseplants can help brighten a dorm room.
  • Trash can – it can be a good idea to have a small trash can that you can stash underneath your desk.
  • First aid kit – while your dorm will be equipped with first aid supplies, it can be nice to have your own to doctor cuts, colds, and headaches.
  • Fan – depending on the temperatures where your college is located, the beginning and end of the school year can get very stuffy.
  • Toolkit – having a small toolkit (screwdriver – both Phillips head and flat, hammer, wrench, pliers, and nails) is useful for repairs. Include a pocket knife in this kit.
  • Sewing kit – you will get holes in your clothes and/or bedding, and have buttons fall off. It’s great to be able to fix them.
  • Area rug – if your room isn’t already carpeted, it will be tile, and tile can get very cold.
  • Hand vacuum/dust buster – many dorms have a communal vacuum, but having your own small hand vacuum can be convenient.
  • Bed risers or cinderblocks – to create valuable space underneath your bed, you can raise it. Use plastic storage containers underneath your bed.
  • Poster putty – use this to hang pictures and posters, rather than damaging the walls with tacks and nails.