What to pack for college


When your student moves into their on-campus college dorm room, they won’t be able to bring everything from home, so what should they pack for college? While every college dorm experience is different, there are still some basic essentials that every student needs for college. They’ll need to decide on personal items, but this general dorm essentials checklist will get them on the right track when they’re packing. Let’s get started! Here's what to pack for college in 2021.


Packing clothes for college takes some thought. Your student will have limited storage space, so they should only bring the essentials — things they’ll definitely wear. If they discover they didn’t bring enough, they can retrieve more during their first trip home or ask you to ship things to them.

It’s important to prepare for the local weather. They’ll probably be walking to class, so it’s important to take climate into consideration. If they’re moving someplace sunny, be sure they bring hats and sunglasses. And if campus gets cold in the winter, make sure they pack an appropriately heavy coat!

Home essentials

It’s no secret that dorm rooms are pretty small. Still, your student’s room will be their new home for a while, so they’ll want to make it feel that way. One simple way to do that is make it a sort of scaled-down version of their bedroom. For book lovers, a small book shelf and some favorite books are essential. A few kitchen items for food preparation and after-hours eating will also come in handy. They’ll need their electronics of course, and definitely their favorite pillow or blanket to remind them of home. They should consider bringing things like pictures of family, friends and pets as well as some posters. Most schools don’t allow students to put nails in the walls, so they’ll need other ways to hang their decor and personalize their space. Sticky wall mounts and removable adhesive hooks are the go-to solution. 

School essentials

Most dorm rooms come with a desk, so your student can start filling up their room with school supplies immediately. They should bring two sets of pens, pencils and highlighters — one for their backpack and one for their desk. They can also stash their laptop, extra notebooks and any textbooks they won’t be needing for the day.  

Dorm room checklist


  • Twin XL bedding bundle (comforter, sheets, pillow case)
  •  Blanket
  •  Pillow
  •  Mattress pad
  •  Throw blanket
  •  Shower curtain
  •  Shower caddy
  •  Mirror
  •  Personal hygiene products
  •  Toilet paper
  •  Bath robe
  •  Bath towels
  •  Bath mat


  • Backpack
  •  Computer
  •  School supplies
  •  Calendar or planner


  • Under-bed storage
  •  Trash can
  •  Cleaning supplies
  •  Paper towels
  •  Air freshener
  •  Extension cord
  •  Lamp


  • Clothes
  •  Pajamas
  •  Shoes
  •  Belts
  •  Laundry hamper
  •  Drying rack
  •  Hangers
  •  Iron
  •  Tabletop ironing board
  •  Laundry detergent


  • Bicycle
  •  Bike lock
  •  Duffle bag
  •  Umbrella


  • Food and snacks
  •  Water bottle
  •  Dishes
  •  Utensils
  •  Can opener
  •  Food storage
  •  Containers
  •  Ziploc bags


  • Personal items
  •  Pinboard
  •  Wall decals
  •  Clock
  •  Rug