The only dorm packing list you'll ever need for the back-to-school season

In our book, it's a 4.0

Dorm room with two beds and decor
(Image credit: Dormify)

Have a look at our dorm packing list before you cram your life away into the family SUV. 

Whether you're in search of adorable dorm room rugs to make a statement or need a few electronics to kick your study space into high gear, we have every inch of your abode covered. We broke down the offerings by room so no mini fridge or twin XL sheet set goes forgotten. You'll thank us when you get to campus and realized your roommate has forgotten a few things. 

Be sure to also have a gander at our dorm organization tips and cleaning tips before the semester gets underway. They'll help you make your tiny space feel like home in no time.

Dorm packing list: bedroom items

Why you can trust Real Homes Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

While we can't guarantee a California king in your dorm room, we do know for certain that your twin XL bed will feel extra cozy with these additions. We also included some extras to help noise out when you're in a noisy building. 

  • Twin XL comforter 
  • Twin XL sheets 
  • Blankets
  • Pillows
  • Pillowcases
  • Throw pillows
  • Bed risers
  • Mattress topper
  • Under-bed storage
  • Bedside storage caddy
  • Bedside shelves
  • Eye mask
  • Ear plugs

Dorm packing list: desk items

How can you possibly make the dean's list if your study quarters are in shambles? These must-have items will help make your semester all the more productive. A word to the wise: Find a comfortable chair for those upcoming all-nighters. There's going to be plenty of 'em!

  • Desk lamp
  • Laptop stand/riser
  • Laptop security lock
  • Letter tray organizer 
  • Pen holders
  • Stapler
  • Drawer organizers 
  • Wall calendar
  • Corkboard
  • Wastebasket/recycling bin
  • Lap desk
  • Scissors
  • Planner & stationery

Dorm packing list: bathroom items

We'll be honest, dorm bathrooms are never the shared space we look forward to frequenting, but a few picks from our list will help make your trips to the shower more bearable. Don't forget a comfy robe, so you don't have to walk back to your room in a towel!

  • Towels
  • Hand Towels
  • Shower Caddy
  • Toothbrush Holder
  • Flip-Flops
  • Mirror
  • Hairbrush
  • Terrycloth robe

Dorm packing list: general items

Don't forget to get creative! You're going to be calling this tiny space your home away from home for the majority of the year—it needs to feel like you. Perhaps these feng shui ideas will give you some inspo? 

  • Butterfly chair
  • Beanbag chair
  • Rug
  • Floor lamp
  • Posters/artwork 
  • Picture frames
  • Hanging photo display
  • Storage basket
  • Storage bins
  • Hooks
  • Pouf
  • Bookshelf
  • Storage trunk or ottoman
  • Plants

Dorm packing list: kitchen items

Even if you're just heating up ramen, you'll want to make sure you're prepared for any kitchen adventures headed your way. We don't need to tell you that coffee is a must after mid-terms, right?

  • Plates (microwave-safe)
  • Bowls (microwave-safe)
  • Utensils 
  • Cups
  • Mugs
  • Pots 
  • Pans
  • Strainer 
  • Ice cube tray 
  • Pot holders
  • Dish towels
  • Water filter
  • Tea kettle
  • Water bottles
  • Dish soap
  • Sponges

Dorm packing list: closet items

Here's how to keep your collegiate gear and favorite capsule wardrobe items in check.

  • Hangers
  • Closet organizers
  • Shoe organizers
  • Hamper
  • Dryer rack
  • Full-length mirror 
  • Odor eliminator

Dorm packing list: electronic items

Gotta make sure that printer is hooked up before your 25+ page term paper is due, right?

  • Mini fridge
  • Microwave
  • Coffee maker
  • Blender
  • Vacuum
  • Hand-held vacuum
  • Fan
  • TV
  • Printer
  • Power cords
  • Surge protector 
  • Speakers
  • Noise-canceling headphones

FAQS

HOW SHOULD YOU PACK CLOTHES FOR YOUR DORM MOVE?

Packing clothes for a move might seem daunting, but it's just a matter of staying organized. Use wardrobe boxes if you're coming to campus with a lot of long layers in tow. Cardboard boxes or air-tight vacuum bags could work well for regular items, too. Make sure to keep the garments you need right away easily accessible, that way you won't have to go digging through mountains of boxes for the necessities.

WHAT ITEMS SHOULD YOU LEAVE HOME?

Although there's plenty to bring to college, there's also a good chunk of stuff to leave at your parents' place. For one, anything of sentimental value that you feel might get lost should probably stay at home. Additionally, anything highly flammable (i.e. candles) should be nixed from your list. And keep Fido and friends at home for Mom and Dad's care — they won't be able to keep up with your all-nighters, anyway. 

Danielle Valente
Content Editor

Pleasure to meet you! I'm Danielle, a content editor at Real Homes who loves scoping out interior trends. I've specialized in lifestyle writing and editing for 10 years with a focus on events, food, and books, among other areas. When I'm not working, I'm usually cooking, reading, or searching for a new project for my apartment.

SPONSORS