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  • Bed sheets set. Almost all dorm beds sizes are twin extra long (XL). Avoid white sheets (difficult to keep clean) and don't forget to check with your dorm if they have any guidelines. Plan for the dorm's climate (which might be different than your home) and buy 2 sets for when doing laundry.
  • Blankets Better to have one too many than one too little. Choose a set that fits your bed size and feels comfortable to you.
  • Comforter Depending on the climate and season of your dorm, a comforter might be needed.
  • Ear plugs Useful when trying to sleep or study and don't want to be disturbed by your roommate.
  • Mattress pad Many people have slept on the mattress you will get from the dorm, so, for hygenic and a good feeling reasons invest in a good pad.
  • Pillow Resting your head on a comfortable hypoallergenic pillow will help with a good night sleep.
  • Pillow case This is a great place to show some style but don't forget that in the dark the fabric is more important than its looks. Aim for 300-400 TPI (threads per inch).
  • Sleep mask Useful if you need to catch some Zs while your roommate is still studying or relaxing.
  • Throw blanket Extra comfortable for throwing over during a long all-nighter. Balance warmth with ease of storage.
  • Under bed storage Dorm rooms typically lack storage space and under the bed storage is an ideal solution. E.g. you can keep your summer/ winter clothing in it before you take them home.


This is where you will (hopefully) spend a lot of your time. Make sure you have an environment where you feel productive.

  • Desk Most dorms will have a desk and a chair. But if not, think of height adjust-ability, surface and portability.
  • Desk chair Although most dorms will supply a desk chair, if not, consider recline-ability, seat depth, lumbar support, material, armrests adjustment, swivel, wheels and overall portability (after all you have to bring it to your dorm room.
  • Desk lamp Go for a lamp that provides plenty of focused light. You don't want to wake up your roomy while doing an all-nighter.
  • Pencil cup A simple one is the best but how about customizing it with color or photos of family and friends?
  • Stackable trays Go transparent for best visibility or opaque to hide your clutter.


  • Alarm clock Even though you can use your phone for snoozing, it is more comfortable to be able to see the time in the middle of the night as well as having a backup during exams. Also, don't go for a model which requires batteries as you will need to constantly put in new ones or they might run out right before that important exam.
  • Bedside lamp Beyond matching colors, make sure you choose a lamp based on its function. You probably want your lamp to be used for reading while studying late into the night rather than for ambiance only. Safety naturally comes above all else: buy an unbreakable and fire resistant lamp.
  • Floor rug Can be used to add coziness to your room and as an extra study area. But don't forget that it is one more thing you need to keep clean.
  • Frames Go for smaller frames as those can easily be hung with double sided tape avoiding nail damage. Or, go for posters.
  • Posters These might be a valid alternative to the bulkier picture frames. They can be easily hanged and removed without any damage to the walls or paint.
  • Storage cubes These are great to increase storage area and can also serve as room dividers.
  • Wastebasket Consider size, color, odor filtering and ease of use (quick open/ close). You will need one for your kitchen, one for your bathroom and one for your desk.
  • Whiteboard A dry erase board is a great tool for planning, communicating with your roommate or capturing ideas while studying. Try to go for a board as light as possible as most dorm rooms will not allow you to hang heavy things on the walls.


  • Batteries Batteries are not expensive and do have an expiration date. So don't bring too many of them. Just ensure you have a few of each type you may need (AA, AAA etc.).
  • Cell phone charger Have an additional charger that you can easily take with you around campus or for that surprise sleep over.
  • Extension cords Ensure you have at least one long and one short. Include as many splitters as possible.
  • Flash drive Campuses and dorms typically having full WiFi coverage. You should use a Cloud Storage service for backup and easy access. A flash drive is a great solution to quickly and easily transfer files with mates. Just ensure you have a reliable anti-virus protecting your laptop.
  • Flashlight A flashlight is great for finding something at night without waking up your roommate but it can also be used when walking in the dark across campus. For the latter, a heavier, stronger piece is useful for protection and is typically called a Tactical Flashlight.
  • Keyboard & Mouse. Your laptop is the work horse. Choose good accessories to work more comfortably at your dorm desk. Try to opt for Bluetooth devices that limit the amount of cables on your desk.
  • Laptop There are many cheap yet powerful laptops on the market. Don't go for a heavy machine as you will be carrying it around campus. You need to strike a good balance and in our opinion a 13inch is the right size.
  • Laptop lock These are useful in stopping the opportunistic thief. Make sure you have a strong lock to avoid someone picking up the "wrong" laptop. Always connect it to something that is strong and not portable itself.
  • Media Streaming device Easily stream & share content from your phone/ tablet/ laptop to a nearby TV/ screen. Possible alternatives are Google Chromecast, Amazon FireTV, AppleTV and Roku.
  • Power bank A useful device which gives you extra juice during the day. Try to invest in one that has at least 10,000 mAh for multiple phone charges and possibly your laptop as well. Phones typically have 2,000-3,000 mAh, tablet around 13,000 and laptops even more.
  • Microwave There are oven-microwave combos that save you on space but might be pricier. Check in advance if one is required and the space available.
  • (Mini) Fridge Check in advance if required and the space available.
  • Printer Before purchasing this bulk device, check with your college if they accept digital assignment handing in. If so, you might be able to skip this item.
  • Printer ink Most printers these days are cheap yet their ink expensive (a typical bait and switch). Before settling on a printer, double check the ink ongoing cost to calculate your TCO (Total Cost of Ownership).
  • Surge protector Unlike a power strip, a surge protector will .... hmmm.. protect your devices from a power surge! It's definitely worth the extra. Pay attention to the number of ports, supports UL 1449 certification, a minimum of 700 joules protection and a clamping voltage of less than 400V.
  • Speakers Portable speakers of high quality are not expensive. Consider your roommate before blasting your jam.
  • Toaster (oven) Toasties are an easy quick snack to make and you can even use a toaster for grilling food like suasages, veggies, salmon and more.
  • (Portable) vacuum cleaner There some new models which are quite small but still provide a lot of cleaning power (our favorite is Dyson - but that's quite pricey). Remember that you probably do not have a lot of storage space for it.

Office Supplies

  • Backpack Beyond housing your laptop, your backpack should keep your phone, notebooks, books and extra goodies. Although a messenger bag might look cooler, you should balance the weight on your whole body and ensure your bag has adjustable straps. Try to test drive as many bags as you can before settling for your favorite.
  • Calculator Depending on your major, you will need a simple calculator or a scientific. Don't forget that most smartphones these days already have a calculator. Try it out first.
  • Folders Even though we live in a digital world, you will probably still have to manage some paper notes and paperwork. Go for the initial minimum. You can always add more later.
  • Highlighters, Hole puncher, Paper clips, Pencils, Pencil sharpener, Ruler, Scissors and Staple remover Depending on your study style and digital friendly school, these might be obsolete.
  • Index cards Useful to write down notes and for study sessions. Studies have shown that writing down your notes helps in memorizing them.
  • College Mini toolkit Make sure the basics are included: screwdriver, nails, hammer, pliers and a wrench
  • Notebooks Depending on your style, a notebook can be useful to write down all your todo's and notes. Maybe it is easier to use your phone or tablet for this.
  • Post-It Buy packs of different colors. You can use them as dividers or bookmarks.
  • Printing paper Useful for your printer as well as scrap paper.
  • Tape Try to go for both thin and wide tape. You will probably not need much of it so 1 set should suffice.


Bring the standard sets of clothes, underwear, winter-wear and sportswear. Beyond that don't forget to bring the following.

  • Pajamas Check the typical dorm room in advance and dress for the right temperature. Studies show that sleeping with less clothes and a lower temperature make for a better sleep.
  • Sports clothes Include running, swimming and overall gym clothes. Being in good shape helps your mind study better.


Instead of bringing here a long list of groceries, we have limited the list to items that are specifically related to college. Bon appetit.

  • Breakfast bars For the missed-the-alarm-third-time-in-a-row mornings where you have no time not even for cereal.
  • Cereal A low cost high value breakfast option. Just add milk and stir.
  • Chips Great for having people over. Try to have several flavors which your new friends will appreciate.
  • Granola bars Go for low sugar high fiber bars. Stick with ingredients you can recognize and try to have them as meal replacements.
  • Mac 'n' cheese Quick pop into the microwave and you are ready to eat. Just watch out for the high caloric count.
  • Nuts
  • Peanut Butter & Jelly (PB&J)
  • Popcorn
  • Ramen noodles
  • 5-hour energy


  • Can opener
  • Coffee cups/ mugs
  • Coffee travel mug Where you go, your coffee goes as well. Helps you keep a dynamic and active schedule.
  • Coffee maker Can save you a lot of money buying coffee at the cafeteria and time having to leave the dorms.
  • Cups
  • Dish detergent
  • Dish towels
  • Measuring cup
  • Mugs
  • Paper plates
  • Paper towels
  • Tupperware For keeping leftovers and meals the family bring on their visits.
  • Utensils
  • Ziploc bags Highly useful to bring your meals for the day and save on the cafeteria.


  • Bath towels Balance function with style. Go for denser heavier towels as they typically last longer and absorb more.
  • Bathrobe A great chance to depart from the style your parents chose for you and make your own stamp. Like towels, you need to combine function and style. Bear in mind the dorm climate and the season.
  • Curling iron Choose the right barrel size (1-2 inches for loose curls or up to 1 inch for tighter ringlets). Heat setting should not exceed 400 degrees.
  • Disinfectant spray For those of us who are germophobes. Don't overstock as this can be bought cheaply once you arrive.
  • Flip flops Avoid any nasty foot disease by always using flip flops especially in communal bathrooms.
  • Hair dryer
  • Shower caddy If you have your own private shower, this is a real treat. Try to fit your products into the caddy WHILE shopping. This will give you a good feel as to how it all fits together. Try to scale back your products to essentials only.

Medicine cabinet

  • Acne cream
  • Antacid With all the junk food you are going to consume, you need something to soothe your tummy.
  • Antibiotic cream
  • Band-aids Go for a pack that includes multiple sizes and is not too big.
  • Birth control & Condoms Be prepared as you never know what will happen in college.
  • Cough drops
  • First aid kit Naturally, you can make your own kit but typically it is cheaper to buy a ready made kit which includes all the necessary items and comes in a well marked box.
  • Hot/ cold packs A new lifestyle which may include increased physical activity might cause those muscles and joints to strain. Be prepared with a good set of packs but always read the instructions before use.
  • Pain reliever Bring the same type you are used to from home. Although you can always buy more on campus, since they are usually quite small and you don't want to go shopping with pain, stock enough for the semester.
  • Thermometer Since you might be sharing this device with others, a "no touch" infra-red type is preferable. Although newer devices that connect to your smartphone and remember readings are a nice gadget, how often do you really get sick and is it worth the extra cost?


  • Cosmetics
  • Cotton balls
  • Dental floss
  • Feminine products
  • Hair brush/ comb
  • Hair conditioner
  • Hand lotion
  • Hands sanitizer Helps you stay healthy and away from other people's germs right before finals.
  • Mirror
  • Mouthwash
  • Nail clippers
  • Q-tips
  • Razor/ Shaving machine
  • Shampoo Larger bottles will offer better savings yet are more difficult to carry around. Buy one smaller bottle of the same brand which you can always refill.
  • Shaving cream
  • Soap
  • Sunscreen A must in these days of global warming if your school is in the right climate zone.
  • Tissues
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Tweezers


This might be the first time you actually have to do your own laundry. Don't fret, it's not that difficult. Check that you have all the required items on the list. Ask a parent to help you run a few laundries at home to get the hang of it. It is good to help your family.

  • Clothes hangers
  • Dryer sheets
  • Fabric softener
  • Iron + Ironing board In case your laundry room does not already include one.
  • Laundry detergent
  • Laundry bag
  • Quarters As most dorms have communal laundry services, make sure you carry enough for your next runs.
  • Stain remover
  • Sewing kit

Cleaning supplies

  • All purpose cleaner
  • Broom
  • Dish cloth
  • Dust wipes
  • Garbage bags Match bag size to your bins and opt for strong drawstring bags.
  • Room re-freshener
  • Scrub brush
  • Toilet bowl cleaner


Always have copies in case originals are lost. We also recommend you keep a digital copy of your documents in the cloud (GMail, DropBox or the Checklist App) and on your smartphone in case you need to quickly access them (or forward via email). Just ensure sensitive documents are protected behind a strong password.

  • Bank info
  • Car registration
  • Checkbook
  • Credit / Debit card Keep a copy of the cards front and back as well as emergency numbers to call in case you need to have them quickly cancelled due to theft.
  • Driver license
  • Emergency contacts list In case you have lost your cell phone, you might not have on hand any of your emergency contacts.
  • Financial aid forms
  • Medical insurance card
  • Passport For across the border sneaks for some sun, sea and R&R.
  • Renter insurance
  • Social security card
  • Student Id


  • Bike + Helmet + Lock Useful to get around campus as well as to / from work/ friends. Don't go for a flashy expensive model as those are always target for thieves.
  • Safety whistle Walking around campus at night will make you feel safer if you carry one within close reach. Add a string so you can hang it on your neck for easy access.
  • Umbrella Depending on the season, it's useful to have one around. Just opt for a small fold-able model.

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