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Dorm Essentials Checklist – What To Bring To College The First Year

Preparing for college includes the exciting task of gathering essential items to make your dorm room feel like a home away from home. From bedding to study supplies, kitchen appliances to personal items, the process of buying items for your college dorm room involves thoughtful consideration and planning.

dorm room essentials

Ensuring you have the right items on hand can contribute to a comfortable and organized living space that supports your academic journey and personal well-being. This guide will provide insights into key items to consider when shopping for your college student dorm room, helping you create a functional and personalized space that sets the stage for a successful and enjoyable college experience.

What are key items a student needs to bring to a dorm freshman year?

When moving into a dorm for your freshman year of college, you must bring items that will help you feel comfortable, organized, and prepared for your studies and daily life. Here are some key items you should consider bringing:

  1. Bedding: Bring sheets, a comforter or blanket, and pillows that fit the bed size provided by the dorm.
  2. Towels and toiletries: Pack bath towels, hand towels, and washcloths. Don’t forget your toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, soap, and other personal care items.
  3. Clothing and hangers: Bring enough clothes for various seasons, including hangers for your wardrobe. Remember to pack undergarments, socks, shoes, and accessories.
  4. Desk and study supplies: Carry essentials like notebooks, pens, pencils, highlighters, sticky notes, a stapler, paper clips, a desk organizer, and a desk lamp. A whiteboard or corkboard can also be useful for reminders and important notes.
  5. Electronics: Bring your laptop or desktop computer, along with chargers for your devices. Consider bringing a power strip and extension cord to conveniently plug in multiple devices.
  6. Kitchen and food items: Check if your dorm allows cooking appliances. If so, bring a microwave, toaster, mini-fridge, and basic kitchen utensils like plates, bowls, cups, and silverware. Don’t forget to bring some non-perishable snacks and food items.
  7. Laundry supplies: Pack laundry detergent, fabric softener, and laundry baskets or bags for carrying your clothes to the laundry room. Check if your dorm provides laundry machines or if you need to bring quarters for the machines.
  8. Cleaning supplies: Bring basic cleaning supplies such as disinfectant wipes, all-purpose cleaners, paper towels, and trash bags for maintaining cleanliness in your dorm.
  9. Personal items: Bring items that make you feel at home, like posters, photos, decorations, and any sentimental items that help personalize your space.
  10. First aid kit: It’s a good idea to have a small first-aid kit with band-aids, pain relievers, cold medicine, cough drops, and any necessary prescription medications.

Remember to check with your college or dormitory for any specific guidelines or restrictions on what you can bring. Additionally, it’s advisable to coordinate with your roommate(s) to avoid bringing duplicate items and to maximize the use of the shared space.

what to bring to dorm

What usually comes in a dorm room?

Dorm rooms typically come furnished with basic items to provide a functional living space for students. While specific items may vary depending on the college or university, here are some common things you can expect to find in a dorm room:

  1. Bed: A twin-sized bed or, in some cases, a larger bed, depending on the dormitory. The bed usually has a mattress, but you must bring your own bedding.
  2. Desk and chair: A study area is provided, usually equipped with a desk and chair where you can work on assignments and study.
  3. Dresser or closet: A storage space for your clothes is typically included, such as a dresser with drawers or a closet with hanging rods and shelves.
  4. Shelving or bookcase: Some dorm rooms may have built-in shelves or a bookcase for additional storage.
  5. Desk lamp: There is often a desk lamp provided to provide adequate lighting for studying.
  6. Window coverings: Dorm rooms usually have blinds or curtains to offer privacy and control the amount of sunlight entering the room.
  7. Wastebasket: A small trash bin is typically provided for disposing of waste.
  8. Ethernet or Wi-Fi access: Dorms generally have internet access, either through Ethernet ports or Wi-Fi, although the specific setup may vary.
  9. Heating and cooling: Most dorm rooms have heating systems for colder months and may have air conditioning or fans for warmer weather, depending on the region and climate.
  10. Shared amenities: Depending on the dormitory, there may be shared amenities like communal kitchens, lounges, laundry rooms, study areas, and common spaces.

It’s important to note that while these items are commonly provided, it’s still necessary to bring personal items like bedding, towels, toiletries, and study supplies as mentioned earlier.

Do I really need a mini fridge for college?

Having a mini fridge in your college dorm room can be quite useful, but whether you need one or not depends on various factors and personal preferences.

If your college provides ample dining options with meal plans that meet your needs, you may not need a mini fridge for storing perishable food items. However, a mini fridge can be convenient if you prefer to have snacks, beverages, or leftovers readily available in your room.

f you find yourself frequently buying food or drinks outside, a mini fridge could help you save money by allowing you to store groceries or leftovers. It can be especially handy during late-night study sessions or when you don’t feel like leaving your room.

If you have a roommate, you can discuss the possibility of sharing a mini fridge to avoid duplication and maximize space utilization. This can help reduce the cost and ensure that you both have enough storage for your needs.

freshman year essentials

What type of laundry basket should I bring to college?

When choosing a laundry basket for college, it’s important to consider factors such as portability, durability, and space efficiency. Here are a few types of laundry baskets that are commonly used by college students:

  1. Plastic laundry basket
  2. Mesh laundry bag
  3. Pop-up laundry hamper
  4. Backpack-style laundry bag
  5. Laundry tote with compartments

Consider the size of the laundry basket or bag to ensure it can accommodate your typical laundry load.

Should I get a microwave for my dorm?

Having a microwave in your dorm room can be a convenient and practical addition, offering you the flexibility to prepare quick meals, heat leftovers, or warm up snacks without relying solely on communal kitchen facilities or dining options.

A microwave can be a time-saver, especially during busy academic periods or late-night study sessions. It allows you to quickly heat up a meal or snack without leaving your dorm room. If you prefer to have more control over your meals or have specific dietary restrictions, having a microwave can be beneficial. It allows you to prepare your own meals or modify pre-packaged food to suit your preferences.

If you have a roommate, you can discuss sharing a microwave to optimize space utilization and reduce costs. This can be a practical solution if both of you have similar needs and cooking preferences.

college checklist

What appliances are not allowed in college dorms?

College dormitory policies vary, so it’s important to check with your specific college or university for their rules and regulations regarding appliances in dorm rooms. However, there are some common appliances that are often restricted or prohibited in college dorms due to safety, energy usage, or space considerations. Here are examples of appliances that are commonly not allowed in college dorms:

  1. Hot plates or electric grills: These appliances generate heat and open flames, which pose a fire hazard in dormitory settings. They are typically not allowed due to the increased risk of accidents.
  2. Toasters or toaster ovens: Similar to hot plates, toasters and toaster ovens have heating elements that can cause fire hazards. Colleges often prohibit these appliances for safety reasons.
  3. Deep fryers: Deep fryers involve hot oil and can cause significant fire hazards and produce strong odors. They are generally not permitted in dorm rooms.
  4. Space heaters: Colleges typically have centralized heating systems, and space heaters are not allowed due to the potential for electrical malfunctions, fire hazards, or overload on the electrical circuits.
  5. Air conditioners: Most dorms have central or window-based air conditioning systems, and individual air conditioners are often not allowed due to energy usage and potential damage to the building’s electrical systems.
  6. Portable dishwashers: Dorms usually have shared kitchen or dining facilities, so portable dishwashers are typically not allowed due to limited space and plumbing considerations.
  7. Washing machines and dryers: Colleges often have designated laundry facilities for students to use, and individual washing machines and dryers are not allowed in dorm rooms due to plumbing and electrical requirements.

Do you need dishes for your dorm?

Yes, having a few dishes and eating utensils in your dorm can be helpful for convenience and practicality. While college dining halls often provide meals and utensils, having your own dishes can be advantageous.

Consider bringing the following essential items for your dorm dishes:

  1. Plates: Bring a few durable and microwave-safe plates for meals and snacks.
  2. Bowls: Have a couple of bowls for cereal, soups, salads, or other dishes.
  3. Cups and/or mugs: Bring a few cups or mugs for beverages like water, coffee, or tea.
  4. Eating utensils: Pack some forks, spoons, and knives for eating. Consider reusable options or a small set of disposable utensils if washing dishes is inconvenient.
  5. Microwave-safe containers: If you plan on using a microwave, having a few microwave-safe containers with lids can be useful for storing and reheating food.

Remember to check with your roommate(s) to avoid duplication and make the best use of shared space. It’s also a good idea to have some dishwashing supplies like dish soap, a sponge, and a drying rack to keep your dishes clean and organized.

college freshman checklist


Sunday 17th of April 2011

my daughter had a similar little first love. they met at daycare when she was only a year old and were always best buddies. as they got older he would tell his mom that he was going to marry my daughter. we moved away after she finished kindergarten, and i hate to admit that i haven't kept in touch. i still think of him often though.

Nikki @ Mommy Factor

Wednesday 13th of April 2011

Oh gosh how precious. May he never break her heart! First true love is so wonderful. I still remember mine. Good memory.


Tuesday 12th of April 2011

It's funny because as a teen and young adult, I was ultra-independent and did not need a boyfriend, lol, BUT in grade school the cutest boy in school, David Matthai, and I were boyfriend/girlfriend for years and even talked marriage! Marriage in the cute, little way that kids talk because they assume it's just "what you do". I remember we even kissed, hahahaha


Tuesday 12th of April 2011

Ah young love : )


Tuesday 12th of April 2011

Soo cute!

Mine was a boy named Robert. I remember girls picking on me because it wasn't cool to hang out with a boy.

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