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Moving Into a Dorm: College Necessities

Moving away to college is a monumental event. It is the first step into adulthood. Living in a dorm can help you adapt to college life. Dorms allow you to live close to campus. An additional benefit of dorms is that you can visit the cafeteria for lunch and dinner. This will give you additional time to study. You can create a room that is welcoming and comfortable, but you need to be prepared. You will also need to be prepared to live with a roommate. This means that you may need to make some compromises, and work out study schedules and other ways to deal with sharing a room. You may want to pack a sleep mask and earplugs to deal with different study and sleep schedules.


The storage in a dorm room is limited but at the same time it is important to pack enough clothes to get you through the semester. You should plan on taking what will fit in one closet and one chest of drawers. Be sure that you pack for the seasons that you will be at school. Depending on where you go to school, you may need heavy winter boots and a good winter coat for college or you may just need shorts all year long. In addition to your basic clothing, be sure to pack bathing suits and any clothing you will need for specific classes. Pajamas are another necessity, and a robe for trips to the bathroom.

Dorm Room Basics

When it comes time to pack for college, you need to plan items for the comfort of your dorm room. There are certain items that are forbidden at some colleges, which are allowed at others. You will need to check to see if you are allowed a refrigerator, microwave or hot plate in your dorm room. You may want to coordinate with your roommate on these items. Here is a list of other things you may want to bring:

  • Towels
  • Wash clothes
  • Sets of sheets
  • Pillows
  • Quilt/Comforter
  • Extra blankets
  • Reading lamp
  • Pictures from home
  • Posters
  • Tape or sticky tack for the pictures
  • Lap pillow for studying
  • Mug
  • Set of dishes
  • Set of silverware
  • Laundry detergent
  • Toiletries
  • Small mirror

School Supplies

In addition to outfitting your dorm room, you will need to get the school supplies you will need for your classes. Your college may have specifics about the type of computer you need to purchase and other basics. They may also issue you a computer or tablet to use while you are at school. Check with your college before you make a major purchase. The same rule applies to calculators. Additionally, you may choose to use a computer lab for printing your papers since many professors may have you submit everything online

  • Laptop
  • Laptop case or backpack
  • Notebook paper
  • Binders or folders for each class
  • Printer
  • Ink cartridges (also keep at least one spare set)
  • Printer paper
  • Pencils
  • Pens
  • Calculator (as needed for your classes)
  • Digital voice recorder


One of the most difficult aspects of living in a dorm is the small space that you need to share with another person. It is essential to carefully plan your space to make the most of it. When you ship or pack your items, you can pack them in the things you are planning on storing them in. Rubbermaid containers are a great way to move and store many different items. You may want to invest in risers for your bed so that you can store additional items underneath it. Good organization will make it easier to manage everything you have. Here are a few must haves to make living in a dorm room manageable.

  • Shower caddy for shampoo and soap
  • Makeup bag or shaving bag
  • Laundry hamper (one that fits in a small space is preferable)
  • Shoe caddy (to hang on the closet door)
  • Rubbermaid container for extra blanks and winter clothes
  • Hangers
  • Charger for your phone and other electronic devices
  • Jewelry box

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