Packing for the Dorm: What to Bring (and Leave at Home)

July 17, 2018
Posted in Student Tips
July 17, 2018 ACS

As you’re planning your freshman year at college, you might find yourself bombarded with advice. Even planning the move into your dorm room will raise questions. Yes, there are plenty of checklists online, telling you what to bring and what to leave, but ultimately the answers come down to your personal preferences and lifestyle. Most of those checklists are fairly accurate, but they won’t always outline everything you need. Some of them will also omit things you do need!

So, another approach to planning your move is to ask yourself a few questions, such as…

How far away is your college? If you’re headed to a dorm only an hour from home, you can probably return frequently for items you’ve forgotten (or someone can bring them to you). On the other hand, if you  discover that you’ve packed too many unnecessary items, it won’t be difficult to send them right back to your bedroom at home.

On the other hand, you’ll need to plan more carefully for a long-distance move. In that case it is probably wiser to bring only the essentials, and add items once you’ve arrived and their necessity becomes clear to you. If you’re traveling by plane you will likely bring only your clothes and personal items, and do some shopping once you’ve arrived.

How big is your dorm room? It goes without saying that you can only pack so much into a small, double-occupancy room.

Have you consulted with your roommate? You don’t need two microwaves, for example, so consult with your future roommate and plan accordingly.

Are any items off-limits? Don’t waste packing space on items that aren’t allowed in the dorms (and yes, they will be discovered during inspections). Your school probably has a list of banned items, including things like candles and hotplates.

What items are provided? While you’re communicating with your school’s housing department, investigate whether some items are provided within your dorm. Some rooms will include a mini-fridge and microwave. Check on your closet size, since there’s no point bringing more clothes or shoes than you can fit in the room.

What’s your bathroom situation? If your dorm has communal bathrooms, items like flip flops and a shower caddy will be must-haves. On the other hand, you really won’t need these if you have a private bath.

How much time will you really spend in your room? Most college freshmen are surprised to discover that they spend very little time in their dorm rooms! You will be so busy enjoying the multitude of activities offered on campus, that you might only return to your room for sleeping or a change of clothes. So, you probably don’t need very many entertainment items, like books, games, or DVDs from home.

Bonus tip: Bring a jar for quarters. You will need these in your dorm’s laundromat, and obtaining quarters on campus can turn into a surprisingly complicated hassle!


We have two locations to serve you.
When contacting us, please let us know which location you prefer.