Parents should supervise what their freshman packs to take to college with them to be sure the student has what is truly needed in that small dorm room to make it a “home away from home” and a good place to study.¬† All the suggestions in this article should be adapted to your student’s own situation. For some of these items, it might make more sense to buy them when you arrive in the college town.

Remind your student to pack for one season at a time. When the student comes home for the semester break, they can change their clothing for the season ahead.¬† If the student is going to room with someone from their high school, they can get together before leaving and split their “needs” list. If their roommate is someone they don’t know, contacting the roommate to discuss preparing their dorm room is a good way to “break the ice”. They will get to know each other as they plan together for what to bring.

Today many dorms have suites that share a kitchenette outfitted with a refrigerator and small cooking space. Most students have no problem remembering to bring their electronics and their clothes. This list focuses on the items students may not readily think about when packing for college.

What You Might Not Remember But Need to Bring College Checklist

Dorm Room Essentials

  • Bedside Lamp (and light bulbs) as well as Desk Lamp (and
    light bulbs)
  • Under-the-bed Storage Boxes or Trays
  • Small Fan (the A/C can go out)
  • Small Trash Can
  • Folding Drying Rack for Laundry
  • Mini-Toolkit (including Phillips head and slotted
    screwdrivers, assorted screws, a hammer, wrench)
  • Picture Hangers (double sided tape for concrete walls or
    whatever the school allows)

Kitchen Essentials

  • Bowl, Plate, Mug, Plastic Glass, Eating Utensils
  • Water Bottle
  • Can and/or Bottle Opener
  • Food Storage Containers (microwavable)


  • HDMI cord, Ethernet cord for computer – DON’T FORGET THE
  • Surge protectors for ALL electronics
  • Extension cords
  • 3 Two prong adapters
  • Camera and extra batteries
  • Cell Phone plus BOTH room and car chargers

Linens and Laundry Supplies

  • Clothes hangers
  • Extra pillow, blanket, towels (one set is NOT enough)
  • Lint brush
  • Mini-sewing kits (with several needles, white and black
    thread and white buttons)

Desk and Office Supplies

  • Memory cards and USB flash drives for plenty of storage
  • Printer paper
  • Stackable desk trays (4 or more)
  • Plastic container with snap-shut lid loaded with:
    stapler, staples, pens, pencils, pencil sharpener, paper
    clips, 3X5 index cards, sticky notes, binder clips, rubber
    bands, tape, scissors, multiple colors highlighter pens,
    ruler, stamps and envelopes.


  • Plastic container with snap-shut lid loaded with:
    Tylenol or other pain reliever, antacid, vitamins, cough
    drops, anti-diarrheal meds, antibiotic  ointment, burn
    ointment, sun block, adhesive bandages, Ace bandage, hydrogen
    peroxide, tweezers, nail clippers, cotton swabs.
  • Shower caddy and shower shoes


  • Two or three pairs of sneakers or other comfortable walking
  • More casual clothes than dressy ones
  • Raincoat- always have a raincoat or rain parka. Always.
  • Two sets of business casual clothes on hand.

With Roommate: Plan Together and Share

  • Small Coffee or Hot Pot
  • Audio Equipment
  • TV and DVD
  • Area Rug
  • All-purpose Cleaner
  • Dish Soap
  • Trash Bags
  • Paper Towels
  • Wet Wipes
  • Facial Tissues
  • Toilet Paper
  • Food Storage Bags

The Bryerson Family Education Blog hopes this checklist helps you add some items you have not yet thought to pack for your student’s trip to college this year.

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