Getting ready for college can be a fun yet scary task.  There are so many details to think about and items needed.  There are tons of lists online, but some  were so extensive it was overwhelming.  While we wanted our son to be prepared we knew that for some things he would just need to get there and actually see what was needed, so  we opted for a  basic college checklist.

Really (if you have a boy) most things can be purchased easily (and quickly). We were able to get almost everything in one stop at Walmart

getting ready for college

College Checklist for Dorm Living

Use this checklist to make sure you have everything you need. These are just only suggestions! You will want to  adapt this list to meet your own needs.

Don’t overlook buying items online to save from packing or shipping. Walmart offers in store pick up so items can be ordered online and picked up when you arrive.  It also might make sense to buy some of these items after you arrive.

Printable College Checklist

Room Needs/Storage

  • Alarm clock/clock radio (nice to have a back-up incase cell phone looses it’s charge)
  • Trash can
  • Desk lamp / Bedside lamp (there might not be space for both)
  • Fan
  • Drying rack for laundry
  • Bulletin board and pushpins or Dry-erase board/calendar
  • Mini tool kit (screwdriver, hammer, wrench)
  • Picture hangers (like Command Strips)
  • Storage solutions (Know you room first before making purchases. Many dorm rooms loft the bed and place the desk and dresser under the bed so there is no room for under bed storage
  • Posters/Art/Photographs to make the room feel at home

Linens/Laundry Supplies

  • Sheets and pillowcases (2 sets. Most dorm beds require extra long 80 inches)
  • Towels (2 each of bath, hand and face)
  • Pillows
  • Mattress pad
  • Blanket
  • Comforter/bedspread
  • Clothes hangers
  • Laundry bag/basket
  • Laundry detergent, fabric softener and stain remover
  • Lint brush
  • Mini sewing kit

Office/Desk Supplies

  • Electronic storage media such as memory cards and USB flash drives
  • Stapler and staples
  • Printer paper (many dorms provide a printer if there is a computer lab but do not provide paper)
  • Pens and pencils
  • Pencil sharpener
  • Notebooks
  • Folder with pockets
  • Labels of various sizes
  • 3 × 5 index cards
  • Sticky notes
  • Paper clips and binder clips
  • Rubber bands
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • Highlighter pens (multiple colors)
  • Ruler
  • Filing box or Stackable desk trays
  • Stamps and envelopes


  • Laptop (printer is optional; there are usually computer labs where you can print)
  • Portable speakers (if you want to play music from laptop/MP3 player)
  • HDMI cord, Ethernet cord for computer (check if your room has wireless)
  • Multiple outlet with surge protector
  • An extension cord
  • Headphones
  • Cell phone


  • Antacid
  • Cold medicine
  • Pain relievers
  • Vitamins
  • Antidiarrheal medicine
  • Adhesive bandages, antibiotic ointment (small first-aid kit)
  • Cough drops
  • Shower caddy
  • Shower shoes (flip-flops)
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Hairstyling products
  • Bath and face soap
  • Toothpaste and toothbrush
  • Dental floss
  • Comb/brush
  • Tweezers
  • Nail clippers
  • Hair dryer/straightener/curling iron (we didn’t need any of this)
  • Lotion and/or facial moisturizer
  • Cotton swabs
  • Sunscreen
  • Disposable Razors and shaving cream………


  • Underwear
  • Socks
  • Pants/jeans
  • Shirts/blouses
  • Sweats
  • Pajamas
  • Slippers and/or flip-flops
  • Sweaters
  • Light/heavy jackets
  • Gloves/scarf/hat (winter weather gear as needed)
  • 1 pair of boots
  • Athletic shoes or comfortable/walking shoes
  • Business-casual clothes
  • Dress shoes
  • Swimsuit

Household and Kitchen Items

  • Paper towels
  • Trash bags
  • Lightbulbs
  • All-purpose cleaner
  • Plastic storage bags
  • Food-storage containers
  • Dish soap
  • Wet wipes
  • Tissues
  • Bowl, plate and cup
  • Coffee mug
  • Water bottle
  • Silverware
  • Can/bottle opener
  • Cleaning supplies for bathroom


  • Umbrella
  • Backpack
  • Sports equipment

Shared Items — Check with roommate(s)

  • Audio equipment
  • TV and DVD player
  • Coffee Maker/hot pot/microwave, if allowed
  • Small refrigerator (if one isn’t provided)
  • Area rug if needed
  • Broom

It gives me peace of mind knowing he has everything to begin this journey comfortably! Oh we miss this boy!

off to college

About Cindy Hopper

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  2. This looks like a complete list. The Schick razors even give two extra, a good time to buy two packages.

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