The Ultimate College Apartment Checklist (2022 Update)

Updated August 6, 2020
No Comments

Whether you are moving into a dorm or an apartment for college, there are a lot of basic things you’ll need to bring.

If you’re a new college student and it’s your first time away from home, this is especially true. In this post, we’re going to state the obvious things you may need, plus some things that you may have never thought of. We’ll also help out and provide a packing list for college along with dorm room essentials. Follow along for the ultimate college apartment checklist!

small room with window overlooking city park; college apartment checklist

College Apartment Checklist: Dorm Room Essentials

If you’re moving into the dorms there are a lot of things you can bring, but many you can’t. So let’s start with the basics.

Bedding & Bath

You are going to have to supply your own bedding and bring your own towels. The dorm room beds are often extra-long twin beds, so they require special long twin sheets, which you should be able to find at most department stores. You will also likely be sharing a bathroom so will need to bring your own towels, a shower caddy, and things that make it easy to go to and from your dorm room for showering and getting ready.

  • Extra-long twin bed sheets, plus an extra set for laundry day
  • An easy-to-wash comforter and throw blanket. Avoid quilts, they can be hard to wash and hang dry in your dorm room
  • A reading pillow and extra pillows can make for a comfy study nook from your bed
  • Pillows and pillowcases
  • Large towels for showers and hand towels or washcloths
  • Most colleges will recommend a shower caddy and shower shoes for the shared bathroom and showers
  • Some under the bed storage will be a lifesaver for you to store all of your bedding and towels

Toiletries and First Aid

You probably know what you need when it comes to toiletries and grooming, but make sure you have it well organized in make-up organizers or shaving kits that you can easily transport to and from places. Also, without a medicine cabinet, you are going to want to bring your own first aid kit. You can buy a pre-made one or build your own with some essentials like aspirin and cough drops, so you can easily access things like that rather than head to the health center or nurse station.

Bigos CTA graphic
  • Obviously, you’ll need shampoo, conditioner, body wash or soap, shaving cream, etc. Bring your favorite grooming products with you.
  • To make the trek to the bathroom easier, pack small travel bottles so you can leave the large bottles in your room.
  • A handheld or small table mirror if you want to get ready in your room rather than share the bathroom mirror.
  • BATHROBE. Can come in handy if you have a long way to walk to the dorm showers.
  • Some other essentials include floss, q-tips, eye drops, tissue, mouthwash, nail clippers, nail file, hair tools, hand, and body lotion.
  • First aid kit with bandaids, gauze, aspirin, cough drops, cortisone, bacitracin, antacids, antihistamines, and whatever else you need to save a trip to the health center

Bath towel and basket with accessories for spa on blur background; college apartment checklist

Laundry Items

When you move into your dorm, you are probably going to lose a lot of clothing storage and without a laundry room will have to get creative with your organization and sorting. Closet organizers will be your best friend. You can fold t-shirts and things and hang them in the closet. Plus storage bins to store large sweaters when you don’t need them can help. Make sure to have laundry bins that are collapsable or easy to carry and store. Having large laundry baskets may just take up a ton of room, and it won’t look as organized when filled with dirty laundry. A mesh laundry hamper that can zip closed and store your clothes until laundry day, then go with you is the most convenient way to manage your laundry.

  • Pack enough clothes to get you through the next 12 weeks, but not too much to where you have nowhere to store them.
  • A collapsible laundry hamper that you can easily store and carry to the laundry room.
  • Bring two hampers if you want to immediately separate lights and darks.
  • Laundry detergent, fabric softener, and dryer sheets.
  • Hangers and stackable storage drawers, or a small dresser. Clear storage drawers can make it a little easier to stay organized and see what items you have without digging.
  • Coat racks can be a space to hang your coats and hooded sweatshirts without bulking up your closet with those heavy items.
  • Buy a steamer so you can de-wrinkle clothes without having to store an ironing board.


Don’t worry, despite some prohibited items you can still decorate your dorm room to have bits of home and your own personality. Just make sure that any decor hung on the walls is with adhesive command strips that can be easily removed without damaging the walls. You can also get rugs and throw blankets. Some dorm rooms will allow string lights but double-check before packing those items.

  • A full-length mirror is decorative as much as it is functional. Get one that hangs behind the door.
  • Rugs for stylish comfort.
  • Extra seating for guests. If you don’t have room for a futon or lounge chair, bean bags and poufs work great. Poufs can stack and also work as ottomans or side tables.
  • Curtains with spring rods so you can install them without screwing anything into the wall.
  • Table or floor lamps.
  • Pictures of family and friends.
  • Medium-sized trash can.
  • Small desk if you have room.
  • Wall clock.
  • Bulletin board.
  • Small bedside table.
  • Closet organizers.
  • Bed risers to make a little more room underneath.
  • Over-the-door hooks and hangers.
  • Posters.
  • Adhesive Command Strips to hang things (no nails or screws allowed).

A young happy college female student sitting on window sill at home, using tablet and headphones when studying; college apartment checklist

“Kitchen” Supplies

Your dorm room will not have a kitchenette, nor will it allow for any appliances with heating elements like hot plates and toasters. You will sometimes be able to have a microwave or Keurig coffee maker. And if you decide to have a mini-fridge in your room, make sure it stays clean and free of spoiled food. Containers to store snacks can help keep things neat and organized instead of having open bags of chips or cereal strewn about.

  • If your dorm room allows, get a small microwave.
  • You can have a mini-fridge, as long as it’s plugged into the wall and not a power strip.
  • Some dorms will allow coffee makers or Keurigs.
  • You may want to have your own thermos, coffee mugs, and cups.
  • Electric Tea Kettle.
  • French Press.
  • Chip clips.
  • Storage containers for cereal or snacks.

School Supplies

You should be fairly familiar with school supplies, obviously, but here’s a short list of things that will come in very handy this semester.

  • A good sturdy backpack that can carry heavy books for long walks across campus.
  • Computer/Laptop.
  • A tablet if you want.
  • Notebooks.
  • Pens and pencils.
  • Markers.
  • Erasers and white out.
  • USB drives.
  • Calculator.
  • Highlighters and post-it notes.
  • Scissors, tape, stapler, paper clips.
  • Printer paper.
  • Binders and presentation folders.
  • Envelopes and stamps.
  • Bookshelf or storage.

scattered markers, pens and sticky notes; college apartment checklist

Prohibited Items From Dorm Rooms

For the safety of students and to protect the property there are many things not allowed in the dorm rooms. The majority of which are fire hazards.

  • Candles, even if purely decorative.
  • Space heaters.
  • Appliances like hot plates and toasters.
  • Dumbells or sets of weights.
  • Nails or screws in the walls.
  • Irons.
  • Incense, even if purely decorative.
  • Live plants, succulents, flowers.
  • Pets, though some dorms will allow fish in a small tank.
  • Air conditioner units.
  • Wireless routers.
  • Halogen lamps.
  • Hookahs, vapes, e-cigarettes, etc.
  • Panini maker or griddle.
  • Toasters.
  • Popcorn makers.
  • Crockpots or rice cookers.
  • Hot plates.
  • Pizza maker, like a Pizzazz.

moving into college apartment using college apartment checklist

Must-Have Items For Your First College Apartment

If you’re moving into your own apartment rather than the dorms, you will definitely find yourself with fewer restrictions but also needing more essentials not provided by your colleges like kitchen and bathroom supplies.

Some things you’ll need in addition to all of the above that will help decorate your first college apartment include;

  • Shower curtain and liner.
  • Bathroom cleaning supplies like a toilet brush, plunger, shower cleaner.
  • Kitchen cleaning supplies.
  • Vacuum.
  • Broom and dustpan.
  • Toolkit (hammer, screwdriver, small drill, level, nails, screws).
  • Dishes and silverware.
  • Kitchen utensils like a spatula, ladle, knives, cutting boards.
  • Cups and mugs.
  • Pots and pans.
  • Can and bottle opener.
  • Furniture (couch, bed frame, chairs, dining set, desk, etc.).
  • Dish drying rack.
  • Dish sponge and dish towels.

Not to mention the FUN stuff you can have now including small kitchen appliances, hanging decorations, string lights, a TV, video games, and more.

young smiling college girl sitting on bed with laptop and cell-phone; college apartment checklist

Looking For An Apartment Near Your College?

With many colleges making the call to do more remote classes, online classes, or classes with social distancing, it may have changed your plans. If a dorm is out of the question for you, or you’ve decided you prefer to move into an apartment, we have plenty to offer. Check out our available listings here and give Bigos a call at 763-367-7400 to schedule a showing!

Check out our Properties     
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Skip to toolbar