The Ultimate Dorm Room Packing Guide

May 31, 2019
8 min read

The Ultimate Dorm Room Packing Guide

Preparing to go off to college can seem overwhelming and daunting. Ordering, packing, and shipping can seem stressful and confusing for an incoming freshmen (and your parents!). If you feel like this, you aren’t alone! We’ve talked to college students who have just left their dorms or lived on campus and have given us the run down on exactly what you need and helped us provide you the ultimate dorm room packing guide before your big move.

Read through this article and take a deep breath, because we’ve got your back!

What should I bring to my dorm?

There are suggested items and then there are items that you just need to have to either make your life easier, or to make sure you aren’t running around week 1 collecting what you might have missed from your list.

Here are the top items we suggest are “must-have” items for your dorm.

1. Bed Risers

Bed risers are one of the most popular purchases for dorm rooms! Most dorm rooms will have low beds with little to no storage space underneath. In such a small space, it is important to create as much room as possible for your items. Bed risers give way for under bed storage organizers and bins for seasonal clothing, food items, and school items you don’t need every single day, but want to have nearby.

Here are some you can purchase from Amazon:



You can choose a few different options, a 2″ or 3″ memory foam, or an all-in-one mattress topper with anchor bands and a zipper. You can also add to the plush with a fiber bed mattress topper that will make you sleep like the Queen or King you are!
Purchase here:

Sleepyhead Mattress Topper 3-inch/Twin XL

3. Two sets of sheets

Yes, two! You will want bring more if you don’t think you will get around to washing your sheets once a week. For most dorms, your bed is your sitting area, common area, sleeping area, etc. It is important to keep your space clean! One of the most important aspects of picking sheet sets aside from the vibe you are looking to go after, is the size! Dorm beds are a TWIN XL for the most part, so don’t make the mistake of a Twin, which is too short, or a Full which will be too long.
Here are some our favorite sheet sets made just for dorm beds:
Purchase here:

Dormify Cotton Deluxe Sheet Set (Choose your color)

4. Comforter or Duvet + Duvet Cover

A comforter or duvet with a duvet cover do so much more than simply keep you warm, they are integral parts of your dorm decor! A great looking comforter or duvet that is soft and plush will make a huge difference in creating a home-away-from-home feel to your dorm. If you go the duvet with duvet cover route, pick an easy slip on, slip off option to clean.


Shop this look:
Purchase items here:

Bed Bath and Beyond Duvet Cover TWIN XL

5. Shower Tote

Showers are typically shared spaces in a dorm, so you will want to easily carry your stuff from dorm room to bathroom easily. Keep all of your stuff in once place, store it easily, and forget having to hop in and out of the shower to retrieve your razor… it’s all there!

Here are some of our favorite shower totes:

Purchase items here:

Amazon Shower Caddy

Bed Bath and Beyond Shower Tote

6. Storage and Organization Bins

As we explained (see #1), dorm beds can be raised with bed raisers that will infinitely provide you with extra storage and space that is much needed. Storage bins are GREAT for storing items you might not use every day in the far back (think seasonal clothing, extra sheets, bedding, etc.), while items in the front can be used for food storage, socks, clothing, supplies, and more!

These are some really great items that will easily store under your bed and can be hidden with a long bed skirt. You can also read our article on staying organized in your dorm, Marie Kondo style for inspo.

Here are some storage bins that can go in your closet or under your bed:


7. Tapestries and Wall Art

One of the easiest ways to glam up your dorm is to choose your own wall art or wall tapestry to make the room feel warm, inviting, and your style!

PB Teen

Here are some of our favorite tapestries and wall art:

What should you NOT bring to college?

There are some commonly brought items to dorms that just aren’t allowed. If you are questioning whether or not an item like a microwave is allowed, do a quick search with your college or call your Admissions office to see if there are items that are banned.

Here are some common items you don’t need to bring with you.

🚫 Toasters, Portable Stoves, Convection Oven: These items can trigger smoke alarms which makes them a dorm room no-no. And, let’s be honest, no one wants to smell your pan seared ahi tuna down the hall… they just don’t.

🚫 Family heirlooms and expensive jewelry: As obvious as it might seem, lots of college students agree that they brought way too many valuables that ended up getting lost at a frat party, stolen, or just not used at all.

🚫 TV’s and Printers: Major items like a television or printer should be divided up with your roommate. Whether you know her/him or not, have a chat and split up big dorm purchases printers and TV’s so you don’t have two of the same thing. Read our article on 25 questions you should ask your future college roomie for more inspiration.

🚫 Excessive seasonal clothes: Depending on where you are coming from and the college you’ve chosen, you might not need some of your seasonal clothing at all! Pack away your winter gear if you are headed to Florida from New York City, or bring a new puffy jacket if you are coming from Florida and going to school at Duke.

Pro Tip on Packing and Shipping

If you are a student driving to your college or university, consider picking items up at stores like Bed Bath and Beyond . Some items like toiletries you can actually ship directly to your dorm all in one box. If you are flying in from out of town, pick a shopping destination that you can swing by and grab all your major items like sheets, comforters, duvets, etc. instead of costly shipping from one state to the other.

Last but not least, give yourself ample time. It is not too early to start thinking about what your list should consist of and shopping for the items you know you want. Check out our basic list below! We have outlined some of the most common items you can get today or save for pickup when you fly into your new hometown.

Send us an email at to see our extended list with shipping, packing, and pick-up options that will fit the needs of both in-state and out-of-state student’s wants and needs.

Don’t see something you want featured? Let us know! We can send you information and links to just about anything and everything you desire for your dorm.

Basic Checklist

Feel free to save our checklist, or for a more extended version, send us an email at

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Warby Parker