Off to College! The Ultimate Checklist for Your New Dorm Room

Off to College! The Ultimate Checklist for Your New Dorm Room

Checklist for New Dorm Room

Going off to college can be an exciting time. It can also be a little scary for parents and students both.

For the student preparing for your freshman year, there may be some sort of anxiety about leaving the familiar for the unknown. Not to worry, however, as there are lots of new experiences waiting, new friends to be made and a whole world to discover in your studies.

If you're a parent, sending your young adult into the world is a wonderful moment yet nerve-wrecking at the same time! The good news is, getting prepared for college life will help you both by giving you something productive to focus on.

In fact, here are some tips to help you (the student) prepare to settle into dorm life and get ready (parents) for the big move-in day!

Plan Ahead

If you got the chance during a college tour to see the dorm you're staying in, then you may already have an idea of the space you're working with.

If not, see if there is information on your dorm room in the materials you received from the school and form a list of what you'll need. 

You also may want to coordinate with your roommate ahead of time, if you're given that option. This way, you can decide who will bring which communal items such as a full-length mirror, coffee pot or area rug. 

Sometimes it's the Little Things

Don't forget the little things that can be useful in a pinch.

A first aid kit can be helpful if you need a band-aid or some aspirin. It can also be a great way to make friends when other people know you have those items because they will seek you out.

Also, a sewing kit can come in handy to replace a button or fix a tear.

These are just a few examples. Being prepared for life's little emergencies will never be a waste of money or space. 

Organization is Key

Keep in mind that your dorm room will not be very big. So, organizing things will help prevent clutter and offer you more space. Purchasing organizational items might have to wait until moving day, but there is no reason you can't brainstorm now.

There are certain items you know you'll have like shower items and clothing. Developing a plan will help you when you finally get a look at the area and see what you have to work with.

Having a place for everything will mean that everything is more likely to stay in its designated space and less likely to land on the floor or hiding under the bed. 

Communal Living

Communal living has its perks. There are always lots of people around who are in the same situation you are. The downside is, there are always lots of people around.

So, if you're using a communal bathroom, then you may want to invest in a few items such as a bathrobe, shower caddy and flip flops for your morning trip to get ready for school.

You may also want to invest in earplugs or a white noise maker such as a fan to help keep down on the noise when you are trying to sleep. 


People are likely coming in and out of your room-- one of the perks of communal living.

Yet, you may not always know who is coming through or how trustworthy they are.

For that reason, it's a good idea to have a small safe with a lock to hold your valuables like your wallet, money and any jewelry. You can get small safes that look like a dictionary or other ordinary items.

You'll have a safe place to store your valuables where nobody will think to look for them. 

Don't Skimp on the Bedding

This is a big one that many matriculating college students recommend to freshmen.

You may not realize how much time you'll spend on your bed when you are in college, but your bed will likely be a popular hangout spot. You may sit there to study or use it like a sofa to watch movies with friends.

So, for this reason alone, go all out for your bedding. A thick, brightly colored comforter will look friendly. Get lots of pillows for your back and for guests when others are hanging out.

And don't forget to do something nice for yourself by getting nice sheets. Lifestyle Marketplace has twin XL sheets in a ton of colors, including your college colors.

Besides, you've earned it!

Make Friends

Of course, you want to make friends. That is all part of the fun.

Making friends can have a practical side, too. There is no way that you'll think of everything. Just as people may seek you out for your first aid or sewing kit, so too, are friends a great resource for the things you don't think of.

The RA is another recommended resource, too. He or she has been there longer, knows the ins and outs and can give you great advice about scheduling, campus activities and extracurriculars. 


Whether you're sending your fledgling out of the nest or you are the fledgling, preparing for college is something you can do together. Use this checklist for your new dorm room to give you something productive to focus on. It'll help alleviate anxiety over the impending departure while making this an exciting time.

And, of course, it'll also give you one last opportunity to spend time together before the school year starts.


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