My College Move-In List

Here’s a small piece of advice: if this is your first time moving out of your house and into a college dorm, don’t wait until the week before move-in to start packing. Unless you’ve been to this rodeo a few times and still have all your dorm room items tucked in the corner of your room somewhere, then you should be fine. For the most of you, you’ll probably end up packing way more things than you need, and the stuff you managed to pack in your four door sedan probably won’t fit when you move out at the end of the year. Trust me, I was there my first year when I moved into a dorm at my residential high school. I wanted to basically bring my whole room with me, it managed to fit, but then when I moved out, we barely had enough space and had to throw away a few things. I pack pretty lightly now that I know exactly what I need to bring up. Almost all of you will make this freshman mistake of overpacking, but don’t sweat it. Live and learn next year. Without further adieu, here’s my recommended college move in packing list.

Laptop: This is probably your most important investment ever for your collegiate experience. If you don’t already have one, go ask for one. It doesn’t need to be expensive, but it does need to be functional. Make sure it has a word processor, a slideshow creator, and a program for spreadsheets, and is capable of browsing the internet. Most, if not all, of your professors will email you about the class or have an internet application that will update you on assignments, upcoming tests, and announcements. Most schools will generally offer them to rent, but personally I like to have my own. Buy one that will last you 4-5 years even if you have to drop a lot of money on it, it’ll be better in the long run.

Clothing: Self-explanatory. But don’t forget to pack some sweaters, at least one coat, jeans and sweatpants (or hangars, to hang it all up). Depending on where you go, it can get really cold, and if you don’t go home until winter break or at all, you’re going to want to be well prepared for the elements. Pack a few pairs of shoes, at least one for active wear and another for everyday or casual wear. Lastly, don’t forget to pack some formal clothes. For guys, black shoes, black socks, nice dress shirt and tie, black slacks, and a jacket. Ladies, heels, a variety of dresses for professional or more formal use. If you prefer, you could bring a female variation of a business suit. You’re going to have a lot of opportunities to meet future employers and important people who can change your future, make sure you’re dressed properly for these occasions.

Toiletries: You know what you use to take care of your personal hygiene. Toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, nail clippers, shower accessories, and any grooming accessories etc. Don’t forget shower sandals. Most colleges have public showers and bathrooms and you don’t want to tread there barefoot. Like I said, you know what you use to keep yourself clean.

Cosmetics: You need to look good and smell good too. I won’t even pretend that I know all the makeup terms, but you know what you use to look good. Foundation, mascara, lipstick, eyeliner etc. Make sure you have all the necessary hair care products, as well. Don’t forget perfume and cologne!

Sheets and bedding: Most colleges will not provide you with any sheets or bedding. So you need to bring your own blankets, pillows, and covers. I believe the standard dorm size beds are Twin XL, but check and be sure. You don’t want to buy the wrong size bedding!

Dining: Forks, knives, spoons, plates, and bowls are a must. You’re going to be doing a lot of dining in your dorm room, and you’ll need proper tools to eat them with. I prefer washable utensils, plates, and bowls to throwaways. I don’t mind washing them, but that’s more of a personal preference than anything.

Laundry: Chances are you’ll have to do your own laundry once you’re in college. Don’t forget to bring your laundry detergent, fabric softeners (I always use them), and quarters. Lots of quarters. Laundry can get pretty expensive.

Backpack: Your old high school backpack might not cut it anymore. Purchasing a strong, sturdy backpack is another good investment for college. You’ll be doing a lot of traveling to different parts of campus for classes, and a good backpack will never fail you. I invested in a nice Swiss Army backpack for my two years at the Academy and it will remain my trusty companion at IU.

School Supplies: Whatever you bought for high school classes like notebooks, binders, paper, folders, pencils, pens etc. should work for college. Although, I would recommend packing a bit more on supplies because you will be doing a lot more work and taking more notes than you were in high school. Don’t forget to snag a graphing calculator or bringing your old one you were comfortable using.

Electronics and Appliances: TV, fan, toaster, fridge, microwave, camera, desk light, surge protector, blender and tablets etc. Don’t forget to bring your chargers for your devices! This one is almost entirely up to you, if you think you need it, go ahead and grab it. Otherwise, it might not be worth the moving space,

Food: I mean, this is pretty self-explanatory. I would pack a few favorite snacks, canned foods, and lots of ramen. Personally, I never move in without two cans of Pringles and a box of chicken and Korean ramen. I don’t recommend packing any perishables like fruit or bread, there should be plenty of shops and convenience centers on your campus where you can stock up on those. Don’t pack too much food either, you’ll most likely find your favorite snacks on or near campus and it’ll save you some packing space.

Memorabilia: This could be anything that reminds you of your home and where you came from. You’re going to be gone for a while and every now and again, you’ll miss your home and it’s nice to have something to remember it by and feel at ease when things are not going so well. I myself, have a photo of my girlfriend and me, and one of both our families. You know what items make you feel at ease so bring those. That can range from a stuffed animal, to a CD collection, to your favorite book, to an award you are proud of winning, or to your grandmother’s necklace.

Miscellaneous: Any documents you might need or are required by your school, decorations for your room, some extra money, sports equipment if you play sports, any musical instruments, headphones, speakers, and gear representing your school, stuff of that nature.

This isn’t the most comprehensive compilation of college supply lists, but it gives you a rough idea of what you should or can bring. Check with your school’s policies to make sure you can bring certain electronic appliances inside the dorms. I know the Academy didn’t allow us to bring toasters.

Aside from that, you really shouldn’t have any problems. Before you buy anything necessary, make sure you check to see what is already provided in your dorm. Most of the times it’s the bare minimum: desk, chair, lamp (maybe) and beds (usually bunked). Look at the wardrobe size so you don’t end up packing your whole closet and not having enough room.

Also, before you make any big purchases like a fridge, TV, or futon, ask your roommate and see what they are bringing. There really is no point in bringing two TVs or fridges. Make sure you guys communicate and divide the load up. If you have anything you want to add below or any questions, make sure to leave a comment!

Before I close this post, I would like to give a shoutout to Dorm Co. They have been a great resource for myself and plenty of my Academy friends for almost all our dorm room needs. They carry almost anything you can imagine that’s dorm room related and the best thing? Well, there’s four best things. 1) Their shipping for the contiguous United States is only $2.95, no matter your order size. Sorry Alaska and Hawaii. 2) They can ship it straight to your college dorm room so you don’t have to haul it up. 3) After you pay, they will ready your order to ship straight from Brooklyn, NY within 24 hours and you’ll have it to your destination within 5-10 business days depending on location. 4) They’re constantly having sales and deals so you don’t have to break the bank getting ready for college. Those are the biggest perks, I think. Go give them a visit here!

More later,


Here’s a quick look at my dorm. Please don’t be super enthused, I don’t pack a lot or go on a decorating fling so yes it looks boring, but here’s what most of them will look like!

Steven Lin

Founder - CEO at Vicero Designs LLC
IU Kelley School of Business 2020. Entrepreneur.

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