College Packing Guide: What to Bring and Not to Bring to Your Dorm

college girl holding two boxes
Woman holding cardboard boxes in her apartment

It’s your first year of college, or maybe just your first year at a new institution, and it’s time to put together your college packing list. Determining what to bring with you and what can stay can seem daunting because living in a dorm at college is vastly different from living in your room at home. Between roommates, residential assistants, and dining halls, dorm life can be overwhelming to transition to. Instead of stressing, making lists, and thinking through rationales, let Go Store It Self Storage help ease this transition for you. Here’s what to bring to your college dorm, why, and some advice on how storage can make your move to college feel even more seamless.

Types of Things to Bring to Your College Dorm

Most college dorms don’t come with a lot of storage and closet space. That’s why it’s important to be precise and smart about the clothes, supplies, furniture, and other belongings you bring along with you. When choosing what to bring you’ll need to consider a few things. First, determine whether or not your dorm is fully furnished. Most dorms are, making it easy for you to leave big furniture such as beds, desks, and dressers behind. Depending on your school, you might consider bringing supplemental furnishings such as a lounging chair or futon.

The next thing you’ll want to consider is your roommate (if applicable). If you can, reach out to your roommate before move-in day and coordinate who is bringing what so there aren’t any unnecessary duplicates taking up space in your room. Some items you’ll want to discuss include a mini-fridge, microwave, coffee maker, television, and more.


While it may be tempting to bring your entire wardrobe with you to college, that’s not the most practical choice. When packing, consider the weather you may experience and the activities and events you’ll go to and determine which garments will be best to bring along and which should stay behind.

Here’s a list of clothing to consider bringing:

  • Casual wear:  t-shirts, jeans, pants, skirts, cardigans, sundresses, belts, shorts, socks, easy-going footwear, and undergarments.
  • Business attire: Dress pants or slacks, blazers, button-up shirts, ties, and dress shoes.
  • Gym and leisurewear: tank tops, tennis shoes, gloves, leg/arm warmers, hoodies, and compression fatigues.
  • Elemental attire: Jackets, heavy winter coats, boots, sunglasses, scarves, and swimsuits.

Some of these suggestions can obviously overlap into different categories (i.e. tank tops as both workout wear and casual wear), but the idea is to make you think of what you have, what you think you’ll need, and not to bring more than necessary. If you’re having a tough time condensing the number of clothes you’d like to bring, consider renting a student storage unit. That way you can store your winter seasonal clothes when you don’t need them, then swap them out when it starts to get cold again.

Toiletries and Supplies

Because you’ll be living in your dorm room every day, you’ll want to have your favorite toiletries and bathroom supplies to use. Some of the things you want to pack include:

  • Hygiene products: deodorant, soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash, razors, and nail clippers.
  • Hair and skin products: hairbrush, combs, hairdryer, skincare products, and hair products.
  • Towels: face towels, body towels, and hand towels.
  • Laundry: detergent, dryer sheets, and laundry bag.

Other things you might want to consider bringing are a shower caddy to help transport your toiletries to and from the bathroom as well as flip flops or shower shoes for community bathrooms.

Bedding and Other Comfort Items

While away from home, it’s important that you’re as comfortable as possible. Be sure to pack your sheets, comforter, duvet, small blankets, mattress pads, and more to make your space feel like home.

School Supplies and Tech

Let’s not forget that the reason you are moving into your dorm is to study! Make sure you have all the supplies you need to be successful in your classes. Some of the supplies you’ll need are pens, notebooks, textbooks, highlighters, index cards, binders, a backpack, and more. You might be able to refer to your syllabus for specific supplies you’ll need to buy. You’ll also need a laptop or tablet to take notes and turn in assignments, so be sure you pack those devices along with their chargers.

Extra Things to Consider

Some other things that will be helpful to pack are organizational items such as whiteboards, calendars, bulletin boards, planners, and similar items that will help keep you organized and on track. Don’t forget to bring decorations such as posters, photos, and tapestries that’ll showcase your style and personality.

What Not to Bring to Your College Dorm

There are several things that you probably don’t need to bring to college, either because it’s not wise, not allowed, or already provided by the school. Be sure to review your school’s dorm policies beforehand, but some common things that are not allowed in dorm rooms include:

  • Pets
  • Candles or incense
  • Window AC units
  • Air fryers or hot plates
  • Toaster
  • Electrical space heater

A lot of these items are a hazard for dorms and small spaces and can potentially get you in trouble, so try to avoid bringing them to your dorm.

Let Go Store It Make Packing For Your Dorm Easy

Go Store It Self Storage is a convenient, affordable, flexible storage option available for new and transitioning college students. When moving into your dorm it can be overwhelming to move and organize all your belongings at once. Or maybe you just need a place to keep certain seasonal belongings until they’re relevant. Self-storage is a solution that can help take the stress and ease off of college prep by giving you a space to store extra belongings that are available to you whenever you need them.

With a wide selection of storage unit sizes, friendly staff that provide helpful storage tips, and student discounts, Go Store It is here to help. Get started now by finding a storage facility near you or by renting your unit online now!

More From Go Store It

Find a Unit Right for You Today!

Rent or Reserve Now