How Important is it to Make a Packing List for a College Apartment?

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Making a packing list for a college apartment may seem like a waste of time, but it can actually help you to save money and time on your move.


Dorms almost always come with a bed and a desk. Some people who reserve loft beds like to bring a small couch or chair to go under it. If you are renting an unfurnished apartment, stick with the essentials and add more later.

Items to bring (unless already provided):

  • Bed
  • Dining table (if in an apartment)
  • Desk
  • Couch


Most dorms have twin extra-long mattresses, so make sure when you get sheets, they are the right size. Many items are easily forgotten, so make sure you think through your daily routine to ensure you don’t forget anything

Items to bring:

  • Pillow
  • Sheets and blankets for bed
  • Alarm clock
  • Towels
  • Toiletries like shampoo and soap
  • Cleaning spray and rags
  • Laundry basket, laundry soap and dryer sheets/balls, quarters if the machine is coin operated.
  • Hangers
  • Small sewing kit

Kitchen Stuff

Even if your dorm has great food options, you may find yourself wanting to eat during hours the cafeteria isn’t open. Having a few basic kitchen items can help:

  • Can opener with bottle opener attachment
  • Microwave
  • One set of silverware
  • A cup or mug
  • A plate
  • Microwave
  • Dorm sized refrigerator
  • Trash bags
  • Medium to large microwave safe bowl (you’ll need this for all the Ramen)
  • Food: Ramen, hot chocolate mix, tea and some snacks like chips or pretzels are staples. Depending on your tastes, canned fruit, Clif bars, dried fruit, or nuts may be a nice addition. For perishables, you may want yogurt, Odwalla drinks like Mango Tango or Superfood, Vitamin water and string cheese.

School Supplies/Office

Having supplies on hand for school will bring you some peace of mind and prevent last minute dashes to any store that might be open late-night.

Items to bring:

  • Notebooks
  • Pens and Pencils
  • Highlighter
  • Notecards
  • USB Drive
  • Blank CDs for burning projects or assignments for your professors
  • Stapler
  • Small tool set (screw driver, hammer, pliers)


Electronics will be the most used items in your room in college. Getting ones you know how to use easily and reliably is highly important.

Items to Bring:

  • Computer: go for a laptop. Reliability for something that holds your academic future is highly important, and this is not the place to try to save money. Get a good one, get insurance on it, and chalk it up to a necessary expense for success. You will be glad you did later.
  • Printer
  • iPod or other mp3 player and a great set of headphones
  • Digital camera

Leave Behind

  • Iron and ironing board: most student don’t use them.
  • Paper shredder: most students don’t use them.
  • Dictionary: Internet access has rendered the paper dictionary obsolete. Leave it behind.
  • Hot plate: usually prohibited
  • Phone card: use skype

Fun Stuff

Items to bring for maximum fun:

  • Musical instrument like a guitar or keyboard if you play one (just be sure not to disturb students while sleeping or studying)
  • Deck of cards
  • Frisbee/football/volleyball
  • Neon signs
  • Posters or artwork
  • Video games
  • Bicycle and bike lock

By putting some thought into what you’ll bring to your new college apartment, you will be able to streamline your move and make sure you have what you need for maximum college fun.

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