Packing for College and Moving into your dorm

Packing for College and Moving Into a Dorm

As an incoming freshman, thinking about packing for college has probably occupied your mind all summer. Did you pin a huge college shopping list? Have you taken multiple trips to Target to pick everything up? Now you must figure out how you’re going to move it all into your tiny little dorm. Packing for college is way more stressful than figuring out what you need in the first place!

There are so many things to learn about, like lofting your bed and figuring out your parking situation.

Packing for College and Moving into your dorm

Choosing when to move in

If your campus has designated time slots for moving in, make sure you sign up early to get a good time! Things to consider:

The weather – In Colorado in August we tend to get rain in the afternoon. Schedule a morning or late evening time to avoid getting everything drenched.

Do you need extra help? – if you’re moving in by yourself, it might be helpful moving in during the day so move-in volunteers can help you out.

Find a storage facility for extra space.  Do you have items that you need to have near by but just don’t have room for in the dorm?  Rent a self-storage unit to store your extra belongings.

Finding Parking

Some campuses have fantastic parking areas, others not so much.

Try to find parking right next to your dorm’s entrance. Keep in mind, you might need to get a parking permit.

If a close spot isn’t available, you’ll have to find a nearby campus parking garage or lot. Bringing your own foldable cart can really help in this situation!


Don’t move in at the same time as your roommate. There will not be enough room. It’s easier if you are the first to move in!

Try to find out who your roommate is and get in touch with them.  Let them know when you’re planning to move in and how long you think you’ll need. Overestimating is okay! Give yourself at least three hours so you don’t feel rushed.

During this call you can coordinate who’s bringing what in terms of shareable items like TV’s, microwaves and coffee makers. Try to balance things out as much as possible so you’re not having to pack too many large items!

Packing Materials

A combination of small plastic tubs and sturdy tote bags can be very helpful.

Keep boxes small and reasonably lightweight. If you end up having to carry everything into your dorm by hand, you won’t want to end up with huge boxes that are difficult to carry! Reusable grocery bags make things easy to carry and limit how much you can put in them.

Garden of the Gods Self Storage has every kind of packing supplies you might need to move.

Things to Bring when moving in

Bringing stuff for the actual purpose of moving in and setting things up is something people forget about. There are several things you should have handy:

  • A rubber mallet – if your dorm bed can be lofted, you’ll need a rubber mallet to change its height.
  • Cleaning supplies – Bring some cleaning wipes to freshen things up.
  • Scissors – opening boxes, cutting zip ties.
  • Wall mounting strips – with the limited space in dorms, you might need to hang things on the walls or the side of your bed. Bring a few 3M Strips and hooks of different sizes for hanging things like towels, pictures, and jewelry.
  • Trash bags – you’ll be opening tons of stuff, so have a few trash bags handy for all that plastic wrap and cardboard. They’re also helpful if you get caught in the rain!
  • A cart – Having something with wheels is incredibly helpful.

Basically, just don’t count on borrowing anything from your dorm’s front desk.

Student Packing Tips

In the end, there are a lot of things you’ll want to bring, but a few things you definitely need to bring. Make sure you check your school website before shopping though, because some schools already provide things like microwaves and mini fridges or might not allow things like extension cords and string lights.

College Beds

Dorm beds can be extremely uncomfortable. A mattress pad can help you get a better night’s sleep. Mattress and pillow protectors can help if you deal with allergies!

Make sure you know the size of your mattress. Most dorms have twin xl beds, so you might have to shop online to get more options!

Dorm temperatures are also very unpredictable. They can get very cold during the night, so bring an extra blanket just in case.

Clothes to bring

If you bring your cold weather gear, it can be helpful to rent a small storage space to store the big bulky clothes when you don’t need them.

Have a business-casual outfit on hand just in case. You never know when you’ll end up with an interview!

Bring shower shoes or flip flops. Don’t be that person walking around the community bathroom barefoot.

Bring one or two swim suits for the occasional lake trip or pool party. You most likely won’t need more than that.

Bring a laundry hamper, and laundry bag for taking clothes to the laundry room.

Bathroom Supplies

Bring at least two big bath towels. That way you won’t be needing to do laundry every week, because you won’t want to.

Shower caddies are awesome and they will make your community bathroom life much easier.

Bring lots of feminine products. Campus stores are totally overpriced, and you might not have time to take the bus to a grocery store!


Having a laptop is very important before heading to college. Being able to write papers and do homework from your dorm or anywhere else on campus, will make life easier. Some majors make it almost impossible to do well without on.

Power strips are a necessity in some dorms, where each side of the room only has one outlet.

If you are using extension cords, make sure you’re allowed to bring them!

Bring headphones!! Living with someone else is great until they want to go to sleep while you’re about to start a new episode.


Don’t pack anything that requires refrigeration. You can stop by a local grocery store after you arrive at your campus!

Buy your favorite dry foods, but don’t go overboard. You most likely will be eating in the cafeteria.

Bring plastic cutlery and paper plates/bowls. You’ll get tired and won’t have time to wash stuff.

Bring reusable water bottles. It will save you time and money.

Keurigs are amazing and save you lots of money!! It also means not having to worry about how much time to budget for a line, so you can sleep in a bit longer.


A first aid kit is important. Bring allergy meds, cough medicine, stomachache reliever, pain reliever, and any other medications you tend to use. Throw in some bandages too.

Things to Leave at Home

  • Anything sentimental that doesn’t fit on a bulletin board– You just won’t have the space. Take flat things like pictures and notes to hang on your walls instead.
  • Decorative pillows– They’re cute, but they just get thrown on the floor.
  • A printer–The library printer is probably all you need. Some dorms have printers in their main lobbies or computer labs.

 Tips for Moving Day

  1. Bring a few water bottles and some snacks.
  2. Remember anything you were told to bring by your RA or school
  3. Be patient and stay calm
  4. Disinfect everything.
  5. Loft your bed
  6. Wear something comfy!
  7. Try not to bring more than three people with you.
  8. Take pictures!
  9. Don’t try to make everything perfect on day one.

Packing for College and Moving into a dorm can be a stressful experience.  But being fully prepared beforehand and making sure you have enough storage space can help make the transition a smooth one.  Congratulations and good luck in your studies!