Back to School: College Checklist

We know that college prep is stressful for everyone. And with move-in day quickly approaching, there’s little time to figure out everything you need. So we’ve put together a comprehensive list of college living essentials to help save time (and stay stress-free!) throughout the planning process.



Remember to contact the school to check what size bed is provided (or if beds are provided!) to ensure you have all the right materials. Many campuses supply Twin XL beds and mattresses as opposed to standard Twins so be careful when shopping for bedding. In addition, mattress pads are always a great idea for those not-so-soft dorm beds.

  • Comforter*
  • Sheet Sets (2-3)*
  • Pillows (2-3)
  • Mattress Protector
  • Mattress Pad


(Photo Credit: Pinterest)

Vertical space is your best friend when trying to squeeze everything into a tiny dorm room. Bed risers like these are a great option (if your bed is not already lifted) along with lots of underbed storage containers to keep everything organized.

  • Underbed Storage Bins
  • Bed Risers
  • Over-the-door Organizer
  • Hangers
  • Drawer & Shelf Organizers
  • Clip-on Bedside Organizer


Whether you pick them up now or wait until you get to school to save valuable travel space, make sure you don’t forget these essential items! Textbooks are generally sold on campus, but many websites like Amazon or Chegg have great deals for popular books.

  • Backpack
  • Calendar
  • Sticky Notes
  • Pens & Pencils
  • Portfolio (for career fairs and interviews)
  • Planner
  • Notebooks
  • Binders
  • Index Cards
  • Stapler
  • Hole Puncher
  • Paper Clips
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Envelopes
  • Stamps
  • Calculator*
  • Clicker*
  • Desk & Chair*
  • Desk Lamp*


Learning how to do laundry for the first time can be a daunting task, but don’t worry—we have tips for teaching your kids laundry basics here, and our convenient unit-dose products are foolproof. Don't forget to bring plenty of quarters for the machines!


General cleaning supplies are great for those “weekly” (ahem, pre-parents weekend) cleaning sprees. We know that most college kids won’t be jumping at the chance to clean their dorm or apartment, but they’ll definitely thank you after they realize just how good a clean room feels.

  • All-Purpose Cleaner
  • Hand Duster
  • Vaccuum
  • Broom & Dustpan
  • Trash Can & Bags
  • Glass Cleaner
  • Paper Towels


One of the biggest differences between high school and college is the ability—and expectation—for kids to use laptops for classes. Whether they prefer Mac, PC, or even a tablet, Best Buy has some great options for everyone. And remind them to have a couple of flashdrives on hand for easy access to all of their work.
  • Laptop & Accessories
  • Surge Protector
  • Extension Cord
  • Flashdrives
  • Headphones (2)
  • Cell Phone & Accessories
  • Alarm Clock
  • Ethernet Cable*
  • HDMI Cable*
  • TV*
  • DVD/BluRay Player 


When it comes to dorm bathrooms, shower shoes (or even just a pair of plastic flip flops) are a must. And shower caddies like this adorable one will keep your kid from juggling every hair product, soap, etc. with every trip to the shower. Just be sure that they dry it thoroughly after each use!

  • Shower Caddy
  • Shower Shoes
  • Towels (3-4)
  • Washcloths (4-5)
  • Loofahs (3-4)
  • Toothbrush


Even if your teenager’s dorm does not have a kitchen, they’ll still use things like cups, cereal bowls, and plates, so a small stash of dishware will really come in handy for those lazy Sundays or snacks between classes. In addition, be sure to confirm which appliances (if any) are provided, and which are allowed.

  • Dishware (plates, bowls, cups, etc.)
  • Utensils
  • Reusable Water Bottle
  • Travel Mug
  • Filtered Water Pitcher
  • Ice Trays
  • Storage Bags & Containers
  • Microwave*
  • Hot Plate*
  • Mini Fridge*


(Photo Credit: Tumblr)

Get creative with decorations! Pictures of family and friends are perfect additions of home to your teen’s new space. Some other popular decorations are fun lighting, wall decals, posters, bulletin boards, and more!

  • Pictures
  • Picture Frames
  • Wall Art*
  • Adhesive Hooks
  • Rug


And for those unexpected moments like a power outage or even a head cold…

  • Medication (prescription & general over-the-counter)
  • Earplugs
  • Playing Cards
  • Ice Packs
  • First Aid Kit
  • Sewing Kit
  • Tool Kit
  • Emergency Lamp/Flashlight
  • Umbrella

*Check with the school or landlord to see what is provided, what is necessary, and what is allowed according to safety regulations.


Bonus: Want to win the ultimate dorm room package? Enter our sweepstakes HERE and get a chance to win an awesome package with products from Solé BicyclesBissellOnezip Wear, and Dropps!