Preparing for Dorm Life

Your housing decisions have been made and the time has come to start preparing to set up your new living space. When you indicated your housing preferences, you probably had a good idea of what your room would look like and the furniture that would be provided. Your school has probably indicated what it allows and prohibits in each living arrangement. Refer to those rules while checking off the lists of what you will pack for your dorm. If you’ve already engaged with your roommate, you might also have a conversation about who is contributing what to your dorm room setup. Consider proximity to the school. If one or both of you is flying it might be helpful to shop together closer to campus for larger purchases.

Dorm Packing List

A printable college dorm packing list will help with your preparations for moving into a dorm. Print the list to update as you purchase essentials over the summer and carry the list with you to complete last-minute items at a store near school. Some schools offer partnerships with home merchandise stores to deliver directly to campus. If there is a Bed, Bath and Beyond store near your school of choice, investigate their “Pack and Hold” program. It allows students to see items at a store close to home and then order them to be held for pickup at the store location of choice.

College Kitchen Essentials

Colleges that offer apartment style housing usually supply some level of furnishings. Investigate what that includes when it comes to your kitchen space. Equip your kitchen with everything you’ll need to simplify preparing meals in college housing. 

Click here for a Printable PDF checklist of myDORM kitchen essentials.

Before a Break

If both you and your roommate are leaving campus for an extended break, there are some simple preparations you can make to ease your transition back to school. Most schools have housing policies that define holiday closing and opening dates. Make sure that your travel schedule coincides with availability of housing.

  • If you brought anything of significant value, take it home with you. If there are valuable items you are unable to take home, do your best to hide them.
  • Throw away all perishable items. Clean out your mini-fridge and dispose of any dry goods that may attract pests.
  • Empty your personal trash bin into a universal receptacle in your hall or trash room.
  • Unplug appliances.
  • Close your windows and lock the door. Keep your keys safely in a place that you’ll remember to bring them back to school with you.

Moving Out

Unfortunately, moving out of your college dorm is not nearly as exciting as moving in. Even if you’ve chosen to stay in the same dorm or same room, it is usually necessary that you move your belongings in entirety for the summer. Research storage options at least one month prior to your last day on campus. Privately run off-site storage facilities fill up due to student move outs. It may be helpful to pool your things with other students in a larger storage space if you all can agree to share the costs of moving and storing your things. 

  • Use a reputable, safe reselling service to eliminate having to move or store unwanted items. Look into Facebook groups, OfferUp, LetGo, etc. to either give away or recoup some of your spending on items that aren’t worth the trouble or expense of storing. Ask around to determine which app or service students in your area have successfully used.
  • Sell textbooks back to the re-seller of your choice.
  • Return campus owned items (such as a microwave or mini fridge) according to the policies of your lease.
  • Discard items that you will no longer need. Some college campuses offer a bulk pick-up date in the final weeks of the year for unwanted household items.
  • Get creative with trash bags. Balancing move out with finals and your desire to get off campus often leads to hasty end of year packing.Purchase a box of large recycling bags. They are clear and come with cinch top ties so that you can easily pack linens, pillows and other soft items in a way that allows you to see what’s inside as well as easily secure and carry them.
  • Consider lightweight, non-wheeled duffle bags for packing.Like trash bags, oversized duffels can accommodate bulky, lightweight items like linens and clothing, but they are acceptable for travel by airplane. Although they are somewhat challenging to carry as compared to a wheeled suitcase, their benefit is that they are completely collapsible and can be folded and stored very easily throughout the school year.
  • Check and recheck all drawers, desks, cupboards and closets.
  • Carefully remove items from walls and repair any damages before final inspection.
  • Review the specific process your college instructs for final inspection and key turn in.

  • Leaving Home

    Missing home, family and friends is a normal part of the adjustment to college life. Get tips and advice for dealing with homesickness in college.

  • Dorm Room Essentials

    A comprehensive college packing list to help ensure you’ve packed all of the college dorm essentials.

  • Roommates

    Whether you are able to choose your college roommate or one is assigned to you, use these tips for making your college roommate experience successful.