College Dorm Essentials Back-to-School Checklist

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If you have a child soon off to college that will be living on campus, you for sure will be shopping for college dorm essentials. Here is an adapted checklist from with some of the most basic needs.

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Of course, this tops my list as it is most certainly needed for any college student staying on campus or in an apartment.  From sheets, comforters, mattress pads, and pillows, this is where you most likely want to start as it can take a major portion of your budget.

Twin XL sheets
Twin XL comforters
Throws & blankets
Mattress pads


Dorm rooms are on the small side, so having storage items to keep your child organized is key to helping them succeed in being on their own. Of course, it is also key for them to do their own laundry too. 😉

Cubbies & storage cubes
Storage drawers
Utility carts
Desk organization
Closet organization


While the purchase of these can add up, they will save money over time if your child can cook easy-to-make meals and snacks vs. purchasing food out all the time. The most important appliances I would recommend are a mini fridge, microwave oven, and toaster oven.  A coffee maker might be a nice bonus if your child likes coffee or tea.

Appliances including mini fridge, microwave oven, toaster oven, coffee maker and more

Other Must-Haves

Think essentials like a can opener, silverware, plates, cups.  A smaller desktop light would be great for late nights studying.  Bath towels, washcloths, and a hair dryer may be on your list if you don’t already have extras to spare. A water bottle is nice to carry along campus while going to class or heading for the library to study.

Water bottles

Furniture & Decor

Target lists these separately but I’m including them together and last on my list as this is the area where I would personally shop last.  Many of the items you will find here are more a nice-to-have sort of thing and not an absolute essential.  So if you are working on a tight budget, this is the area to spend the least.

Lounge seating
Area rugs

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