Life · Lists · Organization · Studying & School

University Dorm Packing Tips

I am getting ready to move back to my university and I have begun packing/collecting/buying the things I am bringing with me (actually I started packing back in June but we’ll pretend I’m not a nerd who’s pumped for the school year). I remember this time last year feeling completely overwhelmed by the thought of packing to move into residence. From a toothbrush to towels to a tiny bottle of dish soap, There are just so many things you need (or… think you need). Now, having one year of residence experience under my belt (another thing to remember to pack- a belt!), I feel much more calm about packing. I have collected my best tips packing for university/college dorms:


  • Just like with packing for a trip, you are going to initially choose way too much to bring. Eliminate pieces you aren’t confident you’ll wear (because you won’t).
  • If possible, pack your hanging clothes in a stack still on the hangers. That way when you get there you can just hang them back up easily.
  • Depending on where you’re going to school and when you will be coming home for break, you may not need your warmest clothes right away. You can bring them back with you after Thanksgiving break.
  • Bring a business casual/formal outfit (blazer, blouse, dress pants, pencil skirt)- you never know when you’ll need it.


School Supplies:

  • Before you invest in a printer talk to your roommate (if you have one) about splitting the cost. Alternatively, if your school offers printing services you may not need a printer at all
  • Keep in mind a lot of dorm rooms have small desks, meaning that there isn’t a lot of space for decor and organization on top of the desk if you like to spread out while studying (aka me)
  • The binder/notebook system you used in high school will probably not work in university (you might find yourself taking notes on your laptop for every class). Bring one binder and a couple of notebooks, and figure out what works for you once classes have started (ie. do not buy a different coloured binder for each class)


  • Command hooks are your best friend.
  • The system you start out with doesn’t need to stay the same the whole year; move things around as you need to.
  • Take advantage of any and all storage space (under the bed, above your desk, any shelves/closet space)


  • Choose bedding that can act as a jumping off point for your colour scheme/room decor
  • DO NOT buy so many decorative pillows that they take up your whole bed. I made this mistake in first year. Some pillows are good for leaning against to read in bed, but the TEN that I brought was a bit too much.
  • Wall decor is best because it can add a personalized touch without taking up valuable space
  • Fairy lights, photo clotheslines, posters, and washi tape are all inexpensive ways to decorate
Prime example of too many pillows 


  • Make sure you know what you need to connect to the internet in your dorm
  • Don’t forget the chargers for you laptop, phone, tablet, etc.
  • I put all of my electronics related things (chargers, phone cases, headphones) into a small plastic tote to keep them all together
  • Power bars/extension cords can come in handy (make sure they meet the safety requirements of your residence)


  • Find out if you’re responsible for cleaning your room and/or bathroom
  • If so, bring with you the appropriate cleaning tools and products (I brought glass cleaner, bathroom cleaner, lysol wipes, paper towels, a shammy, a toilet brush, and a little vacuum)
  • I brought tide pods and dryer sheets for my laundry, which is way easier than lugging a big bottle of detergent to the laundry room. (Tip: if you use a tide pod and NOT a dryer sheet your clothes will be staticky AF)


  • Limit the snacks you bring (you have a meal plan for a reason) until you know what you need
  • Try to stick to healthier snacks (granola bars, popcorn, dried fruit and nuts etc.)
  • Bring a reusable water bottle to reduce plastic waste
  • If you can take food from your caf, plastic or glass containers can help reduce waste for meals on the go/in your room
  • If you’re bringing reusable dishes, also bring a sponge and little dish soap bottle
I don’t see any dried fruit and nuts here smh

How not to get overwhelmed: 

  • Make lists- list the things you need to buy, the types of clothes you want to pack (casual, work out, fancy, comfy), the last minute things (phone charger, retainer, etc.). Lists can help you feel more in control and less like you are forgetting something
  • Go through your daily routine- I do this when packing toiletries. I go through my morning and evening hygiene routine and pack the things I use (toothbrush, toothpaste, face wash, moisturizer…).

How to stay organized:

  • Sort by category- I packed my things by categories (listed above) to help with the organization and unpacking
  • Think about where things will go- if possible, take a tour or search online for photos of your building. If you can see what the space will look like it’s much easier to plan how to organize and how much you can bring
  • Label your boxes with your name, room number (if you know it), what’s inside, and where it goes

NUMBER ONE GREATEST TIP: Don’t overpack. You might think that everything you’re bringing is 100% necessary, but you will soon find out that the mini ironing board is a pain to use and you don’t even drink coffee so why did you buy a Keurig??? (#TooReal) Just remember that unless you’re attending the University of Antarctica, you can pick up things you need after you move in and you don’t need to bring everything imaginable/on the packing list.

Me in first year…

Bottom line: you’re going to feel overwhelmed/stressed/like you’re forgetting something when packing and moving in. The best way to handle this is to be prepared and be organized. Also don’t yell at your parents during move in day, they’re just trying to help you!

Good luck everyone, I hope that your packing/move in day goes well!

– Lauren ✌︎❤︎❁

Move in day of first year (note the pillows and limited desk space :p) 

4 thoughts on “University Dorm Packing Tips

  1. Hey, Lauren!

    I’m loving your blog (followed!) but I would also like to invite you to submit a short piece to my own. I think your perspective and style of writing would be a perfect piece for my project.

    It’d also be a great way to get your blog/writing out there.

    Please feel free to email me (jennifer@youngandtwenty) with more questions, or take a look at the ‘BEING Young & Twenty’ page on my blog.

    I hope I’ll hear from you 🙂


    Liked by 1 person

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