It finally happened. You graduated from high school, and now you get to start a new chapter in your life. In a few months, you’ll start your freshman year at a college or university, and you’ll likely have to live on your own for the first time.

This time may simultaneously excite and distress you. On the one hand, you love the idea of having more independence, but on the other hand, you’ll miss your family. You’ll also have to make many adult decisions and complete errands on your own. For example, you’ll need to buy necessities and accouterments for your dorm and somehow transport these items to your new school.

Below, you’ll find a simple guide to the things you’ll need in your dorm. We’ll also give you tips on getting these items to your new home.


Items You Should Bring

Bedroom Necessities

  • Desk lamp
  • Alarm clock (if you don’t have one on your cell phone)
  • Trash can
  • Posters and other decor
  • Command hooks, putty, or double-sided tape for hanging photos and posters
  • Storage bins for stacking in the closet or sliding under the bed
  • Bedding, including sheets, pillows, pillowcases, a bedspread, a mattress pad, and extra blankets Clothes hangers
  • Laundry basket and detergent-you should also consider bringing a drying rack Fan
  • Clothing, including clothing for formal events and for cold winters and hot summers where applicable

Bathroom Necessities

  • Pain relievers of some kind
  • Cough drops
  • Vitamins
  • First-aid kit that includes Band-Aids, cotton swabs, etc.
  • Tissues
  • Shower curtain
  • Towels, including hand towels
  • Shampoo, conditioner, and body wash/soap
  • Hand soap
  • Toothpaste, toothbrush, floss, and toothbrush holders
  • Brush, comb, tweezers, nail clippers, razor, and shaving cream
  • Makeup and feminine hygiene supplies, if applicable

Kitchen Necessities

  • Water bottle
  • Food
  • Dishes, including at least one plate, bowl, cup, mug, fork, spoon, knife, and saucepan Storage containers for food
  • Can or bottle opener
  • Dish soap and all-purpose cleaners
  • Plastic storage bags, trash bags, paper towels, wet wipes, and light bulbs

School Necessities

  • Backpack or book bag
  • Umbrella
  • Laptop
  • HDMI or Ethernet cords if your dorm doesn’t have wireless internet
  • Memory cards or USB drives
  • Printer and printer paper
  • Notebooks, index cards, sticky notes, envelopes, and stamps
  • Stapler with staples
  • Paper clips
  • Pens and pencils-don’t forget a pencil sharpener
  • Folders for organizing homework by class
  • Camera
  • MP3 player with extra headphones

Keep in mind that you may have to bring other items depending on the major you choose and the climate you’ll live in. The list above only gives you the basics. You may even want to research your classes beforehand so you can buy your textbooks and other materials in advance. They usually cost less online or at local bookstores than they will at the university’s bookstore.

You should also figure out if your dorm sits at the top of a flight of stairs or on the bottom floor. If it lies on the top floor, you’ll want to pack your items as light as possible. If it sits on the bottom floor, you can take more liberties with your items’ weight and quantities.


Ways to Transport Your Items

Now that you’ve begun compiling and packing your items, you have to figure out a way to get them to your new destination. The method you use often depends on how much your stuff weighs and how far you have to travel.

You can probably fit everything listed on this page in a large car, but only if you pack light. But do you want to drive across the country with all that stuff packed in your car? Do you want to leave your sound system, musical instruments, camping gear, or record collection behind simply because you won’t have room in your vehicle? You might do better if you transport your items using these methods:

  • Hire a moving company: If you have to move long distance, this method will prove especially convenient. You can bring more items because you’ll have more space, and you’ll have peace of mind knowing an experienced team will watch over your belongings. You’ll also get to travel at your own pace. You can fly or drive as your budget allows.
  • Ship your items in boxes: This method costs more than other methods you could use, but your items will arrive at your dorm intact. This method may also take longer. Your items could arrive long before or after you do, and no one will be there to watch them, so you should only send small, relatively unimportant items through the mail.
  • Gather friends to help you transport items: This method only works if you have to move a short distance. Your friends won’t want to take a ton of your stuff across the country in their car, especially if they have to transport their own stuff.

Choose the method that works best for your needs. In the meantime, gather the items listed above so you can start off your college years right.

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