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Knowing what to pack for college can be a huge stress. It is incredibly easy to over pack because you think you’ll need every item you own. Remember the limited space you’ll have! With that in mind, here are some Dos and Don'ts of college packing.

My first tip is to be sure to coordinate and make a plan with your roommate. Microwaves are important to have and all but who really needs two? Make a list of things you will both need (and can share) and split the items down the middle. For example, one roommate could bring a TV, full length mirror, and a microwave. The other roommate could bring a mini fridge, window curtains, and coffee maker. Things you may not think of but really, really need....

  • Shower caddy with handles
  • Shower shoes! These are a must....
  • A first aid kit. For those pesky paper cuts
  • Lots of storage containers (stackable ones will save a lot of room, plus the under-the-bed type are great to store sweaters and workout clothes)
  • A large laundry hamper is a must. I would suggest getting a tall one rather than a wide one. It’ll fit easier into a corner and take up less space. Get waterproof lining (think WET TOWELS) and/or mesh so it can breathe.
  • Be sure to bring at least one outfit that is appropriate for an interview.
  • Good headphones. I used mine all the time. While at the gym, studying at the library, for when people in the hall are being loud when you’re trying to read, you name it! Ones that will last through a few years are good to have. I love the Sony headphones that block out all outside noise. They are expensive but worth it due to the noise blocking feature.
  • A desk lamp comes in handy while doing your makeup or for studying while your roommate is sleeping. The clip on lamps that can clip on the back of your bed are great, too.
  • Don't forget cute dorm bedding, of course! American Made Dorm has all the bedding you need, plus they ship directly to school. If you are flying, this is a great way to save money (on shipping) because it will all be waiting for you when you arrive.  A nice, thick, comfy mattress pad is also a must have. Dorm mattresses are typically hard and uncomfortable and you definitely won’t regret spending more money for a great night's sleep every night!

Pink Dorm Bedding Pink Duvet Nautical Dorm Duvet Navy and White

  • A real luxury that won't break the bank is a dorm headboard. American Made Dorm offers these velcro-on headboards that can be selected in any fabric to match your comforter. They are 3 inches thick with foam and a wood back, and believe me, you'll love leaning back on a comfy foam headboard way more than on a cement wall!


  • Closet curtains. Did you know that new dorms (most, anyway) do not have closet doors? Who wants to look at all those clothes and shoes and mess. American Made Dorm has closet curtains that hangs with ribbon ties on a spring rod that serves as a "closet curtain". Hide the mess!

  • Wallpaper! You can buy peel on and peel off "wallpaper" and cover the wall by your bed. It's another way to make your dorm a home. 
dorm wallpaper to make your dorm a home
  • A rug. It just makes the room feel more like home. Even if you place the rug over dorm wall to wall carpeting, it can change the whole look of your room.

dorm rug to make your dorm a home

Other tips:

-There’s no need to bring ALL of your clothes at once! Bring seasonal clothes so your closet won’t get as cramped and then switch them out when you go home!

-If you plan on participating in sorority rush, bring plenty of dresses that are cute and comfortable.

-DIY organizing materials are a cash saver and can turn out really cute! No need to buy tons of expensive trendy materials.

-Try not to over pack. It’s extremely hard to do this, but keep in mind your limited space AND that you will be sharing it too!

-Be sure to bring command strips to hang all of your beautiful wall décor! This is an easy item to forget.

Finally, be open-minded and have a great time. College should be some of the best years of your life, so be sure to make the most of it! 

Need help with your dorm decor? Contact any of our dorm design team at and we'll contact you promptly!

Written By Jill Marlowe, College Intern, American Made Dorm

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