college apartment checklist
Create a checklist for your college apartment.

Packing for College: Everything You Need to Move into Your Apartment

Attention college students! You’re probably enjoying the very end of your summer break. And while I’m not here to tell you to put down your lemonade, school is right around the corner, and you need to be prepared!

If this is your first time living on your own, you’re probably excited, nervous and maybe even a little overwhelmed. You have so much to do. And buy. But, where to start?

The truth is furnishing a college apartment will be the easiest decorating you’ll probably ever do. Start with the things you know you’ll need. Grab a notepad and take a stroll around your home. Make a list of all the items you use on a daily basis.

Score inexpensive furniture for your apartment

Of course, being on a budget can be frustrating—especially when buying furniture. Don’t be afraid to ask friends and family if they have castoffs that you can use.

Places like yard sales and thrift stores are also good sources for inexpensive chairs, tables, sofas, and pretty much anything else you may need. If the appearance of the furniture is not to your liking, get creative and fix it up: Cover sofa cushions with fabric, for instance, or paint chairs a different color.

Another option: Have a going away party. If your family and friends ask if you need anything, offer a not-so-subtle hint that you need items to furnish your new apartment.

And don’t forget to stock up on cleaning supplies. Dollar stores have loads of cleaning supplies for, you guessed it, just $1.

Make a room-by-room packing list

If you’re still nervous about forgetting to pack something, we have a list of “must have” items for you to bring to your college apartment. Going room to room, use this packing list to make sure you have the essentials for your new apartment:


  • Bedding
  • Drapes
  • Tissues
  • Rugs
  • Clock/Alarm
  • Fan
  • Mirrors
  • Storage
  • Night stands
  • Desk hutch
  • Dresser
  • Desk
  • Desk lamp
  • TV


  • Towels
  • Wash cloths
  • Shower curtain
  • Curtain liner
  • Shower caddy
  • Soap dispenser
  • Bathrobe
  • Bath mat
  • Shower curtain rings
  • Trash can
  • Toilet paper
  • Toilet cleaner
  • Plunger
  • Medicines/toiletries


  • Dishes
  • Utensils
  • Cookware
  • Sugar set
  • Salt and pepper set
  • Coffee mugs
  • Coffee pot
  • Dish towels
  • Dish soap
  • Potholders
  • Tablecloths
  • Placemats
  • Paper towels
  • Bar stools
  • Microwave
  • Trash can


  • Vacuum
  • Duster
  • Broom
  • Dust pan (metal ones are best)
  • Mop
  • Garbage can
  • Garbage bags
  • Iron
  • Ironing board
  • Laundry basket
  • Laundry detergent


  • Hangers
  • Storage bins
  • Hooks

If you have a roommate, it might be helpful to coordinate on some of these items. There’s no need for you to spend all your hard-earned money for nothing.

And, it bears saying, look into renters insurance to protect your belongings against theft, fire or some other loss. Think of what it would cost to replace all your stuff (used or not)!

Are there essentials we’ve overlooked in this college packing list? What do you make sure to bring with you?

Guest blogger Rebecca Freeman writes on behalf of, the Nation’s Leading Apartment Resource. 

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