Dorm Packing List

Going off to university or college can be incredibly exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time. Here are a few things to include on your packing list to make those first few months away from home that much more comfortable.

  1. Your favourite mug . Nothing starts off a school morning better than a hot cup of coffee or tea in your favourite mug. You’re going to wake up in an unfamiliar dorm, student housing unit or rental basement apartment. Maybe you’re across from that snoring roommate you just met at orientation. Without a doubt, you’ll want to reach for a touch of homely familiarity. So, grab that mug with the sleepy owl on it that says, “I’m not a morning person” and get your fix.
  2. Sweatpants . We can’t stress this one enough. Like most incoming students, sweatpants will become your informal school uniform. Writing a paper late into the night? Sweatpants. Late to class? Sweatpants. Hanging out with friends in the common room? Sweatpants. Departmental dinner with professors? Well, probably not sweatpants. But you get the picture.
  3. A winter coat . If you’re off to school anywhere in Canada, chances are the first time you’ll go home is Thanksgiving. Or, Christmas break if you’re really in it for the long run. All those light sweaters you pack might serve you well for the first few weeks of September, but they won’t do much in late November when even penguins are hiding from the cold. We’re looking at you, Calgary.
  4. Picture frames . Pick up a few picture frames before you arrive. Fill them with photos of the people you’ll inevitably miss: your parents, your hometown friends, your siblings (yes, even them), and your hamster, Nibbles. And make sure to bring a few extra frames to fill with photos of friends you’ll make along the way. Trust us, the ones in the bookstore cost a fortune.
  5. Headphones Okay, this one is a bit of a no brainer. But it’s one of those things that’s always worth reiterating. DON’T forget your headphones. You’ll need them in the library when you’re watching YouTube explainers on that reading you missed, as much as you’ll need them when your roommate is baby-talking to their dog on Skype.
  6. Formal outfit . This one serves the exact opposite purpose of those sweatpants you brought. You will need this at that formal departmental dinner. You probably won’t need this one every day. But for the right circumstance, you’ll want to have something a little classy on hand to help you mingle by the wine and cheese plate… or with that cute international student in your psych tutorial.
  7. 7. First aid kit . Accidents happen. And so do colds. You can never be too careful, and the last thing you’ll want to do when you’re lying in bed with a flu is go to the corner store to pick up medication. Have a few of the basics on hand for when you really need them. And remember, you’re an adult now. So, no one can tell you not to get the SpongeBob Band-Aids. That’s your prerogative and yours alone

The Ultimate Packing List for your Dorm

Shared Items — Check with roommate(s)

  • Audio equipment
  • Coffeemaker/hot pot/ microwave, if allowed
  • Small refrigerator (if one isn’t provided)
  • Area rug
  • Posters/art


  • Antacid
  • Aspirin or other pain relievers
  • Vitamins
  • Antidiarrheal medicine
  • Adhesive bandages, antibiotic ointment
  • Cough drops
  • Shower caddy
  • Shower shoes (flip-flops)
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Hairstyling products
  • Bath and face soap
  • Travel soap container(s)
  • Toothpaste and toothbrush
  • Dental floss
  • Comb/brush
  • Tweezers
  • Nail clippers
  • Hair dryer/straightener/ curling iron
  • Razor and shaving cream
  • Lotion and/or facial moisturizer
  • Cotton swabs


  • Underwear
  • Socks
  • Pants/jeans
  • Shirts/blouses
  • Sweats
  • Pajamas
  • Slippers and/or flip-flops
  • Sweaters
  • Light/heavy jackets
  • Gloves/scarf/hat (and other foul-weather gear as needed)
  • 1 pair of boots
  • 2 pairs of sneakers or comfortable/walking shoes
  • 1 set of business-casual clothes
  • 1 pair of dress shoes
  • 1 swimsuit

Household and Kitchen Items

  • Paper towels
  • Trash bags
  • Lightbulbs
  • All-purpose cleaner
  • Plastic storage bags
  • Food-storage containers
  • Dish soap
  • Wet wipes
  • Tissues
  • Bowl, plate and cup
  • Coffee mug
  • Water bottle
  • Silverware
  • Can/bottle opener


■ Umbrella
■ Backpack
■ Sports equipment

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