Your Must-Have Dorm Packing List: Advice from an Experienced Student  

As I reflect on my completed freshman year of college at Texas State University, I remember how nervous I was leading up to my move-in day. I tried to play it cool and hide my anxiety from my family and friends, but I felt permanently sick to my stomach leading up to move-in day. I was about to transition to a university of approximately 30,000 students, none of whom I knew, after graduating from a senior class of 10. I also was nervous about making friends at a well-known party school as a conservative Christian.   

*Spoiler alert: everything turned out wonderfully, and I had nothing to worry about.*  

In addition to concerns about my social life, I worried extensively about buying all the right things and decorations for my dorm. I brought too much stuff and felt overwhelmed in my dorm because it was cluttered.     

To help other women start college and move into their dorms for their freshman semester, below is a list of what I used from the things I brought to the dorm and some general tips for your move-in process. Only purchasing the essentials will help you save money and space in a cramped dorm!  

  • Twin XL Bedding. (Even though they’re cute, you don’t need the bed skirt and the ten decorative pillows.)  
  • Electronics and their chargers. (A computer is needed for your classes.)  
  • Clothes for the fall season. (Please don’t bring your entire wardrobe even though you’ll want to; you’ll likely go home during the breaks or on some weekends, and then you can switch out your wardrobe.)  
  • A power strip surge protector so you can plug everything in; the dorm will probably only have one outlet.  
  • A lamp for your desk. This will be useful at night, especially if you have a roommate and want to be courteous to her.  
  • Storage bins with wheels will fit under your dorm bed even if it’s not lofted.   
  • A hanging closet organizer for towels, purses, and shoes (if a shoe organizer is not already built into your closet.) 
  • A laundry bag to put over your shoulder when you travel to the laundry room/building. If you want to be extra you could get this LoveShackFancy laundry bag. (I had a rolling laundry basket and wished I had brought a bag instead.) 
  • If you will be sharing a communal bathroom like I had to (my condolences to you), you will want these shower shoes and a plastic shower caddy. I had a cloth shower caddy at first, and it quickly created mold.  
  • A mini fridge. I didn’t bring one initially, but I ended up purchasing one quickly after. I went the whole year without a microwave or a coffee machine though.   
  • Framed or printed pictures of you with your loved ones and friends for decoration. This will help make your dorm feel more personalized without copious decorations and without breaking the bank. It’s also nice to surround yourself with some memories from home!
  • An air purifier for your dorm: I used this mini one because I did not have space for a large one, which is more affordable.  
  • A notebook.  
  • Slippers to wear in your dorm.
  • Every student needs a copy of You’re Not Alone: The Conservative Woman’s Guide to College for advice on campus issues! 

Tips for moving in and dorm life:   

  • Don’t worry about having everything; if there is something you forget to bring or didn’t know you’d need, all you’ll have to do is walk over to the Target or convenience store on your campus and buy it. Don’t sweat it; it is better to bring less and buy things when you get there than to bring too much and be stuck with it.  
  • Keep your decor minimal. I took too much stuff to make the dorm look nice, and within a month, I tore down all the fancy wallpaper and art I purchased.   
  • Only bring what you use every day. (Cosmetics, supplements, books, etc. I had drawers and shelves full of stuff I didn’t use all year because I brought things I wasn’t using at home anyway. Every inch of space makes a difference when you’re in a small space like a dorm.)
  • Look up pictures of your dorm and the room plan for reference when purchasing and packing things.  
  • If you’re going to have a roommate, I recommend texting her ahead of time to introduce yourself and coordinate who will purchase and bring what.   
  • Be courteous to your roommates and the other girls on your floor. Please communicate with your roommate before bringing friends or company over to ensure she’s okay with it, and do not disturb the other girls on your floor.    

I hope this essential list is helpful for you, but ultimately, please know that everything will be okay. Even if you bring too much stuff or not enough, and if you’re terrified of going to college, it won’t be long before you look back and feel silly for worrying about it. Also, your freshman year will fly by! And if you are concerned about meeting like-minded friends like I was, I would highly recommend joining Bible studies and conservative groups on your campus as soon as possible (go to your school’s organization fair). I met my best friends from my NeW chapter and cannot imagine my freshman year without NeW and my Bible studies.   

Please feel free to contact me on Instagram at @virginiaking_ if you need someone to talk to. You’ll do great, and I hope you have an awesome freshman year!  

This blog was written by Virginia King, NeW Summer Chapters Intern, NeW Brand Ambassador, and NeW at Texas State University President.   



Receive the latest news and alerts from the NeW team.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.