Whether you’re leaving for college to live in a dorm for the first time or moving into your own apartment off campus, the list of items you’ll need is a long one! Luckily, we’ve done the research for you and found the best places to find great deals on all sorts of things, from extra-long twin sheets to a brand new laptop. If you’re not sure where to start (or just want to double-check that you haven’t forgotten anything), here’s our Ultimate College Dorm Packing List!
Although dorms usually come furnished (check with your school to find out what exactly is included in each room), apartments typically do not. So, what you’ll need will vary depending on whether you’ll be in a single dorm room with communal bathrooms in the hallway, a suite-style dorm room with a bathroom and kitchen shared among a handful of roommates, or an apartment.
Best Shops for One-Stop Shopping
- Amazon: Use your .edu email address to sign up for an Amazon Prime Student account—it’ll be free for the first six months, then $49 annually. With Prime, you get free, two-day shipping on thousands of eligible items. Stock up on bulk snacks, cleaning supplies, and electronics. Once you register for classes, visit Amazon again to check out textbook prices!
- Bed Bath & Beyond: With many housing-related items in one place, Bed Bath & Beyond also has some speciality items that you may not be able to find at other stores, like obscure kitchenware or As-Seen-On-TV items (like Stick N’ Click lights or a swiveling electrical outlet). Of course, you’ll be able to find bedding, towels, and basic appliances too. As a bonus, sign up here with your .edu email address to get 20% off and free shipping on every order through December 31, 2019!
- Target: For as much stuff as you’ll need, it’s hard to find a better spot than Target to get it all in one place. With regular sales and Cartwheel in-store coupons available on the Target app, you can save big! You can even sign up for a college registry, and at the end you’ll get a 15% off coupon (whether anyone else buys you something or not). You’ll find great deals on bedding, organization and storage items, and basic furniture—like a cozy chair for your dorm room, or a coffee table and desk for your new apartment.
Best Shops for Furniture
- Ikea: Long a staple store for inexpensive furniture, apartment dwellers can find basics like tables, bookshelves, beds, couches, and desks. Those living in dorms may want to check out the many home goods that are available, from plates and cookware to area rugs and more!
- Wayfair: With a huge variety of items including furniture, bedding and pillows, and decor, you’re sure to find something that fits your style! A quick internet search might even lead you to a coupon code that will save you 10% or more.
Best Dorm Specialty Shops
- Dormco: Not only does Dormco have basics like towels and bedding, but they also offer bundled bedding, desk, laundry, and closet sets and specialty storage options. For specific items that you can’t find anywhere else (like a storage shelf that fits over a mini-fridge, or an all-in-one bedding and essentials set), Dormco is your best bet!
- Dormify: If you’re looking for a greater selection of items made specifically to fit in a dorm room, look no further! From desk hutches to easy-to-move wall decor, Dormify has it all. Note that because Dormify is catering to such a niche market, prices may be higher than those you’ll find at larger chain shops like Target.
Best Shops for Electronics
- Apple Store: Take advantage of student pricing on laptops, desktop computers, and iPads. Check back in late July or early August for back-to-school specials!
- Best Buy: Check out the Student Deals section of the website to learn about student-only discounts on laptops, TVs, and more. The discounted products change periodically, so check back for new deals each month! Additionally, if you create a Best Buy account and sign up as a student, you’ll receive exclusive coupon codes via email. As an added bonus, your account will earn rewards for every purchase you make!
- Microsoft: If you’re in the market for a PC, check out Microsoft’s student website for 10% off laptops and accessories. You may be eligible for a free version of Microsoft Office 365, too!
To get the best deals on all your dorm or apartment needs, shop around and check prices at a couple of stores before making a purchasing decision. Back-to-school sales usually start in mid- to late July and run through August, so keep an eye out for those soon. Share your favorite dorm deals with us!